The Golden Globes are not the Oscars. The categories are different, and the voters who decide the awards, members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, have their own prejudices and biases. (In 2010, they nominated Johnny Depp's embarrassing flop "The Tourist" for three awards — as a comedy.)
Handicapping the race is anybody's guess, but here are a few picks from the movie side of the awards. Find our TV picks here.
Best picture — drama
Should win: "12 Years a Slave" or "Gravity"
Will win: "12 Years a Slave"
Not since "Roots" back in 1977 have American audiences been so bluntly confronted with the human side of what slavery meant. ("Django Unchained" was louder and bloodier, but "Slave" is more heartbreaking.) It should be rewarded.
Best picture — comedy or musical
Should win: "Her"
Will win: "American Hustle"
"American Hustle" is a fun, fast romp through a fictionalized version of the ABSCAM scandal, but "Her" does more than any other film this year to delve into the emotion of love, and how it feels to lose it.
Best actor — drama
Should win: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Will win: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave"
Ejiofor is amazing. But kudos also to Tom Hanks in "Captain Phillips," for an excruciatingly painful depiction of a man in post-traumatic shock in that film's final scenes.
Best actor — comedy or musical
Should win: Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Will win: Leonardo DiCaprio, "Wolf of Wall Street"
Sure, DiCaprio had to crawl down stairs and into a sportscar while on Quaaludes, but Isaac had to convince audiences he was a folksinger, musically and otherwise, and he does just that.
Best actress — drama
Should win: Emma Thompson, "Saving Mr. Banks"
Will win: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine"
This one's a toss-up. With Thompson, Blanchett, Judi Dench, Kate Winslet and Sandra Bullock in this category, how can the voters go wrong?
Best actress — comedy or musical
Should win: Amy Adams, "American Hustle"
Will win: Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County"
Another power-packed category. Streep is always Streep, but Adams' con artist character must leap from smooth British purr to desperate American striver, sometimes in the same minute.
Should win: Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"
Will win: Likely Cuaron, but maybe Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"
"Gravity" is stunning and terrifying, and no director has managed to capture that feeling on film before like Cuaron does here.
Best original song
Should win: "Let It Go," from "Frozen"
Will win: "Let It Go," from "Frozen"
It's the "I Am Woman" for Generation Z, a power-packed hymn to being yourself. But it could be challenged by U2's "Ordinary Love" from "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom," or Justin Timberlake and Oscar Isaac's "Please Mr. Kennedy" from "Inside Llewyn Davis." Still, "Let It Go" is the one that will linger.
The Golden Globes Awards will air on Jan. 12 at 8 p.m. on NBC.
First published January 10 2014, 1:14 AM