Yahoo! Movies Golden Globes Blog

Golden Globes preview: We predict the TV nominees… and suggest a few of our own

Yahoo! Movies Golden Globes Blog

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It must be tough to be a Golden Globe TV voter these days. There are so many quality shows on right now, even certified TV junkies like us can't keep up. (And we literally watch TV like it's our job.) But that also means we've got a pretty good idea of what shows and performances are truly award-worthy this year. Below, we break down the main TV categories at the upcoming Golden Globes, listing the sure bets and the possible contenders in each category… and throwing in a favorite longshot that we'd love to see land a nod.

Best Drama Series

SURE BETS

We see three sure-fire locks here: reigning champ "Homeland," fresh off an Emmy win for Best Drama and in the midst of topping itself with an absolutely bananas Season 2; three-time winner "Mad Men," which took last year off to restock the liquor cabinet; and PBS's "Downton Abbey," which won last year's Globe for Best TV Movie or Miniseries and slides into this year's Best Drama race. We also want to add AMC's truly great "Breaking Bad" in here -- despite the fact that it's somehow never been nominated for a Best Drama Globe. Yeah, we don't know how that's possible, either, but we're betting this is the year that Walter White's full-speed descent into darkness finally breaks through.

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A trio of HBO offerings are competing for the final Best Drama slots: the sweeping fantasy "Game of Thrones," which, to be frank, underwhelmed us with a overly jumbled Season 2; the underrated Prohibition-set gangster drama "Boardwalk Empire," which took home the Globe for Best Drama in 2010, and freshman entry "The Newsroom," Aaron Sorkin's highbrow look behind the scenes of a cable news show. A dark-horse candidate with a real shot at a nod: AMC's gritty zombie thriller "The Walking Dead," which grew by leaps and bounds creatively in Season 3 and now stands as a seriously effective TV thrill ride.

OUR FAVORITE LONGSHOT

NBC's "Parenthood" won't bowl you over with explosive action or shocking plot twists. It's just a humble, acutely observed family drama that's quietly become one of the most well-spent hours on TV. Over four seasons, it's slowly constructed a warm, naturalistic portrait of a family whose imperfections we can all recognize, whose dialogue is so authentic, it feels like we're eavesdropping on them. We know this is a crowded field, but we'd love to see the Bravermans get their moment in the sun.

Best Actor, Drama

SURE BETS

As "Homeland's" tortured sleeper agent, Damian Lewis has already taken home an Emmy this year, and the show has only given him more opportunities to shine in Season 2. (Case in point: the spellbindingly sparse episode, "Q&A.") Unlike the Emmys, the Globes have actually honored the man behind "Mad Men's" Don Draper, Jon Hamm, back in 2007; he's a fixture in this category, as he should be. And taking home four Emmys for playing meth-cooking antihero Walter White earns "Breaking Bad's" Bryan Cranston a seat at the table, although he's never won a Globe. We also see "The Newsroom's" Jeff Daniels scoring a nod for his bravura performance as self-destructive newsman Will MacAvoy; he's right at home rattling off Sorkin's overflowing dialogue.

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"Downton Abbey" is such an ensemble piece that it's difficult to single any one actor out for recognition. (Except for Maggie Smith, of course.) But a rising "Downton" tide should bring the house's stoic patriarch, Hugh Bonneville, a nod this year. If Kelsey Grammer isn't nominated for his second season as "Boss's" ruthless mayor Tom Kane, it'd be a bit awkward, since he won the Globe last year -- and his show just got canceled. Steve Buscemi won in 2010 for playing "Boardwalk Empire's" cutthroat protagonist, Nucky Thompson; his stellar Season 3 work as Nucky's world crumbled around him could secure him a third straight nod.

OUR FAVORITE LONGSHOT

ABC's submarine drama "Last Resort" has already been torpedoed by low ratings, but we're hoping Andre Braugher gets a commendation for his exemplary work as Navy captain Marcus Chaplin. Pushed to the brink of nuclear war by a shadowy conspiracy, Chaplin veered wildly between steady-at-the-helm leader and trigger-happy madman. Sadly, we won't get to experience the full breadth of Chaplin's journey, but at least we can give Braugher a proper salute on the way out.

Best Actress, Drama

SURE BETS

The other ladies shouldn't even bother showing up, because Claire Danes has this one in the bag. She's already won a Golden Globe and an Emmy for her work as "Homeland's" erratic terrorist tracker Carrie Mathison, and is poised to claim her fourth Globe overall. It'll have to be a honor just to be nominated for the others: "The Good Wife's" Julianne Margulies (a winner in 2009); "Downton Abbey's" headstrong Lady Mary, Michelle Dockery; and newcomer Connie Britton, who never got a nod as Mrs. Coach on "Friday Night Lights" (blasphemy!), but should break through this year as fading country star Rayna James on ABC's freshman soap "Nashville."

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"Mad Men's" Peggy boldly stepped out from Don Draper's shadow this season, so we'd love to see Elisabeth Moss claim her second Globe nomination. The Globes actually recognize FX's biker drama "Sons of Anarchy" (the Emmys don't seem to know it exists), and 2010 Globe winner Katey Sagal is likely to earn another nod for her work as SAMCRO's increasingly frantic mama bear Gemma. And with "Damages" ending its five-season run this year, Glenn Close (who won the Globe in 2007) could sneak into the mix one last time for her swan song as cagey attorney Patty Hewes.

OUR FAVORITE LONGSHOT

In Season 2, ABC's sudsy thriller "Revenge" has gotten lost in its own froth, but star Emily VanCamp still pulls off an impressive tightrope walk each week as vengeance-seeking socialite Emily Thorne. She can charm billionaires at a charity fundraiser by day, and beat the hell out of a hulking thug by night… and look utterly convincing in both modes. Let's make sure VanCamp gets a nod before "Revenge" really goes off the deep end.

Best Comedy Series

SURE BETS

The stalwart of the category and last year's champ, ABC's "Modern Family," should be joined by a pair of HBO newbies this year: Lena Dunham's bittersweet portrait of early-20s Brooklyn hipsters, "Girls," and the acid-tongued political satire "Veep," starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a gaffe-prone Vice President. (For the record, we're rooting for Lena.) Plus, the Globes seem to have a thing for Zooey Deschanel (along with the rest of the world), so Fox's cutesy sitcom "New Girl" should make the Best Comedy cut as well.

CONTENDERS

With its cringe-inducing, almost-too-personal vignettes, Louis C.K.'s semi-autobiography, "Louie," barely qualifies as a comedy, but its greatness merits a spot here. Though CBS's mega-hit "The Big Bang Theory" has only earned one Globe nod for Best Comedy, we think the show is getting too huge for voters to ignore. Another one that's been overlooked: NBC's "Parks and Recreation," which balances laughs and warmth better than any comedy on network TV. And since this category is technically for Best "Musical or Comedy," Globe voters might decide to put a little song in their hearts and honor NBC's fascinatingly uneven musical dramedy "Smash."

OUR FAVORITE LONGSHOT

Comedies are all about the laughs, and no show delivers more of them per half-hour than ABC's woefully unsung "Happy Endings." It's not so much what happens to this tight-knit group of Chicago weirdos (highlighted by ex-"SNL"-er Casey Wilson and the gloriously schlubby Adam Pally), it's how funny they are when it happens, bantering back and forth at a machine-gun pace. Even though it's a critical favorite, "Endings" can't seem to get any love at the Emmys or the Globes… not yet, anyway. A Best Comedy Series nod would go a long way towards righting that wrong.

Best Actor, Comedy

SURE BETS

Jim Parsons was snubbed last year for his sublime work as "Big Bang's" uber-nerd Sheldon, but we'll chalk it up to an unfortunate oversight; he'll be back in the mix this year. So will three-time winner Alec Baldwin, who deserves a shot to go out on top in his final season as "30 Rock's" dapper exec Jack Donaghy. The Globes love seeing a beloved star in a new role, and Matthew Perry's thoughtful turn as "Go On's" widowed sports-talk host Ryan King fits that bill. And we'd rather they honor his show than him, but Louis C.K. should end up getting a nod for playing, well, himself on FX's "Louie."

CONTENDERS

He's back! Charlie Sheen earned two Globe nominations on "Two and a Half Men," and we wouldn't be shocked to see him get another shot at "#winning" for his new FX comedy, "Anger Management." Last year's winner, Matt LeBlanc, suffers from a lack of buzz around his witty Showtime satire, "Episodes." But pitting him against his former "Friends" co-star Perry in the category makes for an irresistible headline (Chandler vs. Joey!), so they'll probably find a way to fit LeBlanc in here.

OUR FAVORITE LONGSHOT

We first met Andrew Rannells as Hannah's gay ex-boyfriend on "Girls," but he's really wowed us on NBC's freshman comedy "The New Normal" as snarky TV producer Bryan, who's looking to have a baby with his partner David. Blessed with perfect comic timing, Rannells also boasts an endearing streak of vulnerability that keeps Bryan from being a cardboard-cutout "bitchy gay." We're still not sure if "Normal" will last past this season, but we're pulling for Rannells to get some kudos while it lasts.

Best Actress, Comedy

SURE BETS

Hail to the "Veep"! This category is Julia Louis-Dreyfus's to lose; she claimed the Emmy a few months back, and her work as bumbling VP Selina Meyer is hard to argue with. We do have a soft spot for "Girls" star Lena Dunham, though, and she gets bonus points from us for writing and directing most episodes of the show. And the queen of quirk, "New Girl's" Zooey Deschanel, will charm her way into a nomination as well. We're also betting that Amy Poehler, so great as "Parks and Rec's" relentlessly upbeat Leslie Knope, works her way into the mix for the second straight year.

CONTENDERS

"30 Rock" may be on its last legs, but Tina Fey has already claimed two Globes and five nominations for playing frazzled comedy writer Liz Lemon, so Globe voters might write her name down out of sheer habit. Season 4 of "Nurse Jackie" saw big changes for Edie Falco's gruff nurse Jackie Peyton (rehab, divorce), but Falco's performance was as sharp and layered as ever.

OUR FAVORITE LONGSHOT

Her Fox comedy "The Mindy Project" just started this fall, but we're already in love with Mindy Kaling and her daydreaming OB/GYN character, Mindy Lahiri. She first got our attention as one of the Dunder-Mifflinites on "The Office," but given a chance to headline her own series, Kaling has blossomed into one of the funniest women anywhere on TV. "Project" is still, well, a project, but Kaling's performance is already right where it needs to be.

Best Supporting Actor

[Please note: For reasons that are unclear, the Golden Globes cram all supporting actors from TV dramas, comedies, and movies/miniseries into just two categories: supporting actor and actress. It makes zero sense to us… but we're playing by their rules here.]

SURE BETS

This year's Supporting Actor field is an eclectic bunch, to be sure, with three Emmy winners sure to be in the running: "Modern Family's" cuddly Cameron, Eric Stonestreet; "Breaking Bad's" Aaron Paul, always devastating as conscience-stricken drug pusher Jesse Pinkman; and reigning Globe winner Peter Dinklage, whose cunning dwarf Tyrion Lannister stepped up to save the day this season on "Game of Thrones." We'll also probably see a nod for Ed Harris for his turn as doomed presidential candidate John McCain in HBO's "Game Change."

CONTENDERS

Mandy Patinkin, holla! Carrie's bearded mentor Saul on "Homeland" somehow got snubbed by the Emmys, but the show is surging right now, so he could sneak in here. Max Greenfield did score an Emmy nomination as cheesy ladies' man Schmidt on "New Girl," so voters may make room for him in the loft here, too. Former "Law & Order" star Sam Waterston is back as fiery network president Charlie Skinner on "The Newsroom," and has a whopping seven Golden Globe nods to his credit. And don't rule out a posthumous nod for "Dallas's" Larry Hagman, as his iconic oil baron J.R. Ewing rides off into the sunset.

OUR FAVORITE LONGSHOT

We can't vote for Giancarlo Esposito again (if we could, we would), but a noble successor stepped up in his place this season on "Breaking Bad": Jonathan Banks, who's played terse hitman Mike Ehrmantraut for three full seasons now. With Gus Fring out of the picture, we got to spend a little more time with Mike in Season 5. And whether playing tenderly with his granddaughter or singlehandedly snuffing out a half-dozen assassins, Banks definitely rose to the occasion.

Best Supporting Actress

SURE BETS

Another very mixed bag in the Supporting Actress category, but the frontrunner here is a little clearer. Everyone adores Maggie Smith as "Downton Abbey's" quippy Dowager Countess, so she should make room on her mantle for another Globe. But don't count out the curvy Latina: "Modern Family's" Sofia Vergara is just the kind of red-carpet-ready celeb that the Globes like to honor. And a pair of Ellens should receive nods as well: Ellen Barkin, for her caustic turn as "The New Normal's" Nana, and Globe favorite Ellen Burstyn, for playing Sigourney Weaver's tough-as-nails mom on the USA miniseries "Political Animals."

CONTENDERS

Julie Bowen could very well join her "Modern Family" stepmom in the category this year; she just took home her second straight Emmy. We didn't get to see much of Christina Hendricks this season on "Mad Men," but she still managed to reveal layers of complexity underneath Joan's hardened office exterior. And we see a typical Globes shocker coming in the form of Angelica Huston, who, as schmoozing Broadway producer Eileen Rand, was the best part about Season 1 of "Smash"; her status as Hollywood royalty might just push her over the top.

OUR FAVORTE LONGSHOT

"American Horror Story: Asylum" star Jessica Lange is a shoo-in on the TV movie/miniseries side of the ledger, but we'd like to see her co-star Lily Rabe land a nomination here as well. Rabe started out the season as the painfully meek Sister Mary Eunice, but after being possessed by the Devil, she's transformed into a frighteningly confident, foul-mouthed delight. She seduces old men in her nun's habit, she straight-up murders anyone who stands in her way… we'd give her a nod just to stay on her good side.

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