Even though the flashy movies garner the most attention, the Golden Globes' television offerings are far from small fish in a big pond. There will be no shortage of small screen star caliber this Sunday, but who really deserves to take home the shiny globes?
BEST SERIES - COMEDY OR MUSICAL
“Modern Family” (ABC)
“New Girl” (Fox)
Who Will Win: “Modern Family”
Who Should Win: “Modern Family”
Hot off its complete dominance at the Emmy Awards, "Modern Family" will and should continue to scoop up accolades - especially since the competition can't even begin to match ABC's ensemble comedy for sheer consistency. It's simply one of the funniest shows on TV right now, and the twee "New Girl," past-its-moment "Glee," and frankly depressing "Enlightened" (has anyone seen this show? A "comedy"? Really?) are hopelessly outmatched by the extended Dunphy clan.
BEST SERIES - DRAMA
“American Horror Story” (FX)
“Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Who Will Win: “Boardwalk Empire”
Who Should Win: “Boardwalk Empire”
You would think that because "Boardwalk" won in 2011, it would be time for it to gracefully step aside and let someone else get a trophy. And you would almost be right, if the season finale hadn't completely changed the game and reminded us that this is one of the best looking, best acted, and best written shows on TV. It's a prestige project from head to toe, and deserves to win. "Homeland" is certainly worthy of the nomination, but the combination of low radar status and controversial subject matter may make voters squeamish. Same goes for "American Horror Story," which is just too freaky for most (although it absolutely tops "Boardwalk" in the "OMG! What now?" season finale category)
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A DRAMA SERIES
Claire Danes, “Homeland” (Showtime)
Mireille Enos, “The Killing” (AMC)
Julianna Margulies, “The Good Wife” (CBS)
Madeleine Stowe, “Revenge” (ABC)
Callie Thorne, “Necessary Roughness” (USA)
Who Will Win: Claire Danes
Who Should Win: Madaleine Stowe
Claire Danes' controlled mania on "Homeland" is a large part of what makes the series tick, and Danes certainly would not garner any boos should her name be in the envelope. Still, we'd love to see Madeleine Stowe pull the upset for the underrated "Revenge" both because she plays an icy bitch of the best/worst kind, and because it's a great comeback role for an actress who had been wallowing in the "Whatever happened to…?" bargain bin for the past few years. Everyone loves a comeback.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A DRAMA SERIES
Steve Buscemi, “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
Bryan Cranston, “Breaking Bad” (AMC)
Kelsey Grammar, “Boss” (Starz)
Jeremy Irons, “Borgias” (Showtime)
Damian Lewis “Homeland” (Showtime)
Who Will Win: Steve Buscemi
Who Should Win: Bryan Cranston
Even though we feel "Boardwalk Empire" as a series should score the back-to-back victories, we don't feel the same way about Buscemi. Look, the guy is fantastic, no question, but the HFPA really needs to step up and reward the agonizingly underrated Cranston for "Breaking Bad." Just watch five minutes of that show and then think, "That's the goofball dad from 'Malcolm in the Middle'" and you will understand what we mean. A great show and a mind-blowing performance from the lead. Give it some love.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL OR COMEDY SERIES
Laura Dern, “Enlightened” (HBO)
Zooey Deschanel, “New Girl” (Fox)
Tina Fey, “30 Rock” (NBC)
Laura Linney, “The Big C” (Showtime)
Amy Poehler, “Parks and Recreation” (NBC)
Who Will Win: Laura Dern
Who Should Win: Amy Poehler
Last year's winner Laura Linney is still coming on strong with "The Big C" (she gets to be funny AND have the always-award-friendly terminal illness!), but we can see the voters being swayed both by the other Laura's lineage and the fact that "Enlightened" - despite it's ill-fitting "comedy" tag - is a downer that lets Dern cry a lot (always a plus). However, we'd give anything if the HFPA would recognize the pint-sized genius of Amy Poehler.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MUSICAL OR COMEDY SERIES
Alec Baldwin, “30 Rock” (NBC)
David Duchovny, “Californication” (Showtime)
Johnny Galecki, “The Big Bang Theory” (CBS)
Thomas Jane, “Hung” (HBO)
Matt LeBlanc, “Episodes” (Showtime)
Who Will Win: Matt LeBlanc
Who Should Win: Alec Baldwin
We know he's been nominated six times and he's won three, but we don't care. Baldwin deserves to win this for as long as he wants to play Jack Donaghy. There is no funnier character on TV, as evidenced by the fact that "30 Rock" has steadily turned into Jack's show more and more each passing season. However, LeBlanc's self-deprecation is the surest bet to wrest the trophy from Jack's death-like grip.
BEST MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
“Cinema Verite” (HBO)
“Downton Abbey” (PBS)
“The Hour” (BBC America)
“Mildred Pierce” (HBO)
“Too Big to Fail” (HBO)
Who Will Win: “Mildred Pierce”
Who Should Win: “Downton Abbey”
By all rights, a show set in repressed Edwardian England should not be sexy or zeitgeist-relevant - and yet, "Downton Abbey" is. That's a huge feat to pull off, especially when the biggest name in your cast is Elizabeth McGovern. But this will be "Mildred's" time to shine. The Todd Haynes-directed series is impeccably crafted, and is anchored by some outstanding performances (more on those later) so its impending dominance is not exactly something to wring your hands over.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Hugh Bonneville, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Idris Elba, “Luther” (BBC America)
William Hurt, “Too Big to Fail” (HBO)
Bill Nighy, “Page Eight” (BBC America)
Dominic West, “The Hour” (BBC America)
Who Will Win: Hugh Bonneville
Who Should Win: Idris Elba
Bonneville will ensure "Abbey" doesn't go home empty-handed Sunday night, but we're pulling for Idris. Not specifically for his role in "Luther" (underrated though it may be) but simply for being Idris Elba.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Romola Garai, “The Hour” (BBC America)
Diane Lane, “Cinema Verite” (HBO)
Elisabeth McGovern, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Emily Watson, “Appropriate Adult” (Sundance)
Kate Winslet, “Mildred Pierce” (HBO)
Who Will Win: Kate Winslet
Who Should Win: Kate Winslet
Like we said, "Mildred Pierce" is the frontrunner of the night, but even though who may have been put off by its more maudlin elements have to stand up and applaud Winslet. She never lets the character of Mildred feel anything less than a living, breathing person. It's a gob-smacking performance, and she deserves the Globe.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Peter Dinklage, “Game of Thrones” (HBO)
Paul Giamatti, “Too Big to Fail” (HBO)
Guy Pearce, “Mildred Pierce” (HBO)
Tim Robbins, “Cinema Verite” (HBO)
Eric Stonestreet, “Modern Family” (ABC)
Who Will Win: Guy Pearce
Who Should Win: Peter Dinklage
Dinklage captured a surprise Emmy for his role in "Thrones," and he should be rewarded again for taking a role that, on paper, could be a Ren Faire caricature and turning it into the most compelling character on an epic show. But, once again, the "Mildred" gang isn't taking any prisoners.
BEST PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MINISERIES OR MOTION PICTURE MADE FOR TELEVISION
Jessica Lange, “American Horror Story” (FX)
Kelly MacDonald, “Boardwalk Empire” (HBO)
Maggie Smith, “Downton Abbey” (PBS)
Sofia Vergara, “Modern Family” (ABC)
Evan Rachel Wood, “Mildred Pierce” (HBO)
Who Will Win: Evan Rachel Wood
Who Should Win: Evan Rachel Wood
"Mildred Pierce" would quickly devolve into a soap opera if not for the strength of its two leading ladies, and both will get well-deserved recognition Sunday night. Wood will win handily, even though this is a tough category. Strong arguments can be made for Lange, McDonald, and Smith (sorry about the McGovern crack, Dame Maggie). Vergara is adorable and hilarious on "Modern Family," but she's outmatched here.
The Golden Globes will air at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT Sunday Jan. 15 on NBC.