Golden Globes: who will win – and who should win – the TV categories

The Golden Globes are notoriously hard to forecast, especially in the television categories, but Mr Robot, Transparent and Fargo look poised for prizes

The Golden Globes are unlike any other awards for so many different reasons, not all of which have to do with the amount of booze they serve the stars in attendance. They’re one of the few to combine both movies and television and, most crucially, they have the smallest pool of people nominating and choosing the awards. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a tiny group of very influential people and they love nothing more than starting a trend or anointing strange favourites, especially in the television categories.

Just look at last year’s winners. The Globes were the first to jump on the Transparent bandwagon, awarding trophies to both the show and Jeffrey Tambor – a feat the show repeated at the Emmys. But then there are winners like The Affair and Gina Rodriguez, the star of Jane the Virgin, both of which failed to get nominations at the Emmys. The Globes likes what it likes and should be commended for awarding under-the-radar shows and performances but can’t be taken too seriously when their criteria for quality often seem so arbitrary.

So when it comes to guessing the winners for Sunday’s ceremony it’s an especially dodgy enterprise, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway. Like most years, I’ll probably be entirely wrong.

Best drama

Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Outlander.
Caitriona Balfe and Sam Heughan in Outlander. Photograph: Starz! Movie Channel/Courtesy/

Every year the HFPA nominates one show that is a total head-scratcher, and that show usually goes on to win. This year that nominee is Starz’s Outlander, a drama about a woman who ends up getting sucked back in time to the Scottish highlands of the 16th century. Just because it’s such an odd choice, I think it’s bound to win.

The best show of the bunch is Mr Robot, which still has a chance given that it hasn’t been eligible for the Emmys yet and the Globes does love to set a precedent for great, edgy shows like this outstanding hacker drama. They could also decide to give the Emmys the middle finger by awarding it to Empire, but the show’s second season has been decidedly mediocre. Game of Thrones only scored one nomination so it’s dead in the water, but Narcos still has a slim shot.

Will win: Outlander. Should win: Mr Robot

Best comedy

Judith Light as Shelly Pfefferman and Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman in Transparent.
Judith Light as Shelly Pfefferman and Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman in Transparent. Photograph: Jennifer Clasen/Amazon Video

For the same reason I think Outlander might win for best drama, I’m afraid that Amazon’s hit-or-miss Mozart in the Jungle might take the prize, but I think that fellow Amazon property Transparent is still the safe bet for a repeat and it probably should win for a second season that was just as compelling as the first. Orange Is the New Black or Hulu’s Casual could spoil its chances, but I think that Veep and Silicon Valley have won too much already to be contenders.

Will win: Transparent. Should win: Transparent

Best miniseries

Ted Danson as Hank Larsson in Fargo.
Ted Danson as Hank Larsson in Fargo. Photograph: Fox

This one is really a hard choice because both Fargo and American Crime deserve to win and, I think, have a good chance at doing so. I would really like American Crime to get the recognition it deserves after being overshadowed at the Emmys by Olive Kitteridge, but the second season of Fargo was so gosh-darn good that I really want that to be a contender as well. It won last year, and the Globes hate to repeat themselves, especially in a category like this. However, Starz’s ballet series Flesh and Bone is an odd enough entry that it could end up walking away with the prize. American Horror Story: Hotel and Wolf Hall seem like outliers.

Will win: Fargo. Should win: American Crime (or Fargo)

Best actress in a comedy

Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: could it be her night?
Rachel Bloom in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: could it be her night? Photograph: The CW

Historically, the HFPA loves to give this award to a young woman who is a breakout star on a buzzy if not especially popular show. Following that logic, I think it’s going to go to Rachel Bloom, who is quite excellent on the so-good-it-hurts Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which is shamefully being all but ignored on the CW. Lily Tomlin, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and Jamie Lee Curtis (on Grace and Frankie, Veep and Scream Queens, respectively) are the opposite of what the committee is usually looking for. Sadly for Jane the Virgin’s Gina Rodriguez, this is usually a one and done type of category.

Will win: Rachel Bloom. Should win: Gina Rodriguez

Best actress in a drama

Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon and Taraji P Henson as Cookie Lyon in Empire.
Bryshere Gray as Hakeem Lyon and Taraji P Henson as Cookie Lyon in Empire. Photograph: Fox via Getty Images

Considering Viola Davis was the first woman of color to win in this category at the Emmys, I think this is the chance for TV’s very own Cookie Lyon to finally get the gold she deserves. Look for Taraji P Henson to walk away with the prize for Empire. As far as who should win, I think that Eva Green gives one of TV’s most overlooked performances on Showtime’s daffy Penny Dreadful and she’s under the radar enough that I think she has a shot. Caitriona Balfe, the lead of Outlander, could pull it out, especially if Outlander doesn’t win Best Drama. But I think the voters regard Viola Davis, who really is great on How to Get Away with Murder, and Robin Wright in House of Cards, as old hat.

Will win: Taraji P Henson. Should win: Eva Green

Best actress in a miniseries or TV movie

Lady Gaga as the Countess in American Horror Story: Hotel – eyeing the prize?
Lady Gaga as the Countess in American Horror Story: Hotel – eyes on the prize? Photograph: Suzanne Tenner/AP

This is probably the hardest category of all, because I could make a case why each of these women could win, except for Queen Latifah for her role in Bessie. Sorry, Queen. Kirsten Dunst is the movie star who did an incredible job in Fargo, Sarah Hay is the unexpected new talent in Flesh and Bone, Felicity Huffman is the veteran who was stunning in American Crime, and Lady Gaga is the pop star making an odd and wonderful acting debut on American Horror Story: Hotel.

Will win: Lady Gaga. Should win: Kirsten Dunst

Best actor in a drama

Rami Malek: a dead cert for Mr Robot.
Rami Malek: a dead cert for Mr Robot. Photograph: David Giesbrecht/AP

I think this is Rami Malek’s race to lose, and his turn as an emotionally damaged hacker on Mr Robot was one of the breakout performances of last year, something the Globes adores rewarding. Wagner Moura had the same kind of performance on Narcos playing Pablo Escobar, so if there is a spoiler, I’d give it to either him or Bob Odenkirk, who was also great on Better Call Saul. Liev Schreiber gets nominated every year for Ray Donovan and never wins and the Globes has never shared the Emmys’ enthusiasm for Mad Men, which is a bad sign for Jon Hamm.

Will win: Rami Malek. Should win: Rami Malek

Best actor in a comedy

Learning his lines: Adrian Scarborough, left, as Harry, and Patrick Stewart as Walter Blunt, in a scene from season one of Blunt Talk.
Learning his lines: Adrian Scarborough, left, as Harry, and Patrick Stewart as Walter Blunt, in a scene from season one of Blunt Talk. Photograph: AP

I really, really, really want Rob Lowe to win for The Grinder, because he brings delightful life to a narcissistic actor trying to be a small-town lawyer. He seems to have a real shot too, but I worry about Patrick Stewart’s nomination for Blunt Talk, which might make him a lock. Will Forte is great on the super weird The Last Man on Earth, but Aziz Ansari’s acting was the one fatal flaw in his otherwise delightful Master of None: nonetheless don’t count either of these creator/stars out of the race. Jeffrey Tambor, while as great as ever in Transparent, seems like too much of a favourite at this point to triumph. Odd, right?

Will win: Patrick Stewart. Should win: Rob Lowe

Best actor in a miniseries

Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall.
Mark Rylance as Thomas Cromwell in Wolf Hall. Photograph: Giles Keyte/BBC/Company Productions Ltd

This is the UK’s best hope to take a TV trophy, with Luther’s Idris Elba, Nightingale’s David Oyelowo and Wolf Hall’s Mark Rylance all in contention. I’d say that Rylance, an undeniable talent who still isn’t quite mainstream here in the States, has the best shot. Personally I would give the trophy to Oscar Isaac (currently super hot thanks to Star Wars) for HBO’s stellar Show Me a Hero. Patrick Wilson, sadly, will continue going underappreciated for Fargo, as he has for most of his career.

Will win: Mark Rylance. Should win: Oscar Isaac

Best supporting actress

Josh Stamberg as Max, Maura Tierney as Helen and Kathleen Chalfant as Margaret in The Affair.
Josh Stamberg as Max, Maura Tierney as Helen and Kathleen Chalfant as Margaret in The Affair. Photograph: Mark Schafer/Showtime

Always one of the strangest categories because all of the genres are just lumped together, and this one is full of past winners and Emmy favourites. Uzo Aduba and Regina King are fresh off Emmy victories and Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt won the Globe last year. For those reasons I say Judith Light from Transparent and Maura Tierney, who is consistently the best thing about The Affair, are duking it out and have an equal shot at winning.

Will win: Judith Light. Should win: Maura Tierney

Best supporting actor

Christian Slater as Mr Robot: ready to pick up more handware?
Christian Slater as Mr Robot: ready to pick up more hardware? Photograph: USA Network/Virginia Sherwood/USA Network

This category is full of the shows that the Globes have shown us they really, really like this year, with nominees from Mr Robot (Christian Slater), Outlander (Tobias Menzies) and Wolf Hall (Damian Lewis) all vying for the trophy. I would say that Slater has the best shot, but Lewis could score if Wolf Hall is shut out elsewhere. The Globes love to spread the love around rather than reward one show too much. And poor Alan Cumming, nominated every year for The Good Wife but never managing to win. Sadly, I don’t think this is the year.

Will win: Christian Slater. Should win: Christian Slater


Brian Moylan

The GuardianTramp

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