It happens every year. Winter begins and you start glimpsing “Will Win, Should Win” pieces serving as previews to the triumvirate of hibernal awards shows: the Golden Globes, the SAG awards and the Oscars. For television and film critics, the “Will Win, Should Win” template is irresistible in that in as concise a fashion possible, it allows one to both play the role of sports expert (the “Will Win” part) and discriminating fine arts connoisseur (“Should Win”).
The conceit is undeniably popular, but we have come to find it as stale and uninspired as the last three seasons of Modern Family (remarkably, not nominated at all this year). So we are turning this warhorse upside down (like in that scene from Animal House) and providing you with a “Won’t Win, Shouldn’t Win” guide. Because what fun are awards shows if we cannot kibbutz about the losers?
- Best Motion Picture—Drama
Won’t Win: Lion
Isn’t that the same young man from Slumdog Millionaire and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel? India has, what, one billion-plus people, and Dev Patel is the only one who is allowed to act?
Shouldn’t Win: Manchester By The Sea
Trying to imagine the elevator pitch on this one: “It’s about a man who returns to his hometown after his older brother dies so that he can take care of his nephew.” And then it gets better? “Oh, no, then it gets worse.” But then he finds redemption? “No.” Love? “No.” Purpose? “No. It’s like a 90-minute Sarah McLachlan song about mistreated animals.”
- Best Motion Picture— Musical or Comedy
Won’t Win: 20th Century Women
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is reasonably sure that this is just the heated-up leftovers from The Kids Are All Right.
Shouldn’t Win: Florence Foster Jenkins
Starring Meryl Streep in a film about a woman who was an atrocious singer, but who was so nice and wealthy that no one had the bones to tell her. The irony is that Florence Foster Jenkins is the Florence Foster Jenkins of this class.
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Drama
Won’t Win: Isabelle Huppert, Elle
No one’s heard of you or your film.
Shouldn’t Win: Amy Adams, Arrival; or Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane
You two gingers work too much. Who do you think you are, Emma Stone?
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Drama
Won’t Win: Joel Edgerton, Loving; Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic; Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge; Denzel Washington, Fences.
They’re not Casey Affleck.
Shouldn’t Win: Ben Affleck.
He’s not up for anything; we just want to make sure they get the right sibling.
- Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy
Won’t Win: Lily Collins, Rules Don’t Apply
The chances of Phil Collins’ daughter winning here are against all odds.
Shouldn’t Win: Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
- Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy
Won’t Win: Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool
We sorta, kinda, wanna see Reynolds win because it would validate those episodes of Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place we watched in the Nineties, but another Canadian named Ryan (Gosling) will win here.
Shouldn’t Win: Jonah Hill, War Dogs
Hill sort of reprises his The Wolf of Wall Street character in the Middle East.
- Best Director—Motion Picture
Won’t Win: Mel Gibson, Hacksaw Ridge
Hollywood hasn’t forgiven you yet, Mel.
Shouldn’t Win: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester By The Sea
I just picture Lonergan sitting in his director’s chair take after take saying, “Make it more lugubrious—action!”
- Best Motion Picture—Animated
Won’t Win: My Life as a Zucchini
Too many voters will think it’s a porno.
Shouldn’t Win: Sing
You know those cherubs who think they’re seven times funnier or more charming than they actually are? This film was made with them in mind.
- Best Motion Picture—Foreign Film
Won’t Win: La Vie du Vin*
Shouldn’t Win: El Secretario*
I made both titles up. Did anyone know the difference? Let’s move on.
- Best Television Series—Drama
Won’t Win: Westworld
No one knows what’s going on. If that’s the standard for achievement, then James Comey should be up for an award.
Shouldn’t Win: This Is Us
It’s not a bad show, but it’s the only major network drama nominated and a network-aired drama has not claimed this prize since 2007 (Grey’s Anatomy). Both this show and the Golden Globes air on NBC, and this could be the participation-trophy vote of the night.
- Best Television Series - Musical or Comedy
Won’t Win: Silicon Valley
Inexplicably not nominated, despite reintroducing the term "Meinertzhagen's Haversack" to a generation of viewers.
Shouldn’t Win: Transparent
It’s a brilliant double entendre as a title, but Veep or Atlanta are far more worthy. The latter will win.
- Best Television Limited Series
Won’t Win: The Night Manager
Starred Tom Hiddleston. No actor who has had a dalliance with Taylor Swift has ever been associated with a Golden Globe victory that same year (believe me, this took awhile to fact-check).
Shouldn’t Win: The Dresser
Is it a person or is it furniture? Both?
Best Performance By An Actress in a Limited Series, Best Performance By An Actor In a Limited Series, Best Performance By A Supporting Actor In a Limited Series
Won’t Win: In all three categories, anyone not associated with The People V. O.J. Simpson.
Shouldn’t Win: Simpson himself deserves a lifetime achievement award for the acting he did during the 1995 trial. Far better than his work in Capricorn One or the Police Squad films.