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Will the Golden Globes honor shows this year that already have been well-represented by Emmy wins, or will this year’s kudos aim to be the first out of the gate to recognize a new crop of critically acclaimed series? That’s one of the forever debates that comes in trying to guess how the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. members might vote.

This year, there’s no shortage of favorites in the key categories, although it does seem to come down to “The Crown” vs. “Ozark” in drama, “Ted Lasso” vs. “Schitt’s Creek” in drama and “The Queen’s Gambit” vs. “The Undoing” in limited series/TV movie. But who knows? With a membership of less than 90, small shifts in allegiances could impact the final results. Here’s where we’re currently leaning.

BEST TV SERIES (DRAMA)

Personally, we wouldn’t be mad to see a surprise victory by “Lovecraft Country” here. That show managed to explore the topics of racial injustice and violence, particularly in the Jim Crow era, through the lens of pulp horror — and to amazing results. But alas, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. didn’t nominate its stars, Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors, leaving us to wonder how committed they are to the HBO series. “The Mandalorian” was an Emmy victor several times over thanks to various craft categories, and “Ratched” comes from the awards bait of Mr. Ryan Murphy. But it likely comes down to two other Netflix dramas: “Ozark” and “The Crown.” “Ozark” boasts a compelling, dark mystery and the power of stars Jason Bateman, Laura Linney and Julia Garner. But my money’s on “The Crown,” which won in 2017 and made headlines in its fourth season thanks to the addition of Princess Diana (Emma Corrin) and Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson). Olivia Colman’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II as she copes with family crisis and matching Thatcher’s wits made this an extra memorable cycle. “The Crown” feels like the natural choice.

BEST TV SERIES (COMEDY OR MUSICAL)

Believe. It’s Ted Lasso’s mantra in “Ted Lasso,” and it could be the show’s motto as well. Apple TV Plus got into the awards game last year with “The Morning Show,” and now “Ted Lasso” could score it even more high-profile wins. As the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. prides itself on being first to award buzzy new shows (thanks in part to its place on the calendar), giving “Ted Lasso” the top prize before the Emmys have a chance seems like an obvious play for the org. Of course, standing in its way is “Schitt’s Creek,” which already swept the Emmy Awards in September and has the most nominations of any comedy series this year, with five. But while Globes voters may want to award icons like Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara, they might want to mix things up with the top comedy prize. Meanwhile, Hulu is in the hunt with “The Great,” while HBO Max could also be in the mix with “The Flight Attendant.”

BEST TV MOVIE/LIMITED SERIES

This year’s limited series category is an ambitious field, made up of personal tales like “Small Axe” and “Unorthodox,” an addictive mystery in “The Undoing” and a boundary-pushing, honest relationship tale with “Normal People.” But the compelling performance by Anya Taylor-Joy in “The Queen’s Gambit,” which manages to make chess exciting and one young woman’s personal journey combating her demons even more compelling, makes it the true frontrunner here.

BEST ACTRESS IN A TV SERIES (DRAMA)

How much does the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. love Olivia Colman? She’s up for two awards this year, including best TV drama actress (“The Crown”) and best supporting actress in a motion picture for “The Father.” Colman is the reigning champ, having won the Globe last year in the drama actress category, also for “The Crown.” Overall, she has three wins — every time she’s been nominated in the past, as a matter of fact. She faces tough competition in Laura Linney, who has been nominated seven times (winning twice) — although it’s been 10 years since Linney last picked up a Globe, in 2011 for “The Big C.” Sarah Paulson is also a past Globe winner, while Jodie Comer repeated a nom from last year. Newcomer Emma Corrin could siphon some of Colman’s “The Crown” votes away, but not enough to matter. 

BEST ACTOR IN A TV SERIES (DRAMA)

Jason Bateman truly does it all. He’s a two-time Globes nominee this year for “Ozark,” in which he stars and also produces. (Plus he directs — but that’s not a TV category at the Globes.) He won, of course, in comedy in 2005 for “Arrested Development,” but his work in drama and other forms (he was nominated as a producer in 2019 for the Jim Carrey series “Kidding”) has proven his success at being so versatile. He’s got competition with another critical favorite in Matthew Rhys, although “Perry Mason” hasn’t made the same kind of impact that “Ozark” has just yet. Also in the mix, Bob Odenkirk is overdue attention for killing it in every episode of “Better Call Saul,” but Globes voters have been content with leaving that recognition with nominations for now. The iconic Al Pacino could always steal the show, while “The Crown” is on such a high that Josh O’Connor could run away with it (although unlikely, this season was about the women — Elizabeth, of course, but also Diana and Thatcher). Give it to Bateman.

BEST ACTRESS IN A TV SERIES (COMEDY OR MUSICAL)

Well, this is quite a fun category because no matter who wins, it will be the first time they’re up on the Golden Globes stage. As a matter of fact, this is the first nomination for everyone in the category except for Lily Collins of all people, who was nominated on the feature side in 2017 for “Rules Don’t Apply.” They’re all fun choices, and it’s especially nice to see Jane Levy there, representing the broadcast networks (their only nom!) for the delightful “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist.” Kaley Cuoco is astounding as both star and executive producer of “The Flight Attendant,” while Elle Fanning brings so much life to “The Great.” They will all have their moment, but this is the last chance for the HFPA to honor Catherine O’Hara for “Schitt’s Creek,” and really for a lifetime of laughter. That’s why they better fix that oversight and give her the win.

BEST ACTOR IN A TV SERIES (COMEDY OR MUSICAL)

While Catherine O’Hara appears on track to win a Golden Globe for “Schitt’s Creek,” Eugene Levy must face the “Ted Lasso” express. And star Jason Sudeikis has the ticket. Apple TV Plus is doing a tremendous job promoting “Ted Lasso” as a top awards contender, and in many ways it’s this year’s feel good vehicle in the way that “Schitt’s Creek” was during the last awards cycle. As the heart of “Ted Lasso,” Sudeikis may be hard to beat — especially if, again, the HFPA wants to get in and honor him before the Emmys. (Levy will have his Emmy from September to give him plenty of solace.) That doesn’t leave much room for a repeat win for Ramy Youssef, alas, but there’s probably no way to repeat last year’s amazing win for him. Also in the mix are Nicholas Hoult and Don Cheadle, both of whom are having the time of their lives playing morally questionable characters. But bake some biscuits and hit the pitch, Sudeikis may have a pretty good night if “Ted Lasso” scores wins for both of its nominations.

BEST ACTRESS IN A LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE

What a year for Anya Taylor-Joy. “The Queen’s Gambit” star is a double nominee at this year’s Golden Globes, both in the best actress in a limited series or TV movie category, as well as in the best actress in a motion picture (comedy or musical) field for “Emma.” Not bad, and clearly the HFPA members are fans — which is why she’s the frontrunner in this category. But as we’re predicting “The Queen’s Gambit” will be named best limited series or TV movie, it makes sense the program’s star would also be honored. The show hit the zeitgeist at the right time, and Taylor-Joy is everywhere. She faces formidable competition in Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman, while there’s also a fanbase for the work Shira Haas did in “Unorthodox” and Daisy Edgar-Jones did in “Normal People.” But there’s something iconic about Taylor-Joy as chess prodigy Beth Harmon, and so we’ve got to go with her.

BEST ACTOR IN A LIMITED SERIES OR TV MOVIE

It’s hard to know this much is true with the Golden Globes, but it feels like Mark Ruffalo finally has one coming — especially after winning the Emmy for his double turn in HBO’s “I Know This Much Is True,” in which he plays twins in the limited series. But the Globes may finally grant Hugh Grant (“The Undoing”) another win, given his sixth nomination (his last win was in 1995 for “Four Weddings and a Funeral). The star-studded category also boasts Ethan Hawke (“The Good Lord Bird”), Jeff Daniels (“The Comey Rule”) and Bryan Cranston (“Your Honor”), so none of these names would be a surprise.

BEST TV SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Should there be a “The Crown” sweep at this year’s Golden Globes — a real possibility — Gillian Anderson might be a part of that. She earned quite a bit of attention for her turn as the Iron Lady, former U.K. prime minister Margaret Thatcher, in this year’s “The Crown,” including some wonderfully chilly scenes opposite Olivia Colman as Queen Elizabeth II. But as usual, the supporting categories in TV are a hodgepodge, and so she’s up against Annie Murphy from “Schitt’s Creek,” as well as “The Crown” co-star Helena Bonham Carter and “Ozark” standout Julia Garner. Less likely is “Ratched” star Cynthia Nixon, although she has earned six nominations over the years.

BEST TV SUPPORTING ACTOR

Dan Levy could become the first comedy performer to win the Golden Globes supporting actor category since “Glee” star Chris Colfer did it back in 2010. Now, with the ongoing power of “Schitt’s Creek,” co-creator Levy is a frontrunner — although he has intense competition from John Boyega of “Small Axe.” Also in the mix are “The Undoing’s” Donald Sutherland and “Hollywood’s” Jim Parsons. Will the HFPA feel like honoring Brendan Gleeson for playing Donald Trump in “The Comey Rule”? That seems tougher to imagine.

2021 Golden Globes Final Predictions (TV)

2021 Golden Globes Predictions (Film)

About the Golden Globes

The Golden Globes Awards, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is held annually with 93 members since 1944. The group recognizes excellence in film and television, across drama and comedy or musical categories. “Mad Men” and “The X-Files” hold the record for most wins as best drama, at three each, while “All in the Family” has won the most awards for best comedy/musical, with four wins. Carol Burnett has the record for most TV nominations, at 13 (she won five), while Alan Alda has the most TV wins, with 6 (out of 12 nominations).