LOS ANGELES (CNN) - The Golden Globes opens up the awards season Sunday evening airing right here on KARK. Who will win? Who should win? To keep track of the various Globes races, here are some of Entertainment's most educated guesses, thanks to input from the nominees themselves.
Best motion picture -- drama
Since the Globes separate drama from comedy (and musicals), the toughest race this year (for once) will be in comedy/musicals, not drama. Still, there are some strong contenders in this category: "12 Years a Slave," "Captain Phillips," "Gravity," "Philomena" and "Rush." Each of these (except "Gravity") is based on a true story; that usually gives a film a boost in the awards department, but the real question this year might be, how does each film make you feel?Although "12 Years a Slave," based on the experiences of Solomon Northup, a free man who was kidnapped and forced into slavery, is an exceptional and important film, it can also be hard to watch, given the lingering attention paid to such horrors as lynching, whipping and rape. (The word often used to describe the film: "harrowing.")
"It's obviously a situation where people have had their difficulties with the subject," director Steve McQueen said. "It's understandable in a way, because it's such a grave and painful part of that time in history." Still, McQueen hopes people are able to "find out who they are and what they are and how far they've come" when they consider the film.
An easier sell is "Gravity," also an amazing film, but more because it provides an experience of what it would be like to be in space. (The word often used to describe this one: "spectacular.") So even though there are some disturbing moments in the movie, viewers tend to find the depiction of zero-gravity a more exhilarating experience and might vote accordingly. If we were feeling cynical, we would guess that the lighter "Gravity" will circle the Globe, even if the heavier "12 Years a Slave" deserves to.
Best motion picture -- comedy or musical
Here, the contenders are "American Hustle," "Her," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Nebraska" and "The Wolf of Wall Street." And because so many of the great films this year have a dramedy/comedy aspect, this is a trickier category than usual -- with no one film sweeping the all-important predictors, the critics awards.
"American Hustle" snagged the New York Film Critics Circle Award for best picture, "Her" got National Board of Review's nod, "Inside Llewyn Davis" won the National Society of Film Critics Awards, and so on. It might be that two films are dividing the vote: two period piece con-man stories that cancel each other out. Can David O. Russell's Scorsese-like "American Hustle" out-hustle Scorsese's own film, "The Wolf of Wall Street?" Could both be elbowed aside by Spike Jonze's enchanting computer-age love story, "Her"?
All the crazy outrageousness, the controversies over glamorizing not-so-victimless crimes and even the quite excellent performances in both "Hustle" and "Wolf" seem just a lot of noise when compared with the quiet but more inventive "Her," which plays like a fable for our times. "Her" should win, but "Wolf" will probably blow down the Globes door.
Ben Affleck was the surprise winner in this category last year, so anything could happen. Each of the nominees -- Alfonso Cuaron (for "Gravity"), Paul Greengrass ("Captain Phillips"), McQueen ("12 Years a Slave"), Alexander Payne ("Nebraska") and David O. Russell ("American Hustle") -- is a strong contender, but Cuaron's accomplishments in creating film technology could push him ahead of his peers, as might his easygoing, self-deprecating meet-and-greet campaign strategy.
"A movie about an astronaut alone in space for an hour and a half? Doesn't sound appealing!" he said with a laugh. "It was how the media presented the whole thing that made the difference. I'm surprised at what the response has been."
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