The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a lot of things, but consistent isn't really one of them. Their ark-like policy of giving out two awards, one for dramatic achievement and once for musical/comedic, for most of the top categories, gets pushed aside for the Supporting Actor races. This little twist of bureaucracy has this year allowed a little-seen chick-lit-sourced rom com to rack up points right up against two self-congratulatory social issue dramas, both drunk on their own relevancy but ultimately, just as effective as the chick-bait in terms of audience repellent. So, in short, it's looks a lot like the Oscars up in here, with a couple of real contenders and an awful lot of padding. Even more encouraging for those looking for Globe-Oscar carryovers: the two women in this category who actually have a shot at winning this award are both young, hot, blonde, and until now, trophy-less – just the kind of gal the Oscar god likes to anoint. Here we go:

  • Shirley MacLaine (In Her Shoes) – A token nod if there ever was one. MacLaine gives a fine performance in Curtis Hanson's far-better-than-it-should have been slice of she-said/she-said sister drama, but who saw the thing? Oscar voters tend to split their acting honorees between hot young things and deserving veterans, but Globe voters tend to be a younger batch, with shorter memories and a more immediate jones for glamour. Sorry, Shirley, but that probably counts you out.
  • Frances McDormand (North Country) - Frances McDormand was *in* North Country? But seriously: the film has zero momentum, and McDormand's work in it, whilst no doubt strong, has not exactly launched a tornado of buzz. The longest of long shots.
  • Rachel Weisz (The Constant Gardener) – Not a favorite, but a possible upset. The British press, at least, loved Meirelles' liberal-conscience-baiting thriller/love story, and even its detractors (like yours truly) have to admit that Weisz is the best thing in it. Weisz needed this nod after all those Mummy movies, but it's looking like the film itself does not have the kind of support it'd need for her to be able to pull out the win. This award tends to get handed out early in the evening, and if it does go for Weisz, that might be an early indication of an across-the-board upset. But I wouldn't bet the multi-national corporation on it.
  • Scarlett Johansson (Match Point) – Is Scarlett Johansson the next Angelina Jolie? Both are big-lipped tabloid fixtures who bounced back from semi-forgettable filmographies to deliver transcendent performances as mentally unstable blondes. In the case of the eventual Mrs. Pitt, her picture-stealing work in Girl, Interrupted got her an Oscar. Scarlett's work as Nola Rice in Woody Allen's latest masterwork has already lent a big boost of credibility to an ever-present buzz; the fact that the film itself is miles better than anything Angelina Jolie's ever toplined%uFFFD only cements the younger Ms. J as an up-and-coming force not seen since a certain incident gothed-out trophy holder kissed her brother. Add in the fact that the Globes love nothing better than an ingenue, and we'd say for sure that Johansson had this one locked up. Except ...
  • Michelle Williams (Brokeback Mountain) – Always the most watchable thing about Dawson's Creek (who didn't shed a tear when Jen died? I mean, of the three of us who were still watching at that point?), Williams is having the kind of year thatCreek costar Katie Holmes could only have Xenu-crazed dreams about. After turning in impressive performances in Me Without You and The Station Agent, Williams performance as Alma, a young bride quietly burning over a family secret, is a model of economy and restraint. Double whammy: she met and fell for co-star Heath Ledger and conceived their child on set. It's the pitch-perfect stuff of Hollywood myth – two hot young b-listers, remaking both personal and professional lives in one fell swoop – the Entertainment Weekly profiles write themselves. And, with Brokeback's dominance of the awards discourse thus far, it's hard to imagine that that voters will be able to resist.

  • My Prediction: Williams, with Johansson a close second. But look for a very surprised Wiesz to make it to the podium, in the very unlikely chance the two ingenues split the vote. Am I wrong? Tell me what you think.
    categories Awards, Cinematical