It can be tough predicting the whims of the 90 or so journalists in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association who pick the Golden Globe winners.

About all we can know for sure about this Sunday's Globe ceremony is that Meryl Streep will be accepting a prize (the HFPA's Cecil B. DeMille career achievement trophy) with her usual grace and humor.

Beyond that, though, we can guess pretty safely who'll win in the following major categories. And we can also grumble about who actually deserves to win.


This year's nominees are a harrowing lot to watch, from Mel Gibson's brutal World War II drama "Hacksaw Ridge" to a crime drama inspired by the foreclosure crisis ("Hell or High Water") to a biopic about a stranded Indian youth's 20-year quest to find his parents ("Lion").

They're all worthy movies, but this is a two-film race between "Moonlight" (about the coming-of-age of an African-American young man in a drug-blighted Miami project) and "Manchester by the Sea" (a family drama about a bereft Irish-American man in Massachusetts picking up the pieces after his brother's death).

Who Will Win: "Manchester" has five Globe nominations, and "Moonlight" has six, but "Manchester" has the edge -- a better-known cast (featuring Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams), and more impressive box office (about $30 million to date, compared to $13 million for "Moonlight"). And while it shouldn't matter, the fact that "Moonlight" is about a character who's poor, black, and gay could make it less relatable to Globe voters.

Who Should Win: Both films are shattering experiences, but "Moonlight" feels like something utterly new to the screen, and despite its often bleak subject matter, it has lyricism and poetry to burn.


This category often feels like padding -- movies the HFPA has added to the mix to draw more stars to the party, even though they won't be nominated for Oscars.

This year, however, the category includes Academy front-runner "La La Land," as well as "Florence Foster Jenkins," which could mark the 892nd Oscar nomination for Meryl Streep. It's nice to see "Deadpool" recognized, and it would be great if the nominations for musical "Sing Street" and family dramedy "20th Century Women" brought more attention to those two underseen films.

Who Will Win: This race is "La La Land's" to lose.

It's the year's most nominated film, and as a valentine to Los Angeles and show business, it literally hits the HFPA members right where they live.

Who Should Win: "La La Land." Critics and viewers alike have been swooning over it for a reason.


Andrew Garfield and Joel Edgerton shine playing obscure but important real-life historical figures in "Hacksaw Ridge" and "Loving," respectively. Viggo Mortensen brings his usual intensity to his hippie dad role in "Captain Fantastic." But this is a two-man race between "Manchester" star Casey Affleck and "Fences" director/star Denzel Washington, reprising his Tony-winning role as a striving garbageman.

Who Will Win: Affleck's performance is more likely to impress voters, if only because it's no surprise to see awards magnet Washington deliver greatness. Affleck's subtle turn is the star-making role that Ben's little brother has been waiting two decades for, and Globe voters will relish the opportunity to be the first major awards group to crown him.

Who's Should Win: Washington the director doesn't do the best job showcasing the work of Washington the actor, but this is still a performance for the ages.


It was a good year for red-headed actresses, with nominations for Amy Adams in sci-fi hit "Arrival," Jessica Chastain in political drama "Miss Sloane," and Isabelle Huppert in Paul Verhoeven's thriller "Elle." They join Ruth Negga and Natalie Portman in historical dramas "Loving" and "Jackie."

Who Will Win: Portman is all but assured of a win for her portrayal of a grief-stricken Jackie Kennedy.

Who Should Win: Huppert has been a leading light in French cinema for four decades. It would be great to see her honored for what many critics think is a career-milestone performance, especially over Portman's sometimes frustratingly opaque Jackie.


In another year, Mel Gibson might be riding a comeback narrative to awards-season glory. But while "Hacksaw Ridge" has been a critical and commercial hit, Gibson has strong competition from directors whose films critics generally liked even more, including Tom Ford ("Nocturnal Animals") and Kenneth Lonergan ("Manchester by the Sea"). The top contenders are the directors whose movies transported critics the most: Damian Chazelle ("La La Land") and Barry Jenkins ("Moonlight").

Who Will Win: Chazelle, both for his grandly ambitious project and for the technical feat of actually pulling it off most of the time.

Who Should Win: Jenkins, for pulling off an even more unconventional storytelling coup.


"Game of Thrones" had one of its strongest seasons ever, but the HFPA's eagerness to recognize TV newcomers a full eight months before the Emmys means a battle royale among "GoT" and four new shows: Netflix historical drama "The Crown," the streaming service's sci-fi chiller/'80s nostalgia piece "Stranger Things," NBC's time-jumping family drama "This Is Us," and HBO's sci-fi puzzler "Westworld."

Who Will Win: "This Is Us" may be the buzziest show on TV right now, but since the HFPA is the group that nominated "Downton Abbey" 11 times and gave it three trophies, "The Crown" has the edge.

Who Should Win: Don't you want to see the "Stranger Things" kids do more at an awards show than pass out sandwiches?


Amazon's "Mozart in the Jungle" was the upset winner last year, while the streaming channel's "Transparent" won the year before. Both are up for the top prize again this year, but since the novelty has worn off, they face strong competition from FX's "Atlanta," ABC's "Black-ish," and HBO's awards-hogging "Veep."

Who Will Win: "Atlanta" is the lone new series on the list, so it has a slight edge.

Who Should Win: "Atlanta" also is one of the year's best new shows, full of subtlety and lived-in wisdom and rewarding repeat viewings.