2012 Golden Globes Picks and Predictions

VIDEO: Will Ricky Gervais offend Hollywood in his return as Golden Globe host?

Some will be looking to Sunday's Golden Globes as a guidepost to which films are frontrunners in an awards season that still has us guessing.

Check out ABCNews.com's Golden Globes live blog!

This week's Directors Guild snubs of Steven Spielberg for "War Horse" and Tate Taylor for "The Help" have only added to the uncertainty leading into the Oscar nominations Jan. 24.

But if there's anything the Globes have taught us, it's don't count on the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to make predictions. The 90 journalists who make up the association aren't the most predictable bunch. They tend to ignore the critics -- remember "The Tourist" -- and vote for their favorite stars.

"The Hollywood Foreign Press has three biases: ingénues or young stars, foreign stars and more stars," Thom Geier, senior editor at Entertainment Weekly, told ABCNews.com. "They want the starriest cast possible for their awards show."


That might explain all the love for George Clooney, who earned three nods for his starring role in "The Descendants," as well as for best screenplay and best director for his "Ides of March."

The other favorite this year: "The Artist," which leads Globe nominations with six and just took home Best picture at the Critics Choice awards Thursday night. "The Descendants" and "The Help" are tied at second with five each, and "Moneyball," "Ides of March" and "Midnight in Paris" each earned four nods.

With so many films still jostling for position and the wins likely to be spread out among them, the competition between television shows at the Globes could prove to be more exciting. "Downton Abbey" and "Mildred Pierce" lead with four nominations each, while established series "Boardwalk Empire," "Modern Family" and newcomers "The Hour" and "Homeland" earned three nominations apiece.

Adding to the excitement and unpredictability this year is Ricky Gervais, who returns for a third time to host the awards ceremony.

He's already come out swinging. Posting a picture of himself standing in front of the Modern Institute of Plastic Surgery & Anti Aging, he wrote on Twitter: "Some last minute preparation so I don't look out of place at The Golden Globes."

Click through to see our picks for likely Golden Globe winners.

PHOTO: A land baron tries to re-connect with his two daughters after his wife suffers a boating accident in The Descendants.
Best Picture, Drama: 'The Descendants'

Geier sees a three-way race between "The Descendants," "The Help" and "The Artist" going into the awards season.

At the Globes, in the drama category, it will come down to "The Descendants" and "The Help."

Alexander Payne's offbeat drama starring George Clooney has the edge. "The Hollywood Foreign Press has not always responded well to civil rights dramas in the past," Geier said.

'The Artist': Sound of Silence
Best Picture, Comedy or Musical: 'The Artist'

This obscure black-and-white silent film has been gathering steam with critics and its French director and largely French cast will play well with the foreign media.

PHOTO: Viola Davis stars in "The Help," a film adaptation of Kathryn Stockett's novel of the same name.
Courtesy Dreamworks
Best Performance by an Actress in a Drama: Viola Davis

This is a two-way race between Meryl Streep for "The Iron Lady" and Viola Davis for "The Help."

Geier gives the edge to two-time Tony-winner Davis. "Even Meryl has been campaigning for her former castmate in 'Doubt.' This is Viola's for the taking."

But don't count out spoiler Glenn Close, who plays a woman living as a man in "Albert Knobbs."

PHOTO: George Clooney stars in the film, "The Descendants."
Courtesy Fox Searchlight Pictures
Best Performance by an Actor in a Drama: George Clooney

Geier thinks it's Clooney's year.

"I think they love Brad Pitt to death, but Clooney gives the much more emotional performance in 'The Descendants.' Pitt is very good in 'Moneyball.' It's just not the emotional highs and lows expected in an award film.

PHOTO: Michelle Williams stars in "My Week with Marilyn".
Weinstein Company
Best Performance by an Actress in a Comedy: Michelle Williams

With the success of "Bridesmaids" female comedians have had a banner year.

Geier wouldn't be surprised if the Globes go for "Bridesmaids" star Kristin Wiig, but more likely they will honor Michelle Williams' transformation into Marilyn Monroe for the (comedy?) "My Week with Marilyn."

PHOTO: Jean Dujardin
The Weinstein Company
Best Performance by an Actor in a Comedy: Jean Dujardin

Jean Dujardin won for best actor at Cannes and will likely repeat at the Globes, where the foreign press loves its European nominees.

"He's the one to beat," Geier said.

PHOTO: Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor
Focus Features
Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer

Veteran Canadian actor Christopher Plummer should have a lock on this category for his role as Hal, a closeted gay father who comes out to his adult son before he's diagnosed with terminal cancer, in "Beginners."

"The Sound of Music" star has been around for decades but only received his first Oscar nomination two years ago for his role as Leo Tolstoy in "The Last Station."

PHOTO: Jessica Chastain, who starred in four films this year, picked up a nomination for her supporting role in "The Help."
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain

What movie hasn't Jessica Chastain been in this year?

The critics' favorite is up for her role in "The Help," but no doubt Globe voters will be influenced by her more riveting performance in "Tree of Life."

The spoiler is Shaileen Woodley, who could take the award for her role as the big sister in "The Descendants." "She is very much the ingénue," Geier said.

PHOTO: It's the late 1920s in Hollywood and handsome George Valentin is a silent movie idol in The Artist.
Weinstein Company
Best Director: Michel Hazanavicius

"The Artist" director Michel Hazanavicius could pull off the win among more established directors for a movie the Hollywood Foreign Press loves.

PHOTO: The adventures of Rin Tin Tin.
Paramount Pictures
Best Animated Feature: 'The Adventures of Tintin'

Steven Spielberg might not be completely overlooked at the Globes.

Although Geier doesn't think Spielberg's sweeping drama "War Horse" will take best drama, his first foray into animation, "The Adventures of Tintin" could pull off a win over current critic favorite "Rango."

"Overseas, 'Tintin' has played to adoring crowds, and the comic books it's based on are better known overseas," Geier said.

PHOTO: "In the Land of Milk and Honey" i set against the backdrop of the Bosnian War in the '90's.
GK Films
Best Foreign Language Film: 'In the Land of Blood and Honey'

What would the Golden Globes be without Angelina Jolie?

"In the Land of Blood and Honey," her directorial debut filmed in the Bosnian language, could take home an award for best foreign-language film.

She's got stiff competition though from Pedro Almodovar for "The Skin I Live In" and Zhang Yimou's "The Flowers of War."

PHOTO: Damien Lewis as Nicholas "Nick" Brody and Claire Danes as Carrie Mathison in the season finale of "Homeland."
Kent Smith/Showtime
Best Television Series, Drama: 'Homeland'

Unlike the Emmys, the Globes likes spreading the love around, especially to new television shows and stars who haven't gotten any love before. New Showtime series "Homeland" offered one of the most compelling storylines on television. But the shocking finale of "Boardwalk Empire" could mean a repeat win for the HBO series.

PHOTO: ABC's "Modern Family" stars Jesse Tyler Ferguson as Mitchell, Ariel Winter as Alex, Eric Stonestreet as Cameron, Rico Rodriguez as Manny, Sofia Vergara as Gloria, Ed O'Neill as Jay, Ty Burrell as Phil, Julie Bowen as Claire, Sarah Hyland as Haley a
Bob DAmico/ABC
Best Television Series, Comedy: 'Modern Family'

Last year, ABC series "Modern Family" lost out to "Glee." But this year, riding the wave of their Emmy win, the show seems poised to finally take home a Golden Globe.

PHOTO: Bryan Cranston earned a nod for his role as a terminal cancer patient turned drug kingpin in the AMC drama series "Breaking Bad."
Best Actor in Television Series, Drama: Bryan Cranston

The star of "Breaking Bad," Bryan Cranston hasn't been honored by the Globes yet, and this year he is the obvious frontrunner. Only "Boardwalk Empire" star Steve Buscemi could spoil Cranston's chances.

PHOTO: Claire Danes
Kent Smith/Showtime
Best Actress in Television Series, Drama: Claire Danes

Not only is Claire Danes the star of critic's new favorite show, "Homeland," but she's a favorite of the Globes, having won a trophy last year for playing Temple Grandin in the HBO film. The only thing Globe voters like more than a new show or new face is a great comeback -- so Madeline Stowe, star of ABC series "Revenge," could pose a challenge for Danes.

Best Actor in Television Series, Comedy: Matt LeBlanc

Speaking of comebacks, "Friends" star Matt LeBlanc is favored to win for playing a sleazy parody of himself in "Episodes," about a married team of British producers shooting a pilot in Hollywood.

PHOTO: Zooey Deschanel
Patrick Mcelhenney/FOX
Best Actress in Television Series, Comedy: Zooey Deschanel

Zooey Deschanel may be familiar star of the big screen but on television she is the "New Girl," the aptly named title of her new Fox series. As the new shiny thing, she has a leg up on familiar faces Tina Fey, Amy Poehler and Laura Linney. But don't count out "Enlightened" star Laura Dern who has more name recognition and is also new to TV sitcom.

PHOTO: Peter Dinklage in "Game of Thrones."
Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Peter Dinklage

Peter Dinklage won a surprise Emmy for stealing the show in "Game of Thrones" and deserves to repeat at the Globes. But he'll have stiff competition from Guy Pearce as the rich playboy in "Mildred Pierce."

Best Supporting Actress in a Series, Mini-series or Motion Picture Made for Television: Jessica Lange

With the likes of Kelly McDonald and Dame Maggie Smith, this is a tough category. Jessica Lange, star of "American Horror Story," could win on wattage alone. It also doesn't hurt that Globe voters love "Horror Story" creator Ryan Murphy, honoring his "Glee" last year. Evan Rachel Wood poses the biggest threat with her arresting performance as Kate Winslet's ungrateful daughter in "Mildred Pierce." meida: 15341759

PHOTO: Created by Emmy-winning writer Julian Fellowes, "Downton Abbey" depicts the lives of the noble Crawley family and the staff who serve them.
Best Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie: "Downton Abbey"

British import and public television mega-hit "Downton Abbey" was the surprise darling of the Emmy Awards, winning four awards, including best miniseries. It stands a good chance of repeating the win in this category at the Globes, but it's got some stiff competition, namely from "Mildred Pierce."

PHOTO: Hugh Bonneville attends the Hennessy Gold Cup at Newbury Racecourse in this Nov. 26, 2011 file photo in London, England.
Alex Moss/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Best Actor in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie: Hugh Bonneville

Hugh Bonneville should ensure that "Downton Abbey" does not leave the Globes empty-handed, but many are rooting for fellow Brit Idris Elba to win for "Luther."

PHOTO: Kate Winslet stars in "Mildred Pierce" on HBO.
Andrew Schwartz/HBO
Best Actress in a Miniseries or Made-for-TV Movie: Kate Winslet

Kate Winslet, who won an Emmy for playing the long-suffering mother in "Mildred Pierce," is considered the shoo-in for the Golden Globe award.

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