The Golden Globes, Oscar's sluttier step-cousin, air this Sunday at 8pm ET on NBC, with red-carpet coverage beginning at 7pm. In recent years, the show's gone down smoothly enough, thanks to the hilarious byplay of co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. This time, expect a little more spiky self-deprecation, courtesy of returning emcee Ricky Gervais. But who actually chooses the winners? The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a secret body of foreign writers and hangers-on, is shadowy at best. That said, judging from past years, certain trends can be detected. Here are our picks for every category—not necessarily our favorites, so much as the ones who will win. Have a read, absorb our intel and come off like an insider Sunday night.
FILM (our television picks, from Time Out Los Angeles assistant editor Seth Kelley, are below this section)
Motion Picture—Drama: Spotlight
While Mad Max: Fury Road is a definite lure—a terrific movie on all counts—we think the idea of honoring actual journalists will be too appealing for the Globes, wracked with its identity crisis, to pass up.
Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
Don't expect fresh thinking in this category: DiCaprio's already won two Globes (for The Aviator and The Wolf of Wall Street) and the HFPA loves it when the world's biggest star pays attention to them.
Best Actress: Saoirse Ronan, Brooklyn
This could be the tipping point for Ronan, who might actually pull ahead of perceived front-runner Brie Larson for her work in Room. We like Ronan's chances. Brooklyn's story is universal, and everybody who's seen it loves it.
Motion Picture—Musical or Comedy: The Martian
Never mind if you don't think it's a musical or a comedy—that's where The Martian has ended up. The backstage shenanigans that got it nominated in this category speak to a huge fan base within the voters.
Best Actor: Matt Damon, The Martian
Best Actress: Amy Schumer, Trainwreck
It speaks strongly to Schumer's chances that this performance even got nominated in a highly competitive year. Choosing her would be an edgy pick for the HFPA.
Motion Picture—Animated: Inside Out
Don't bet against Pixar's behemoth.
Motion Picture—Foreign Language: Son of Saul
Hungary's Son of Saul is especially worthy—and its subject matter, the Holocaust, doesn't hurt its chances either. With this category, most voters go to where the buzz is.
Best Supporting Actor: Sylvester Stallone, Creed
The impulse to honor a global icon (and moneymaker) will be too great for the HFPA to resist. They can choose Stallone in good conscience—his work in Creed is a career high-point.
Best Supporting Actress: Helen Mirren, Trumbo
We can't explain the Globes love for Trumbo, a poundingly obvious biopic. But the idea of honoring Mirren's gossip columnist, as well as a story about Hollywood history, is potent. This is where that enthusiasm will express itself.
Best Director: George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
Competition from The Martian's Ridley Scott will be fierce, but the HFPA will want to honor Miller's achievement somehow.
Best Screenplay: Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight
Tarantino has a wider appeal than most of his competition in this category and even though he's a prior winner, he'll repeat.
Best Original Score: Ennio Morricone, The Hateful Eight
A bona-fide legend in compositional circles, the Italian maestro will take home the award, for returning to the genre in which he made his name: the Western.
Best Original Song: "Writing's on the Wall," Spectre
We're stumped on this one. We're going with the Bond brand, still strong worldwide. The other competitors are equally lame.
Television Series—Drama: Mr. Robot
With last year’s winner, The Affair, not even nominated, Game of Thrones is a definite favorite considering its popularity and critical acclaim. But considering the Globe’s affinity to celebrating newcomers over established programs, USA’s Mr. Robot has a good shot.
Best Actor: Rami Malek, Mr. Robot
Jon Hamm’s final season as a nominee for Mad Men could turn out to be a victory lap. But much like the best drama race, watch out for Mr. Robot star Rami Malek.
Best Actress: Taraji P. Henson, Empire
This race looks to be between Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis. But since Davis already won the Emmy, why not give this one to Henson? Outlander's Caitriona Balfe is the only likely upset.
Television Series—Musical or Comedy: Transparent
Transparent won last year and with an elevated second season, there’s no reason why it shouldn’t repeat. But don’t count out Veep, which cleaned up at this year’s Emmys but has yet to win a Globe.
Best Actor: Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent
Jeffrey Tambour could and should return to the podium, but don’t discount the Hollywood Foreign Press’s mysterious voting practices—this award could really go to anyone.
Best Actress: Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Julia Louis-Dreyfus may be an Emmy darling, winning four consecutive times for her performance in Veep, but she hasn’t won a Globe since her Seinfeld days. Look for Rachel Bloom’s delightful freshman performance in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to upset the pack.
Limited Series or TV Movie: Fargo
Like Transparent, previous Globe winner Fargo offered up an even stronger second season than the first. Look for a repeat win.
Best Actor: Idris Elba, Luther
This field is pretty wide open but general good will for Idris Elba could lift him to the top. Also keep an eye on Star Wars: The Force Awakens actor Oscar Isaac to win for his performance in Show Me a Hero—the most exciting show of all time (about public housing).
Best Actress: Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
Kirsten Dunst was a welcome addition to Fargo's second season and looks to end up on top. Lady Gaga is also getting a lot of buzz for her turn in American Horror Story: Hotel.
Best Supporting Actor: Tobias Menzies, Outlander
If there’s one thing that seems certain in this race, it’s that The Good Wife's Alan Cumming won’t win. Otherwise, it’s a pretty fair fight. With three nominations for Outlander, Sunday is a potentially big night for the period drama.
Best Supporting Actress: Judith Light, Transparent
This category is stacked with strong performances across comedy, drama and limited series. Downton Abbey's Joanne Froggatt could very likely repeat last year’s victory, but Judith Light’s spectacular turn in Transparent deserves all of the awards.