2021 Golden Globes Winners, Surprises, And How Weird Was This Ceremony Anyway?
Usually, the Golden Globes air the first week of January, and the Oscars air the last weekend of February. But it’s kind of been a strange year for movies. For several weeks, we had no movies. Then the industry realized they needed to come up with alternatives to going to the movies, since basically 90% of the world stopped going, and 5% of the world shouldn’t have been going. Now, instead of looking down on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, those services became their best friends. The pandemic also made the selection of films much different than usual. So, now that we have our first major movie awards post-pandemic, let’s take a look at the 2021 Golden Globes winners.
We’d usually see our excellent movie editor, Meghan Hale, write up the list of winners and losers, but I’m substituting for her. So, here we go. I’ll start with the predictions, give mine, and then we’ll laugh at how wrong I was.
The 2021 Golden Globe Winners and Nominees for TV Acting
Best Actress, Limited Series or TV Movie
Okay, so most predictions put Anya Taylor-Joy as one of the 2021 Golden Globes winners, but she has two veterans to compete with, Cate Blanchett and Nicole Kidman. However, Taylor-Joy had a superstar-launching performance here (her breakout role was the The Witch). It would be surprising if she lost this one.
- Cate Blanchett, Mrs. America
- Daisy Edgar-Jones, Normal People
- Shira Haas, Unorthodox
- Nicole Kidman, The Undoing
- Anya Taylor-Joy, The Queen’s Gambit
How could it be any different? One might say Taylor-Joy’s performance had magik.
Best Actor, Limited Series or TV Movie
For the most part, Hugh Grant is the frontrunner here, but Bryan Cranston isn’t just very likely, he’s, well, more liked by his peers. Meanwhile, you have Jeff Daniels making James Comey look like he knew what he was doing. Hawke wand Ruffalo don’t have the best chances, but they also had great performances. More than likely, Jeff Daniels will be one of the 2021 Golden Globe Winners, since this kind of stuck it to the previous president while being a great limited series. Was I right?
- Bryan Cranston, Your Honor
- Jeff Daniels, The Comey Rule
- Hugh Grant, The Undoing
- Ethan Hawke, The Good Lord Bird
- Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True
Well, I know now that this much is true: I need to see I Know This Much is True.
Best Supporting Actress, TV
Damn it, The Crown is in this one twice. Even though, after the Emmys, Annie Murphy is the favorite to win here, she, has to deal with the Golden Globes’ favorite drama about rich white royals. So sure, Murphy should win, but it will probably be Helena Bonham Carter because she’s a movie star and it’s The Crown.
- Gillian Anderson, The Crown
- Julia Garner, Ozark
- Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek
- Helena Bonham Carter, The Crown
- Cynthia Nixon, Ratched
Okay, I was wrong. It was the other actress from The Crown. Why is Schitt’s Creek getting robbed? Daniel Levy better win.
Best Supporting Actor, TV
This is a hard one. Boyega and Levy both top the prediction lists, and though I want Levy to win, Boyega is just as deserving. However, Brendan Gleeson took on the persona of one of the most hated people in the world: Donald Trump. Playing someone like that either ends in all the awards or none of them. Just as John Lithgow, who was phenomenal as Roget Ailes in Bombshell, but got nothing. He could be one of the surprises 2021 Golden Globe winners, but it’s unlikely.
- John Boyega, Small Axe
- Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek
- Brendan Gleeson, The Comey Rule
- Donald Sutherland, The Undoing
- Jim Parsons, Hollywood
Yes, I still think Levy should have won, but Boyega had the—nope. Not making a Force joke. Not going to do it. It’s right there, but I’m not gonna do it.
Best Actress, TV Series, Drama
This is going to be a battle of the Crowns. Regardless of how unnerving Paulson was in Ratched, or how menacing Linney was in Ozark, this crowd loves The Crown, so either Colman or Corrin will join the winners of the 2021 Golden Globes.
- Olivia Colman, The Crown
- Jodie Comer, Killing Eve
- Emma Corrin, The Crown
- Laura Linney, Ozark
- Sarah Paulson, Ratched
The only surprise here is that Colman lost.
Best Actor, TV Series, Drama
When a major, Oscar-winning actor does a TV show, they tend to rake in the awards, so it wouldn’t be surprising if one of the 2021 Golden Globes winners turns out to be Al Pacino. However…someone from the Crown was nominated. Will O’Connor take the crown for The Crown or will Pacino hunt him down?
- Jason Bateman, Ozark
- Josh O’Connor, The Crown
- Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
- Al Pacino, Hunters
- Matthew Rhys, Perry Mason
Even going with a veteran, one of the most obvious moves, would have still been more surprising than an actor from The Crown winning.
Best Actor, TV Series, Comedy
Everyone knows that Eugene Levy will win this, so, is it worth speculating? He’s basically on the top of every prediction list, except for one or two, such as Variety, who for some reason chose Jason Sudekis. Not that it wouldn’t be a pleasant surprise if Sudekis joined the 2021 Golden Globe winners, but come on. Levy has this.
- Don Cheadle, Black Monday
- Nicholas Hoult, The Great
- Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek
- Jason Sudeikis, Ted Lasso
- Ramy Youssef, Ramy
Okay, so Variety called it over everyone else. Even Sudekis didn’t think he was going to win, going by his acceptance speech.
Best Actress, TV Series, Comedy
Wait…Lilly Collins is here? Who loved Emily in Paris that much? Now, the other nominees all make sense, but Catherine O’Hara has this. Wait…we thought Eugene Levy did too. So who won?
- Lily Collins, Emily in Paris
- Kaley Cuoco, The Flight Attendant
- Elle Fanning, The Great
- Jane Levy, Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist
- Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek
The world is normal again, bébé.
The 2021 Golden Globe Winners and Nominees, TV Shows
Best TV Series, Drama
Let’s be honest, we all want The Mandalorian to win thins, but it’s probably going to be The Crown or Ozark or something not starring Baby Yoda. And even if it had a chance, Gina Carano and the social posts that got her fired by Lucasfilm might have tainted their chances. But let’s look at the history. Even when it was winning best drama at the Emmys, Game of Thrones never won at the Globes.
- The Crown
- Lovecraft Country
- The Mandalorian
What, you were hoping for a surprise here? We only get bad surprises at awards shows. But hey, maybe next year, WandaVision will break the anti-genre barrier.
Best TV Series, Comedy
The biggest surprise in this category is that Emily in Paris, one of the most hated new tv shows of the year, landed a nomination. If Emily in Paris turns out to be one of the 2021 Golden Globes winners, then 2020 had the last laugh. Well, Ted Lasso is the most favored to win, but we all know it will be Schitt’s Creek.
- Emily in Paris
- The Flight Attendant
- The Great
- Schitt’s Creek
- Ted Lasso
Like there was ever a doubt. That show was my Mariah Carey in 2020.
Best Limited Series or TV Movie
Are you wondering what four of these five series are? So is everyone else who predicted the 2021 Golden Globe winners. The Queen’s Gambit figured out the perfect moves to win this, and it will be massive shock if it lost.
- Normal People
- Small Axe
- The Queen’s Gambit
- The Undoing
Check and Mate.
The 2021 Golden Globe Winners and Nominees for Acting in a Film
Best Actor, Motion Picture – Drama
This is a tragic category since it includes the magnificent Chadwick Boseman, who sadly passed away in 2021. His performance in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom is more than deserving of an Oscar, and he was favored to win, but Riz Ahmed and Anthony Hopkins were certainly challenges. In any other year, this would have been a three-way battle between all three. But of all the winners of the 2021 Golden Globes,
- Riz Ahmed, Sound of Metal
- Chadwick Boseman, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
- Anthony Hopkins, The Father
- Gary Oldman, Mank
- Tahar Rahim, The Mauritanian
This is one of the only non-surprising wins that needed to stay that way. We may have lost an amazing actor, but as we now say, Wakanda Forever.
Best Actress, Motion Picture – Drama
While the best actor (drama) had three possible winners, there were four favorites for best actress at the 2021 Golden Globes. So, everyone excepted for Venessa Kirby. Sorry, Vanessa. You had a great performance in a year of remarkably strong female performances. And that might help. Back in the Oscars of 20-something, Mark Rylance was the least-favored to win best supporting actor, against four powerhouse actors that year. And he won. So, Kirby, were you one of the big surprises?
- Viola Davis, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom
- Andra Day, The United States vs. Billie Holiday
- Vanessa Kirby, Pieces of a Woman
- Frances McDormand, Nomadland
- Carey Mulligan, Promising Young Woman
Well, this was a pleasant surprise. Viola Davis and Frances McDormand seemed like the obvious winners, but Andra Day’s portrayal as Billie Holiday was incredible. It’s great to see her as one of the 2021 Golden Globe Winners.
Best Actor, Motion Picture – Comedy
Hamilton might be the favored for Best Musical/Comedy, but the man himself, Lin-Manuel Miranda isn’t. In fact, of all the possible winners for this category of the 2021 Golden Globes, Sacha Baron Coen seemed to have this locked. And as it goes…
- Sacha Baron Cohen, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
- James Corden, The Prom
- Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton
- Dev Patel, The Personal History of David Copperfield
- Andy Samberg, Palm Springs
Again, not surprising, and well-earned. Honestly, none of the other actors even had a chance.
Best Actress, Motion Picture – Comedy
Oh, that fact above, that Giuliani tried to sexually assault an underage girl? Well, that was the favored winner in this category, Maria Bakalova. Considering that she stayed in character (so did Sacha) during that nightmare scenario, she really does deserve to be one of the winners at the 2021 Golden Globes. But did she win?
- Maria Bakalova, Borat Subsequent Moviefilm
- Kate Hudson, Music
- Michelle Pfeiffer, French Exit
- Rosamund Pike, I Care a Lot
- Anya Taylor-Joy, Emma
Wow, so a fallen-from-grace former mayor trying to molest you, and you not breaking character, is apparently not enough to win. Take note, kids.
Best Supporting Actor, Motion Picture
This category had two big contenders. Once again, Sacha Baron Coen, who went from one of the funniest films of the year to one of the most serious, The Trial of the Chicago 7. But then there’s Daniel Kaluuya’s undeniably powerful performance in Judas and the Black Messiah. However, a few predictions said not to underestimate Leslie Odom Jr for One Night in Miami. Were they right, or will one of the others join the winners of the 2021 Golden Globes?
- Sacha Baron Cohen, The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Daniel Kaluuya, Judas and the Black Messiah
- Jared Leto, The Little Things
- Bill Murray, On the Rocks
- Leslie Odom Jr., One Night in Miami…
Not surprising, but good to see. Ever since Get Out, he’s seemed destined for an award.
Best Supporting Actress, Motion Picture
Every so often, there’s an acting category where it feels like there should be someone else nominated, since either the performances didn’t strike a chord, or the movie they were in. For the 2021 Golden Globes, that happened to Best Supporting Actress, Motion Picture Olivia Coleman won recently for The Favourite, so her odds aren’t as good. Hillbilly Elegy was a terrible movie, but Glen Close brought her all to it anyway, making her the most likely to win. But who ended up joining the 2021 Golden Globes winners?
- Glenn Close, Hillbilly Elegy
- Olivia Colman, The Father
- Jodie Foster, The Mauritanian
- Amanda Seyfried, Mank
- Helena Zengel, News of the World
Wow…for a film that not many people even heard of, this is a pleasant surprise.
The 2021 Golden Globe Nominees and Winners for Film Writing, Music, and Directing
Best Song for a Motion Picture
This is one category I never know enough about, and almost always predict incorrectly. Granted, everyone predicted that “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman would win an Oscar…but it didn’t. Which one did? Like CoCo or something? The favorites seem to be from The United States Vs Billie Holliday and Judas and the Black Messiah, but whoever joins the 2021 Golden Globe Winners probably won’t surprise too many people.
- “Fight for You” from Judas and the Black Messiah
- “Hear My Voice” from The Trial of the Chicago 7
- “Io Sí (seen)” from The Life Ahead
- “Speak Now” from One Night in Miami
- “Tigress and Tweed” from The United States Vs Billie Holiday
Or, maybe this is surprising? Guess we’ll have to take a listen.
Best Score for a Motion Picture
Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross are in here twice, and for very different movies. The frontrunner, and well-deserved, is their score Soul, which also features Jon Baptiste. Basically, Soul has two scores—the film narrative score, and the jazz score. It’s going to be hard to defeat that, but if anyone can be one of the surprise 2021 Golden Globe winners, it’s Ludwig Göransson for his incredibly complex score for Tenet.
- Alexandre Desplat, The Midnight Sky
- Ludwig Göransson, Tenet
- James Newton Howard, News of the World
- Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, Mank
- Trent Reznor, Atticus Ross, and Jon Baptiste, Soul
I’m mostly happy for Jon Baptiste. The jazz arrangements in Soul were beautiful.
Best Director, Motion Picture
This is Chloé Zhao’s all the way. Even if she loses, the talk among film circles will be “I can’t believe she lost.” However, if there was one director who could usurp Zhao, it’s Regina King. Nomadland and One Night in Miami weren’t just incredible films, but they were incredibly unique too. So, who snagged this award?
- Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
- David Fincher, Mank
- Regina King, One Night in Miami…
- Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Chloé Zhao, Nomadland
Another wonderful non-surprise. And it makes Zhao the first Asian woman to win for best director, just as she was at the Palm Springs Film Festival. In fact, she’s only the second Asian woman to win a Golden Globe ever, after Awkwafina won for The Farewell.
Best Screenplay, Motion Picture
Aaron Sorkin is by far the favorite here, even though the other films had great scripts too. The only writer with a chance to challenge Sorkin is Chloe Zhao. However, Nomadland actually had a loose script, with Zhao allowing real nomads to improv their stories. This worked wonderfully, and will be the reason she wins best director…but it makes for an odd screenplay. Meanwhile, Sorkin is an industry favorite and had a great movie, so he’ll likely win this but lose director.
- Emerald Fennell, Promising Young Woman
- Jack Fincher, Mank
- Aaron Sorkin, The Trial of the Chicago 7
- Florian Zeller, Christopher Hampton, The Father
- Chloe Zhao, Nomadland
Yep, no surprises here. Still, they’re all excellent scripts, so can just say they were all winners at the 2021 Golden Globes?
The 2021 Golden Globes Winners and Nominees for Best Films
Best Motion Picture – Animated
Did Pixar have a movie this year? Because, if so, Pixar will win—well, like 98% of the time. And they actually had two this year, so sorry Croods, it’s not going to be your year. Plus, Soul was phenomenal, but will it win?
- The Croods: A New Age
- Over the Moon
And Pixar adds another trophy to what I’m assuming is just a warehouse of trophies now.
Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language
Because a foreign language film completely dominated last year’s award season, this category should be more popular than ever before. And, yet, there aren’t many predictions for a winner. And since I don’t know much about them…I don’t have one either. Any one of these can be one of the 2021 Golden Globe winners.
- Another Round (Denmark)
- La Llorna (Guatemala)
- The Life Ahead (Italy)
- Minari (USA)
- Two of Us (France/USA)
I used to see all of the foreign language nominees in theaters. Back, long ago, when there were theaters we could go to. But I’ll make sure I see these ones now.
Best Motion Picture – Drama
The Drama awards always closes the show, and is generally considered the biggest award. Sorry, comedy/musicals. The predictions focused on two films above all others: Nomadland and The Trial of the Chicago 7. But they can’t both be winners, so who did win at the 2021 Golden Globes?
- The Father (Sony Pictures Classics)
- Mank (Netflix)
- Nomadland (Searchlight Pictures)
- Promising Young Woman (Focus Features)
- The Trial of the CHICAGO 7 (Netflix)
This is great. If you haven’t seen Nomadland yet, make sure you do so as soon as you can.
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
For some reason, Hamilton is in this category, even though it was a recorded production of a stage production, which they filmed in 2016. So, the fact that it is one of the projected winners of the 2021 Golden Globes is a bit strange. Also favored was Borat Subsequent Moviefilm. And considering the fact that they exposed Rudolf Giuliani having no problem sexually assaulting an underage girl, they should probably win. But who did?
- Borat Subsequent Moviefilm (Amazon)
- Hamilton (Disney+)
- Music (Landay Entertainment)
- Palm Springs (Hulu)
- The Prom (Netflix)
This was mostly an obvious win, but Palm Springs would have been a pleasant surprise.
Final Thoughts on the Winners and Losers of the 2021 Golden Globes
The evening was mostly predictable, but what we couldn’t expect was how utterly boring the virtual event would prove to be. There were some highlights, like Sacha Baron Coen calling Rudy Giuliani a rising young star. And there was the hilarious Tracy Morgan “Saol” instead of “Soul” gaff. Oh, and let’s not forget the incredibly moving acceptance speech from Chadwick Boseman’s wife, Simone Ledward Boseman. The real winners of the 2021 Golden Globes, however, is anyone who helped make watching movies at all possible in the past 12 months, regardless of how we watched it.
(featured image: Amazon Studios)
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.