You can safely predict the following about Sunday’s (Jan. 11) Golden Globe Awards: Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be funny; at least one winner will be a little tipsy for his or her acceptance speech; and there will be a couple of surprise winners.
Because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is a small and, let’s say, idiosyncratic group, it can produce some rather confounding choices at the Globes. History tells us that the HFPA likes big stars and new shows, so that can help if you’re taking part in a betting pool. If you’re looking for a few upset picks in the TV categories, these might help you score a few extra points.
Best TV Series – Drama
The favorite: “House of Cards,” which has star power and a big campaign behind it but whose second season was just not very good.
The dark horse: “The Affair.” Of the five nominees, “The Good Wife” is probably the most deserving of a victory. But seeing as the Hollywood Foreign Press almost completely shunned network TV in the nominations (only seven of the 55 TV nominees are from broadcast shows), the shiny new “Affair” could sneak in for a win.
Best Actor in a TV Series – Comedy
The favorite: Jeffrey Tambor, “Transparent.” He gives an amazing performance in the Amazon series and is the front-runner for a reason. But you never know …
The dark horse: Ricky Gervais, “Derek.” He’s a past winner (and former three-time host), and he’s said he’s not planning to make another season of “Derek.” The HFPA could conceivably honor him while it has a chance.
Best Limited Series or TV Movie
The favorite: “True Detective.” After competing as a drama series at the Emmys (and mostly losing out to “Breaking Bad”), the HBO show could be the beneficiary of the HFPA wanting to reward one of the most discussed series of 2014. Plus, “Fargo” already cleaned up at the Emmys.
The dark horse: “The Missing.” Its international pedigree and very strong critical reception could give it a boost.
Best Supporting Actor – TV
The favorite: Bill Murray, “Olive Kitteridge.” Because he’s Bill Murray, and because he was very good in HBO’s miniseries.
The dark horse: Matt Bomer, “The Normal Heart.” The HBO film’s actors were shut out at the Emmys, but Bomer’s touching performance could help him break through here.
Best Actress in a TV Series – Comedy
The favorite AND the dark horse: Gina Rodriguez, “Jane the Virgin.” How could she be both at once? Well, she’s widely considered the frontrunner for her utterly winning performance as Jane. But she and the show also scored The CW’s first-ever nominations, which means even if she wins it would feel like a (very sweet) upset.
The Golden Globes air live at 8 p.m. ET/5 PT Sunday on NBC.