Matt Pais, @mattpais
RedEye movie critic
January 8, 2014
Reminder: The Golden Globes are not an actual predictor of the Academy Awards. They may share winners, but the voting bodies are completely different, as the Globes are chosen by the secret society that is the Hollywood Foreign Press.
Still, Sunday's show is hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, and most of the big awards contenders are nominated -- with several comedies categorized as dramas and vice-versa, sigh -- so it's worth acknowledging who actually deserves to win (rather than just predicting the often-predictable winners). And who's just nominated because her name is Meryl Streep.
Best Picture, drama
Deserves it: "12 Years a Slave." Brilliant, unflinching.
Runner-up: "Captain Phillips." Exciting, suspenseful.
Better not win: The forgotten "Rush" and overrated, terribly written "Gravity." Also nominated: the good, not great "Philomena."
Snubbed: "Spring Breakers." The only people who don't take it seriously haven't seen it. Surprising and complex.
Best Actress, drama
Deserves it: Judi Dench, "Philomena." The best of the bunch.
Runner-up: Cate Blanchett, "Blue Jasmine." A very good take on a familiar character.
Better not win: Sandra Bullock, "Gravity." Can't make that script work. Also nominated: Emma Thompson, zesty in "Saving Mr. Banks"; Kate Winslet in the as-yet-unseen "Labor Day."
Snubbed: Adele Exarchapoulos, "Blue is the Warmest Color"; Brie Larson, "Short Term 12." The year's two best female performances.
Best Actor, drama
Deserves it: Chiwetel Ejiofor, "12 Years a Slave." Searing, unforgettable.
Runners-up: Tom Hanks, "Captain Phillips"; Matthew McConaughey, "Dallas Buyers Club." Both deserving of wins if not for Ejiofor.
Better not win: Robert Redford's too Redford-y part in "All is Lost"; Idris Elba, pretty good in the not-good "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
Snubbed: Jonathan Groff in the little-seen "C.O.G."
Best Picture, comedy or musical
Deserves it: "Her." Lovely, sad, meaningful. (More of a drama though.)
Runner-up: "Inside Llewyn Davis." Great songs, vintage Coens.
Better not win: The derivative, choppy "American Hustle" and funny, shallow "The Wolf of Wall Street." Also nominated: Well-acted "Nebraska."
Snubbed: Noah Baumbach's smart, quotable "Frances Ha."
Best Actress, comedy or musical
Deserves it: Amy Adams, "American Hustle"; Greta Gerwig, "Frances Ha"; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, "Enough Said." They were all perfect. Don't make me choose.
Runner-up: Julie Delpy, "Before Midnight." A convincing bickerer (to say the least).
Better not win: Meryl Streep, "August: Osage County." Doesn't need to be nominated for everything!
Snubbed: Olivia Wilde's stellar work in "Drinking Buddies."
Best Actor, comedy or musical
Deserves it: Oscar Isaac, "Inside Llewyn Davis." Subtle, unsentimental, memorable.
Runners-up: Bruce Dern's rough edges in "Nebraska" and Joaquin Phoenix's lonely heart in "Her."
Better not win: Christian Bale, uncharacteristically uncertain in "American Hustle" and Leonardo DiCaprio, amusing but loud in "The Wolf of Wall Street."
Snubbed: Simon Pegg, "The World's End." Hilarious but also deceptively raw.
Best Supporting Actress
Deserves it: Jennifer Lawrence, "American Hustle." Steals the movie.
Runners-up: Lupita Nyong'o's breakout turn in "12 Years a Slave" and June Squibb's tart mom in "Nebraska."
Better not win: Julia Roberts, "August: Osage County." Nominated only because of who she is. Also nominated: Sally Walkins, good in "Blue Jasmine."
Snubbed: Scarlett Johansson creating a full person with her voice in a computer in "Her"; Lea Seydoux's daring, layered performance in "Blue is the Warmest Color"
Best Supporting Actor
Deserves it: Michael Fassbender, "12 Years a Slave." Terrifying but never cartoonish or easily dismissed.
Runner-up: Barkhad Abdi's strong debut in "Captain Phillips"; Jared Leto's excellent work with a less-than-fully-developed character in "Dallas Buyers Club"
Better not win: Daniel Bruhl in the absurdly included "Rush"; Bradley Cooper without a ton to work with in "American Hustle"
Snubbed: James Franco's performance for the ages in "Spring Breakers"; James Gandolfini's tender turn in "Enough Said."
Deserves it: Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave." A fantastic achievement that's also a great movie.
Runner-up: Alfonso Cuaron, who deserves praise for executing "Gravity" but not the overall directing job; Paul Greengrass' remarkably tense "Captain Phillips"
Better not win: David O. Russell biting other filmmakers with "American Hustle." Also nominated: Alexander Payne, "Nebraska."
Snubbed: Spike Jonze's intoxicating "Her"; Joel and Ethan Coen's timeless "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Deserves it: Spike Jonze, "Her." Gives the clichÈ about our lack of connection new life.
Runner-up: John Ridley, "12 Years a Slave." A very well-written movie, but that's not its greatest strength.
Better not win: Eric Warren Singer and David O. Russell for the voiceover-heavy "American Hustle." Also nominated: Bob Nelson's not-especially-funny "Nebraska" and Jeff Pope & Steve Coogan's nice "Philomena."
Snubbed: Joel and Ethan Coen, "Inside Llewyn Davis." The movie's quality doesn't just come from the music and acting.
Watch Matt on “You & Me This Morning,” Friday at 6:55 a.m. on WCIU, the U
Want more? Discuss this article and others on RedEye's Facebook page.
Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC