Golden Globe Predictions: Our Money's On Heath Ledger, Brad Pitt To Come Out On Top

Here are our early choices for the key movie categories.

The polite thing to say is that it's nice just to be nominated. Courteous actors point out the impressive work of their co-nominees. To hear them say it, simply being invited to the Golden Globes is a tribute in and of itself.

Screw that.

With Thursday morning's announcement of the 6th Annual Golden Globes nominations, the awards-season race has officially begun. And as great as it is to imagine such diverse, talented stars crowding onto red carpets for the next several weeks, the fact is, each category only gets one winner.

With that in mind, the MTV Movies team is setting aside courtesies for a moment and cutting to the chase, with our early choices for the Globe winner in each of the key movie categories:

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Drama

The Winner: [movieperson id="50260"]Brad Pitt[/movieperson] ([movie id="280659"]"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"[/movie])

The Losers: [movieperson id="16710"]Leonardo DiCaprio[/movieperson] ([movieperson id="345049"]"Revolutionary Road"[/movieperson]), Frank Langella ([movie id="324234"]"Frost/Nixon"[/movie]), [movieperson id="93819"]Sean Penn[/movieperson] ([movie id="374161"]"Milk"[/movie]), Mickey Rourke ([movie id="371022"]"The Wrestler"[/movie])

Why: More so than even the Oscars, Globe voters love a movie star. Pitt's been around a long time, has never won a Globe, and is starring in the most easily digestible awards-bait film of his career.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama

The Winner: [movieperson id="257378"]Anne Hathaway[/movieperson] ([movie id="360881"]"Rachel Getting Married"[/movie])

The Losers: [movieperson id="31834"]Angelina Jolie[/movieperson] ([movie id="408543"]"Changeling"[/movie]), [movieperson id="60497"]Meryl Streep[/movieperson] ([movie id="345180"]"Doubt"[/movie]), Kristin Scott-Thomas ("I've Loved You So Long"), [movieperson id="166088"]Kate Winslet[/movieperson] ("Revolutionary Road")

Why: Beautiful, wise and regal beyond her years, Hathaway has finally made a movie that lives up to her longtime hype as the next Streep, Glenn Close or Julie Andrews. Look for this former "Princess Diaries" star to be coronated as the new Queen of Hollywood on January 11.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

The Winner: [movieperson id="83522"]Dustin Hoffman[/movieperson] ([movie id="350092"]"Last Chance Harvey"[/movie])

The Losers: [movieperson id="3460"]Javier Bardem[/movieperson] ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), [movieperson id="20078"]Colin Farrell[/movieperson] ([movie id="334405"]"In Bruges"[/movie]), [movieperson id="264077"]James Franco[/movieperson] ("Pineapple Express"), Brendan Gleeson ("In Bruges")

Why: We enjoyed "Pineapple" and "In Bruges" as much as anybody, but neither left you walking out of the theater thinking, "That deserves an award!" Factor in Bardem's awards-season dominance just 12 months ago, and this becomes a simple process-of-elimination category. Look for the legendary Hoffman to take home a well-deserved statue here.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

The Winner: Meryl Streep ("Mamma Mia!")

The Losers: Rebecca Hall ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), Sally Hawkins ("Happy-Go-Lucky"), Frances McDormand ("Burn After Reading"), Emma Thompson ("Last Chance Harvey")

Why: First off, you (yes, you!) have a better chance of winning this category than McDormand for "Reading." Secondly, the Globes love Meryl Streep like McAdams loves Gosling. You'd have to be crazy to bet against the veteran taking home her seventh Globe, and this seems like a fair consolation prize if Hathaway wins for Drama.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

The Winner: Kate Winslet ("The Reader")

The Losers: Amy Adams ("Doubt"), Penélope Cruz ("Vicky Cristina Barcelona"), Viola Davis ("Doubt"), Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler")

Why: Quite simply, Winslet is due. The two nominees from "Doubt" cancel each other out, and "The Wrestler" was a showcase for Mickey Rourke, not Tomei. Cruz seems likely to lose it in a squeaker, if only because some of us still remember "Captain Corelli's Mandolin."

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture

The Winner: [movieperson id="233661"]Heath Ledger[/movieperson] ("The Dark Knight")

The Losers: [movieperson id="76079"]Tom Cruise[/movieperson] ("Tropic Thunder"), [movieperson id="17609"]Robert Downey Jr.[/movieperson] ("Tropic Thunder"), Ralph Fiennes ("The Duchess"), Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Doubt")

Why: One of the most polarizing films of 2008, "Tropic Thunder" had just as many people who hated it as loved it. Ledger gave one of the all-time great performances, and his tragic death is powerful enough to overcome the usual comic book-movie awards stigma. Even the great Philip Seymour Hoffman won't be able to hold off Gotham's grinning madman.

Best Director - Motion Picture

The Winner: Danny Boyle ("Slumdog Millionaire")

The Losers: Stephen Daldry ("The Reader"), David Fincher ("The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"), Ron Howard ("Frost/Nixon"), Sam Mendes ("Revolutionary Road")

Why: Anyone who has seen Boyle's "Slumdog" knows exactly why. The film seems most likely to get left out of other key categories as awards season moves forward, so expect his impressive skills behind the camera to earn a consolation prize.

Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy

The Winner: "Vicky Cristina Barcelona"

The Losers: "Burn After Reading," "Happy-Go-Lucky," "In Bruges," "Mamma Mia!"

Why: Once again, this is mostly process of elimination. Woody Allen's film has the best combination of pedigree, stars and awards-worthy material.

Best Motion Picture - Drama

The Winner: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

The Losers: "Frost/Nixon," "The Reader," "Revolutionary Road," "Slumdog Millionaire"

Why: The most epic film of the year is also the most old-fashioned, two qualities Globe voters love. Add in the star wattage, and this is one "Button" that seems quite secure.

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