Golden Globe Predictions: ‘Inception,’ Natalie Portman And More Locks

Aside from the nomination front-runners, we also guess the hopefuls and long shots.

Awards season has been chugging along for weeks, with little-known critics groups and associations doling out awards and nominations. But unless you’ve been seeking out the Southeast Film Critics’ picks or paying attention to what the Broadcast Film Critics have to say, you haven’t yet dialed into what’s going on in Hollywood.

That’s about to change, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announces its nominations for the 68th annual Golden Globes on Tuesday morning. Which films and actors are locks, which are hoping to be included, and which have no shot at all but really should? Check out some of MTV News’ picks.

Best Motion Picture – Drama
Locks: The HFPA got it right a few years ago when it nominated “The Dark Knight.” So make no mistake: “Inception” is a lock this year. “The King’s Speech” and “True Grit” were born for awards season and will be justly rewarded.

Hopefuls: Is “The Fighter” a good movie or just an average one that showcases spectacular performances? No one seems to agree on this one, so its shot for a Best Picture nod remains unclear. Ditto for the super-depressing “Winter’s Bone.”

But Don’t Forget About: “The Town”! Why? We explain more below, but suffice to say, Ben Affleck’s sophomore effort should at least still be a contender.

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Locks: Mark it down now: “Toy Story 3″ and “The Kids Are All Right” will rise to the top. The rest of the category is wide open.

Hopefuls: HFPA could follow the will of the people and support the billion-dollar-grossing “Alice in Wonderland.” And the polarizing “Burlesque” is just the sort of flick that always gets a Globe smooch, even though it tanked at the box office. Other high-grossing animated fare like “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Despicable Me” could sneak in. Oh, and if “Love & Other Drugs” gets a nod? We quit.

But Don’t Forget About: “Easy A,” “Cyrus” and “Get Him to the Greek” were three of the funniest comedies of the year. Will they be recognized? Almost certainly not. And that makes us sad.

Best Director – Motion Picture
Locks: Guys like David Fincher (“The Social Network”), Christopher Nolan (“Inception”) and Danny Boyle (“127 Hours”) need hardly wake up early to find out if they’ve gotten nominations. Sleep in, gentlemen, your nods are guaranteed.

Hopefuls: “Black Swan” has been tearing it up in limited release and is a front-runner for Best Picture and Actress nods, yet director Darren Aronofsky hasn’t been able to make himself into an awards-season sure thing. He deserves to be. Also, never discount the allure of perennial contenders Joel and Ethan Cohen (“True Grit”).

But Don’t Forget About: If “Shutter Island” had come out in October 2009, Martin Scorsese would surely be part of this year’s awards-season chatter. But Paramount shifted the release to February of this year, and while that turned out to be a savvy business move ($294.8 million at the worldwide box office), it seriously damaged the twisty psychological drama’s chances for Oscar and Globe glory. Scorsese deserves some props.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Locks: This category is chock-full of locks, including Natalie Portman (“Black Swan”), Jennifer Lawrence (the little-seen “Winter’s Bone”), Nicole Kidman (“Rabbit Hole”) and Michelle Williams (“Blue Valentine”). All of them richly deserve the honor.

Hopefuls: Don’t discount the chances that Tilda Swinton, based on her performance in the blink-and-you-missed-it “I Am Love,” will get a nomination, if only because the HFPA love this sort of film.

But Don’t Forget About: “The Town” was one of our favorite films of the fall, and its strongest performance was delivered by Rebecca Hall. The film was buzzy during the early festival circuit, but the chatter has since quieted. Hall shouldn’t be forgotten.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Locks: A few weeks ago, we would have said this is a two-man race between Colin Firth (“The King’s Speech”) and James Franco (“127 Hours”). But “The Social Network” is rising with critics groups, along with Jesse Eisenberg’s chance to win. All three are sure to get nominations.

Hopefuls: We’ve been pulling for Robert Duvall in “Get Low” since checking out the film at Sundance. He needs to be recognized. And will the ratings controversy on “Blue Valentine” help or hurt Ryan Gosling?

But Don’t Forget About: We dig “Shutter Island,” right? Come on, guys, show Leonardo DiCaprio some love.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Locks: Annette Bening in “The Kids Are All Right” is the true lock here. Will Julianne Moore’s chances, based on the same movie, be helped or hurt by Bening’s front-runner status?

Hopefuls: Pardon us if we’re beginning to repeat ourselves, but if Anne Hathaway gets a nod for “Love & Other Drugs,” we quit.

But Don’t Forget About: Tina Fey is having a heck of a year, and we wouldn’t be surprised — nor would we complain — if she gets a nod for “Date Night.” Though we’d be shocked to hear Emma Stone’s name called for “Easy A,” we’d applaud the decision.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical
Locks: This is a strange category in 2010 with no clear locks.

Hopefuls: Will a nod go to Jake Gyllenhaal for “Love & Other Drugs”? Does Tom Hanks get recognized for “Toy Story 3″? Perhaps Jim Carrey gets tapped for his risky turn in “I Love You Phillip Morris.” And we have a strange feeling Kevin Spacey is going to sneak in for “Casino Jack.”

But Don’t Forget About: Ben Stiller turned an unlikeable character in “Greenberg” into someone you somehow root for. He toned down his antic comedy instincts and delivered his most-truthful performance to date.

Who are your Golden Globe front-runners? Share your picks in the comments!

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