PEOPLE's Movie Critic Picks Who Should Win at the Golden Globes

Colin Firth, Natalie Portman, Annette Bening, Paul Giamatti and Amy Adams deserve top honors

Photo: Phil McCarten/Reuters/Landov

I love the Golden Globes. They efficiently toss out statuettes for film and TV in one snappy show, ply celebrities with enough champagne to say silly things on camera, and insist on bringing back Ricky Gervais to host, knowing he’ll say something to tick off somebody important.

So, in the awards-show spirit, let’s get to who ought to win Sunday night.

Best Motion Picture – Drama: The King’s Speech

No question, The Social Network is the movie of the moment. It’s at the top of critics’ lists, and with an amazing script from Aaron Sorkin, kinetic directing from David Fincher, and terrific performances from all the actors, it should be. But call me fusty, I’m sticking with The King’s Speech.

While The Social Network is undoubtedly a movie of the mind, The King’s Speech is richly emotional, the story of a friendship between a king (Colin Firth) and his impertinent speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), and the enduring bond they forged. The film also benefits from having one of those epic backdrops, England on the verge of WWII, that’s tough to fight against. That said, Sunday could be a more Social night.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama: Natalie Portman

I’m not sure Portman can actually win for her role as a fragile dancer in Darren Aronofsky’s tweaked ballet movie, Black Swan, but she should. The movie’s dark themes, campy humor, and bizarre visuals could turn voters away from her gutsy performance. That said, nobody in this category looked like they were having a good time, with death, divorce, and mental illness being the prevailing themes, so there’s still hope.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama: Colin Firth

I hate to say it’s his turn, but you know what? It’s his turn. Firth is brilliant in The King’s Speech, deftly handling the physical challenges of stuttering and the emotional weight of a man stifled all his life, suddenly forced onto the international stage at one of the most critical junctures in modern history. All that, and he’s funny too.

Best Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: The Kid’s Are All Right

With Burlesque, Red, Alice in Wonderland, and The Tourist as its competition, this isn’t a fair fight. Lisa Cholodenko’s wrenching, beautiful movie about a couple (Julianne Moore and Annette Bening) fractured by their kids’ sperm donor (Mark Ruffalo) outclasses the rest of its category, not to mention most of what ended up in the multiplex last year.

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: Annette Bening

You see this coming, don’t you, Bening and Julianne Moore canceling each other out for their nominations in The Kids Are All Right? It bums me out, too. Bening gets the edge from me for the less-showy performance of having to play the one who implodes, and doing it so precisely. So let’s just hope that if the worst happens, and the Kids duo knocks each other out, that Emma Stone’s righteous turn in Easy A saves the category’s dignity.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical: Paul Giamatti

Granted, it was fantastic seeing Kevin Spacey return to form in Casino Jack, but Giamatti did more with a far tougher role. Barney’s Version covers decades in the nearly epic life of a TV impresario who’s accused of murdering his best friend. The too-often overlooked Giamatti deserves the win for managing to deliver a performance that runs the gamut of the operatic highs and lows of a man’s life.

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

Amy Adams

Awards voters love a surprise, and nobody saw Adams coming in her turn as a feisty, tough townie in The Fighter. She deserves it on moxie alone.

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Geoffrey Rush

I adored Andrew Garfield as the emotional center of The Social Network, but he’s got time. Rush turned in the very definition of a supporting performance in The King’s Speech, playing off Colin Firth so gorgeously, you’d swear you were witnessing the birth of their friendship.

Best Director – Motion Picture: Christopher Nolan

Without 127 Hours‘ Danny Boyle or the Coen brothers (True Grit) in the category, I’m torn. The Social Network and The King’s Speech are both brilliant films, but I have to give the edge to Nolan (Inception) for putting out a movie that’s incredibly complicated, but keeps the viewer securely situated in the action at all times. Plus, there’s something to be said for a film that delivers richer understanding on each subsequent viewing.

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture: Aaron Sorkin

This one’s not even arguable, in my mind. Sorkin’s script for The Social Network is funny, fast, and forces viewers to pay attention. The lines are eminently quotable, and the characters sketched to perfection with a few key phrases. The kudos should be his.

So that’s it for my take. What do you think? Will Natalie Portman outshine Nicole Kidman? Will it be a good night for old-school The King’s Speech, or the new kids’ The Social Network? Why did True Grit get snubbed? Weigh in!

The 68th Annual Golden Globe Awards will air live Sunday on NBC at 8 p.m. ET from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills.

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