The Golden Globes are unique among film awards in that they divide Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress into separate races for dramas and for comedies/musicals. That gives Oscar hopefuls two chances to prevail on the road to Oscar. It also gives the Golden Globes two chances to anoint the eventual Oscar champs in top categories and establish themselves as a necessary stop on the awards campaign trail.
According to the combined predictions of Expert film journalists we've polled, along with Gold Derby Editors who cover awards year-round, the Top 24 Users who got the top scores predicting last year's Golden Globe nominations and the more than 1000 total Users who make up the largest (and often savviest) bloc of predictors, the sci-fi adventure "The Martian" is in first place to win Best Comedy/Musical Picture with leading 19/10 odds.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association approved 20th Century Fox's decision to enter "The Martian" in the comedy races, and it looks like that decision will pay off, but Fox has another film in the running: "Joy," which ranks second with 4/1 odds. It's directed by David O. Russell and stars Jennifer Lawrence, just like "American Hustle," which won this award in 2013.
Close behind with 5/1 odds is Judd Apatow's "Trainwreck" written by and starring breakout star Amy Schumer. Despite the popularity and acclaim of his previous films like "The 40-Year-Old Virgin" and "Knocked Up," no Apatow film has yet been nominated at the Globes.
"Martian" star Matt Damon is expected to join his film in the winner's circle. He leads the Best Comedy/Musical Actor race with 8/5 odds. It would be the first acting win for Damon at the Globes; he previously won Best Screenplay with Ben Affleck for "Good Will Hunting" but he lost all five of his previous acting noms.
Close behind with 9/2 odds is Steve Carell ("The Big Short"). Carell has seven previous Globe nominations, but most of them are for TV. He earned six straight nominations for Best TV Comedy/Musical Actor for "The Office" (2006-2011), winning on his first try in 2006. He was also nominated last year for Best Film Drama Actor for "Foxcatcher."
Other top contenders for Best Comedy/Musical Actor: Bill Hader ("Trainwreck") is third with 8/1 odds, Bradley Cooper ("Burnt") is in fourth place with 10/1 odds, and Robert De Niro ("The Intern") is fifth with 12/1 odds. SEE MORE
"Joy" star Jennifer Lawrence is out front to win Best Comedy/Musical Actress with 23/10 odds. She's on a hot streak at the Globes, winning two of her three previous nominations: Best Comedy/Musical Actress for "Silver Linings Playbook" (2012) and Best Film Supporting Actress for "American Hustle" (2013).
She'll have to get past beloved veteran Lily Tomlin ("Grandma"), who is close behind with 7/2 odds. Tomlin previously won a special Globe with the ensemble cast of "Short Cuts" in 1993. Before that she earned five acting nominations, but she has yet to win individual acting honors.
"Trainwreck" star Schumer is also a formidable opponent, ranking third with 4/1 odds. The breakthrough comedian has never been nominated at the Globes before, but the Hollywood Foreign Press might jump at the chance to recognize one of the biggest new stars in comedy.
Other top contenders for Best Comedy/Musical Actress: Maggie Smith ("The Lady in the Van") is in fourth place with 8/1 odds, and eight-time champ Meryl Streep ("Ricki and the Flash") is fifth with 16/1 odds. SEE MORE
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"The Martian" photo credit: Moviestore/REX
"Joy" photo credit: 20th Century Fox