2018 Golden Globes: 5 surprises to watch for on Sunday include upsets by Christopher Plummer, Allison Janney

The Golden Globe show is notorious for its jaw-droppers. Remember 1992’s “Scent of a Woman” stealing away the Best Drama prize from frontrunners “Howards End” and “Unforgiven?” Or how about Jim Carrey walking away with the Best Drama Actor award for 1998’s “The Truman Show?”  And what about Kate Winslet pulling a double whammy nine years ago, winning Best Drama Actress for “Revolutionary Road” just hours after accepting Supporting Actress honors for “The Reader?”

It’s clear that the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (HFPA) loves to throw in some surprises  to its annual awards fest. Unless the group has made a New Year’s resolution to be completely and utterly predictable, we should expect at least few shockeroos at the upcoming 75th annual Golden Globes.

Here are five potential upsets to watch out for on Sunday night.

Best Supporting Actor: Christopher Plummer (“All the Money in the World”)
Looking at the current Gold Derby odds, critics’ darling Willem Dafoe is projected to pluck the prize for “The Florida Project.” But love from the likes of the New York and Los Angeles film reviewers hardly guarantees Golden Globe success. (Just look at Mahershala Ali in last year’s “Moonlight,” who missed this stop on the Oscar express.) Dafoe’s hardiest foe is possibly Plummer, whose portrayal of J. Paul Getty in the true-story film has earned glowing notices. The drama behind the actor’s casting only adds to the intrigue. The HFPA clearly likes “Money,” having saved room to nominate Ridley Scott for Best Director and Michelle Williams for Best Drama Actress. I wouldn’t bet all the money in the world on it, but do think that the one-time Captain von Trapp might trap the trophy. (Even sweeter than the sound of music.)

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Best Supporting Actress: Allison Janney (“I, Tonya”)
Many consider Laurie Metcalf in “Lady Bird” to be a lock in this category. But I caution everyone to keep a close eye on Janney. Her monstrous mother is even more memorable than Metcalf’s. The former “West Wing” wingwoman and current “Mom” mom may have a total of seven sensational Emmys, but she’s suffered through five Golden Globe defeats. Might the HFPA feel that she’s finally due? Furthermore, just how much luck will “Lady” be to Metcalf? It seems destined to fly away with Best Comedy/Musical plus a prize for lead Saiorse Ronan. If voters wish to spread the wealth, they may say “aye” to Allison in “I, Tonya.”

Best Animated Film: “The Breadwinner”
Since the inception of this category back in 2006, the Globes have played it surprisingly safe. Early honorees like “Ratatouille,” “WALL-E,” and “Up” all ended up acquiring the Academy Award, as have recent recipients “Frozen,” “Inside Out” and “Zootopia.” That would suggest an easy victory for current contender “Coco.” However, I’m sensing that this year will be different, and that the HFPA will throw out a curveball. There’s no better candidate than “The Breadwinner.” The beautifully designed feature is set in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, focusing on a young girl trying to support her family after her father’s arrest. The international allure and timely political themes will surely be catnip to the globally minded Globe voters. The fact that three-time Golden Globe champ Angelina Jolie is credited as an executive producer can’t hurt, either. Unless members go cuckoo for “Coco,” “The Breadwinner” could win this bake off.

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Best Original Score: “Phantom Thread”
This is always a difficult contest to call, as you never know if the HFPA will go classical (“The Theory of Everything”) or contemporary (“The Social Network.”) This year it’s especially tricky, with previous winners Alexandre Desplat (“The Shape of Water,”) John Williams (“The Post”) and Hans Zimmer (“Dunkirk”) all vying for another piece of gold. But the most enticing choice might actually be first-timer Jonny Greenwood’s captivating music in “Phantom Thread.” It’s been singled out in many of the film’s reviews, and it truly does underscore the story. Greenwood’s membership in the hip band Radiohead only adds to the appeal. “Phantom” is the sole nominee in the field not up for the top award, but it threatens to score here.

Best Original Song: “Mighty River” (“Mudbound”)
Yet another category where the HFPA likes to play with us. Many of their past selections have failed to advance to the Oscars. So how do we know which tune to tap? History suggests that giant musical artists usually have the edge. (See wins by U2, Madonna and Bruce Springsteen all within the last decade.) That could be good news for Mariah Carey for “The Star” (from the film of the same name). Or Nick Jonas could take it home for “Home” (from “Ferdinand.”) My guess? With a total of three animated flicks represented (remember “Remember Me” from “Coco,”) they’re bound to split the vote. That means “Mudbound” and its “Mighty River” might pull off a mighty big upset. It would serve as a chance to recognize co-lyricist Mary J. Blige, also included in the Best Supporting Actress lineup. With a victory there highly unlikely, Globe voters may feel obliged to go with Blige for Original Song. All hail Mary, indeed.

Be sure to make your Golden Globe predictions so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until just before winners are announced on January 7. And join in the fierce debate over the 2018 Golden Globes taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our TV forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.

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