Despite bold statements every year about who is campaigning in which Golden Globe category, the news is usually fluid so don't get too attached to anything you hear. Awards strategists are free to change their mind. As it stands now, August: Osage County and Before Midnight are planning Comedy campaigns and Blue Jasmine is aiming for drama. Curious, right? Dark laughs are flexible, don'cha know, and they can find traction in either category. We here at The Film Experience have long mourned the death of the Comedy or Musical category in the way we also mourn the death of the Supporting Oscar categories in that they too rarely serve their original purposes: which was to honor achievements that would otherwise be overlooked in the annual awards-focus on prestige drama and movie stars, respectively. It says a lot about the Comedy Acting categories for example that you can only make room for actual comedic triumphs IF a prestige drama with a few laughs or songs opts out.
BEST ACTRESS, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
The two most likely to succeed players IF they're deemed comedies though some feel they won't be are Emma Thompson and Dame Judi Dench for Saving Mr Banks and Philomena respectively. Regardless, I think you can ink in Julia Louis Dreyfus for Enough Said, the year's most acclaimed romcom. If August's current campaign plans hold, you might see Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep taking up the entire rest of the category for their bitter duel! Why Julia? Well, supporting campaigns sometimes get promoted in this category if its a movie star who is actually a lead (see Catherine Zeta Jones nom for Chicago) and nobody thinks of megawatt Julia as a supporting player. But if you account for all five of those women (which you might not need to given rumored drama campaigns for Philomena & Saving Mr Banks -- which are the type of properties that could easily swing either way) there's no room left! Speaking of category confusion... if it's not Julia, the Globes could go with another actress they've been known to love with abandon. Remember that weirdass nomination for Scarlett Johansson for A Love Song For Bobby Long in 2004? (It's okay. nobody else does either) She could surprise here given that revelatory comic sparkle in Don Jon. And that would not be an unworthy call.
Potential Spoilers: If they're willing to lean pure comedy they've got a ready made nominee set in Sandra Bullock & Melissa McCarthy from The Heat but it's tough to say which of those two might win favor since the HFPA often ignores pure laffers when sorta-funny dramas are around and votes could easily split anyway. McCarthy has the reviews and that new stardom (with two big hits in 2013) but Bullock has the Gravity and is arguably the biggest star of all at this moment. Plus, you know how they love double dipping! Greta Gerwig's Frances Ha or Julie Delpy's Before Midnight would be a really smart worthy choices but neither seem like the type of actor that the magpie-like HFPA, always looking for super-shiney-famous, would lock right up for a nomination. Paulina Garcia in Gloria, should the film win a qualifying run, would be another brilliant choice but it seems so unlikely given all of the beloved big names in the mix.
Am I missing any possibilities?
BEST ACTOR, COMEDY OR MUSICAL
There might be no beating Bruce Dern for Nebraska unless the Golden Globes are itching for a major movie star to reward instead of someone who has paid his dues. The only other sure thing is, I'm guessing, Oscar Isaac in Inside Llewyn Davis since he covers the "musical" part and the film, if not Isaac, is really funny at times -- it was directed by the Joel and Ethan Coen after all. Will Her end be declared a comedy despite its melancholy? If so then Joaquin Phoenix for sure.
But who else? Will Will Forte join Dern for a double Nebraska nod with the dearth of possibilities or might James Gandolfini win posthumous favor for Enough Said? Will they take Ethan Hawke for Before Midnight? There's also Joseph Gordon Levitt in Don Jon, Ben Stiller in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty? Will Ferrell in Anchorman 2? Robert Downey Jr in Iron Man 3 or Johnny Depp in The Lone Ranger (hey they'll nominate mega-stars for anything)
Will they fill up the film category with only potential Oscar BPs: August: Osage County, Nebraska, or the either/or category types like Her, Before Midnight, Philomena and Saving Mr Banks. Or will they throw some thankyoufortheLOLs and songs honors to more straightforward comedies Anchorman 2, The Heat, Don Jon, This is the End, or At World's End and the two musicals Inside Llewyn Davis & Black Nativity. You never know how they'll swing in this category because they also might opt for charmers like Frances Ha (shut up I can dream), Enough Said, About Time or The Way Way Back.
Alternately they could always pull a Tourist like head-scratchers and go with something unacceptable (categorically) or critically planned like Oz the Great and Powerful, Red 2, The Family or The Lone Ranger!
What does your crystal ball tell you?