Nominations for the Golden Globe Awards will be announced in two weeks on Dec. 12, four weeks before the trophies are given out on Jan. 8. It's fitting that the Golden Globes is the first major awards show of the calendar year. A new year means out with the old and in with the new, which is basically the Globes' motto.
Unlike the Emmys and Screen Actors Guild Awards, which are creatures of habit, the Globes is obsessed with shiny new toys. If you're a newcomer or a new show, your chances of being nominated and winning a Globe will be the highest they'll ever be and just like life, it's all downhill from there. That's because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association loves being the first to anoint something and dictate the narrative as it were no matter how head-scratching it may be (Mozart of the Jungle, #neverforget). Four of the last six drama series winners were first-year shows, while three of the last six were rookies on the comedy side.
So which freshmen series will the HFPA single out this year? Let's take a look.
1. Stranger Things
Stranger Things is poised to be this year's Mr. Robot: the buzz-y summer hit that makes a splash at the Globes. Mr. Robot nabbed two wins, including drama series. Whether or not Stranger Things snags the gold as well, the Globes isn't going to pass up a chance to do one of its two favorite things: be part of the conversation (the other is to start the conversation). Former Globe champ Winona Ryder and breakout Millie Bobby Brown have the best shots for acting nominations, though the latter would have a tougher road — not because she's a kid but because she's in the catch-all supporting category.
Westworld is not just a regular hot new show; it's a cool hot new show. The futuristic robo-thriller is all the rage right now and unlike Stranger Things, it was airing in the lead-up to the nominations. Its sprawling cast is also full of big names, which the Globes loves and won't hesitate to nominate Anthony Hopkins, who is 0-6 at the Globes (he did receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award in 2006). Assuming Game of Thrones retains its spot in the lineup, this would be the first time in four years that HBO fielded two nominees for drama series.
Donald Glover's acutely observed series is one of the best and most talked-about shows of the year, so again, the HFPA is going to want to get in on that. Atlanta would also be the first FX show to break into the Globes comedy series race (The Shield won on the drama side 14 years ago). And don't be surprised if Glover takes the comedy actor prize, where four of the past five winners were on first-year shows.
4. The Crown
This checks all the Globe boxes: pretty, prestige period piece with powerhouse performances about a famous foreign monarchy. It's almost like the show was made for the Globes. The Crown ought to capitalize on the end of Downton Abbey, which wasn't even nominated last year (like at the Emmys, Downton won the miniseries Globe, but never won in drama after switching genres), and will likely also net nods for stars Claire Foy and John Lithgow. A win would finally get Netflix onto the Globe stage. Despite being the first streaming service onto the scene, Netflix has never won a series Globe, while Amazon has won the comedy series Globe the past two years. You know that's sticking in their craw.
Look back at this year's Golden Globes
This is less about the show and more about the person. The Globes adored Sarah Jessica Parker and Sex and the City — she won four trophies and the show pulled off a rare Globes three-peat in comedy series — and this is her big TV comeback. If the HFPA is dying to crown SJP for the fifth time, which would tie her for the record with Carol Burnett in comedy actress, look for the show to be nominated as well. In recent years, many Globe acting winners came from shows that were at least also up for a series award. Of course, SJP is big enough to win this on her name alone.
If the HFPA wants to go for the better new HBO comedy, then Issa Rae's winning quasi-autobiographical series is it. Rae is also well positioned in the comedy actress category, which loves fresh-faced newcomers — she'd be the third such winner in a row after Jane the Virgin's Gina Rodriguez and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Rachel Bloom. Her path would most match that of fellow HBO-mate Lena Dunham, who multi-hyphenated her way to acting and series Globes for Girls' debut season.
7. This Is Us
Unlike at the Emmys, which hasn't had a broadcast show in the drama series race since 2011, broadcast has been represented in the Globes equivalent the past three years (The Good Wife twice, Empire). This Is Us, and its meld of twists and nostalgic zeitgeist, is as close to a network hit these days and surely some HFPA members have been reduced to tears too. Winning, however, is a whole other matter: No network show has won the drama series Globe since Grey's Anatomy 10 years ago.
The Golden Globe nominations will be announced Monday, Dec. 12. The award show airs Sunday, Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on NBC.