Trying to predict the whims of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, who votes for the Golden Globes, is often as fruitless as trying to predict which way a hurricane will blow. The cabal of international journalists is notoriously eclectic in their choices — and its membership doesn't overlap at all with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes for the Oscars, so trying to read too much into their thinking can be an exercise in futility. But one thing is pretty much certain this year: FX's Fargo is going to be a major player at the Golden Globes... and it deserves to take home top honors.
At last year's 72nd annual Golden Globes, the first season of Fargo earned five nominations and took home two trophies — a feat it could very easily repeat this year. The fact that Fargo is an anthology series makes this feat even more impressive: it doesn't have a consistent stable of performers to rely on for repeat nominations like Downton Abbey or House Of Cards; and given its vary nature, even the quality of the series itself could vary wildly from season-to-season. (See: True Detective.) The fact that it didn't — and that the show has arguably been even stronger this year than the last — bodes well for its chances with the HFPA.
Here are the most likely nominations Fargo will receive at the Golden Globes and their chances of taking home each award.
Best Limited Series
A nomination for Best Limited Series or TV Movie is as close to a shoo-in as there can ever be at this type of event. It won the category last year, over the equally buzzy first season of True Detective, as well as two other acclaimed HBO properties: the miniseries Olive Kitteridge and the TV movie The Normal Heart. This year, Fargo will be going up against another HBO miniseries, Show Me A Hero, but otherwise the competition is more relatively muted with shows like the fifth season of American Horror Story and the low-rated ABC drama American Crime in the mix.
Honestly, if Fargo could win against that stacked deck last year, there's no reason it won't achieve a repeat win this year.
Last year, Fargo had two horses in this race: both Billy Bob Thornton as malevolent Lorne Malvo and Martin Freeman as bumbling Lester Nygaard. They were squaring off against True Detective's two high-profile stars, Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson, as well as Mark Ruffalo's fiery turn in The Normal Heart. But Thornton was the one who emerged victorious.
Wilson is all but guaranteed a slot here, although his chances of taking home the trophy are somewhat less than Thornton's were. As terrific as Wilson's performance has been, his character isn't nearly as flashy as Lorne or Lester — his Lou Solverson is pretty much the lone straight man in a sea of colorful characters. Oscar Isaac's tragic downward spiral in Show Me A Hero is much more the stuff of traditional awards material.
It was Allison Tolman's pregnant cop Molly Solverson who landed in this category last year alongside Olive Kitteridge's Frances McDormand and AHS's Jessica Lange (although they were all upset by Maggie Gyllenhaal for The Honorable Woman). This year, it's Dunst who will stand in as Fargo's lead actress — and she deserves to win for her portrayal of unstable beautician Peggy Blumquist. But will she?
Like her co-star Wilson, Dunst's biggest competition will come from the star of an HBO property: Queen Latifah in the biopic Bessie. It will likely be a dead heat between these two powerhouse performances – although I would give the edge to Dunst for not only delivering a career-best performance, but also because her show will likely beat Latifah's. Appearing in a category-winning film or series can't help but give you a little boost.
Best Supporting Actor
Colin Hanks deservedly earned a slot in this race last year for playing Officer Gus Grimly, although the category was (rightfully) won by Matt Bomer for his heartbreaking turn in The Normal Heart. Another Minnesota cop will likely take his place this time around: Ted Danson as seasoned veteran Hank Larsson. The actor is a favorite of the Golden Globes, having been nominated multiple times for the likes of Cheers and Damages and has already been given three trophies by the HFPA.
However, when it comes to winning, Danson has somewhat the same problem as Wilson: his character is somewhat muted when contrasted against the likes of Jeffrey Donovan's Dodd Gerhardt and Bokeem Woodbine's Mike Milligan. And then there's the fact that all supporting performances on television compete in the same category at the Golden Globes — from Dramas, Comedies, and Limited Series — which means Danson will be facing stiff competition from performances as varied as Peter Dinklage on Game Of Thrones and Tituss Burgess on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Best Supporting Actress
The one category in which Fargo wasn't represented last year has one of Fargo's strongest contenders this year. As the matriarch of a North Dakota crime syndicate, Smart should be a force to be reckoned with in this category — just like her portrayal of Floyd Gerhardt.
A win here is perhaps the biggest toss-up of all the Fargo races. Like Danson, Smart is a well-respected veteran of the industry and is delivering a towering performance in a traditionally male-dominated genre. But was her steely performance flashy enough to seize the gold from Game Of Thrones' Lena Headey or awards favorite Uzo Aduba of Orange Is The New Black?
With those four acting nominations all but guaranteed, that leaves Jesse Plemons as the only Season 2 series regular left out. While his performance as Ed the butcher has been as stolid and dependable as the character himself, it likely won't be enough to squeeze him into an already-overcrowded Supporting Actor race alongside co-star Danson. But there is precedent for two Fargo nominations in the same category, so don't count him out completely.
Find out how many nominations Fargo earns when they're announced Thursday morning... then tune into the Golden Globes on Jan. 10, 2016, to watch its inevitable victory.
Images: Chris Large/FX (5)