Who Will Win the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Film? A Look Back at History Helps Predict the Winner

By now, you're probably scrambling to complete your ballot for this year's Golden Globe Awards pool. Sure, sure, it's not nearly as exciting as betting on the Oscars, but it's at least good practice for that looming February ceremony. (Might as well get all your bad instincts out of the way here, while you still can.) But just in case you take the Globes even more seriously than the Hollywood Foreign Press Association seems to, we've done some of the legwork in determining who has the best shot at the top prizes this year, by rooting through past winners in the big categories and identifying which of this year's nominees seems to fit in best with the list. We already gave it a shot with the Best Motion Picture, Drama category, and now here's one for Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical.

The nominees this year: Birdman, the lavish showbiz spectacle about a mentally fragmented actor and father; The Grand Budapest Hotel, the zany European caper about a pompous hotelier and his trusty lobby boy; Into the Woods, the fantastical musical send-up of fairy tale tropes and traditions; Pride, the true story of gay and lesbian activists in a British mining town; and St. Vincent, a scruffy heartwarmer about the unlikely friendship between a jagged alcoholic and his young neighbor.

So who has the best shot at the trophy this year?

Birdman

Alejandro González Iñárritu's one-shot-wonder Birdman has earned esteem as far more than a visual spectacle, telling the story of a washed up blockbuster actor (Michael Keaton going meta) losing his mind as he tries to reclaim artistic glory, and possibly reconnect with his daughter (Emma Stone). Birdman has already swept a good deal of smaller awards circuits, but how will it fare at the Globes?

Of the 67 films to thus far win the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture, Comedy or Musical (including both winners in each of the four years between 1958 and '62 when the category was split into separate Comedy and Musical categories)...

...16 have been set in New York City (American Hustle, Arthur, The Apartment, As Good as It Gets, Auntie Mame, The Goodbye Girl, Green Card, Guys and Dolls, Hannah and Her Sisters, A Majority of One, Prizzi's Honor, The Sunshine Boys, That Touch of Mink, Tootsie, West Side Story, Working Girl),...14 have been films about "showbiz" (Almost Famous, The Artist, Coal Miner's Daughter, Dreamgirls, The Goodbye Girl, Les Girls, Lost in Translation, The Player, Shakespeare in Love, Some Like It Hot, A Star is Born, Tootsie, The Sunshine Boys, With a Song in My Heart),...and seven have been about parent/child relationships (Breaking Away, Fiddler on the Roof, The Goodbye Girl, The Kids Are All Right, Mrs. Doubtfire, Prizzi's Honor, The Sound of Music)

The Grand Budapest Hotel

Wes Anderson's high energy European caper The Grand Budapest Hotel is not only his best film to date, but is easily one of the finest (and funniest) movies of 2014. And yet, the 1930s-set crusade — which stars Ralph Fiennes as Gustave H., the prim and proper manager of a luxury hotel, who finds himself and his faithful lobby boy Zero (Tony Revolori) mixed up in a convoluted murder-and-theft plot — isn't considered a shoe-in for any awards this season. Might it surprise at the Globes?

Of the 67 films to thus far win the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (including both winners in each of the four years between 1958 and '62 when the category was split into separate Comedy and Musical categories)...

...eight have been set in contiguous Europe (An American in Paris, Gigi, Les Miserables, Moulin Rouge!, The Secret of Santa Vittoria, Song without End, The Sound of Music, Vicky Cristina Barcelona),...eight have involved some element of crime (American Hustle, Chicago, Guys and Dolls, The Longest Yard, The Player, Prizzi's Honor, Some Like It Hot, Tom Jones),...six have taken place during or at the dawn of World War II (An American in Paris, Cabaret, Carmen Jones, Hope and Glory, The Secret of Santa Vittoria, The Sound of Music),...and just one might be classified as a caper (Some Like It Hot).

Into the Woods

Stephen Sondheim's Into the Woods has been a beloved stage musical for many years, and its arrival to the screen surely felt this long shadow. So can the long anticipated adaptation of the dark, kooky story — which plucks fairy tale favorites like Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Jack (of Jack and the Beanstalk fame), and your standard Wicked Witch) from their wholesome routine and thrusts them into a more macabre and campier milieu — win over the HFPA?

Of the 67 films to thus far win the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (including both winners in each of the four years between 1958 and '62 when the category was split into separate Comedy and Musical categories)...

...five deal with the issue of marriage as a major theme (Chicago, Fiddler on the Roof, Green Card, Hannah and Her Sisters, Mrs. Doubtfire),...and only two include elements of the fantastical (Beauty and the Beast, Heaven Can Wait),

...but don't give up hope yet! Not counting the four movies that won in the exclusive Musicals category...

...21 Best Comedy/Musical winners have been musicals (An American in Paris, Beauty and the Beast, Cabaret, Carmen Jones, Chicago, Coal Miner's Daughter, Dreamgirls, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, Guys and Dolls, The King and I, Les Girls, Les Miserables, The Lion King, Moulin Rouge!, Oliver!, The Sound of Music, A Star is Born, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, Walk the Line, With a Song in My Heart).

Pride

The film on the list to incur the smallest deal of attention this year (but not for lack of quality) is Pride, which tells the true story of a group of openly gay political activists who rallied to help support the families of those affected by the 1984 British miners' strike. So what are this underdog's chances come showtime?

Of the 67 films to thus far win the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (including both winners in each of the four years between 1958 and '62 when the category was split into separate Comedy and Musical categories)...

...six have been adaptations of true stories (Coal Miner's Daughter, Dreamgirls, Evita, Song without End, Walk the Line, With a Song in My Heart),...four have taken place in England (Hope and Glory, My Fair Lady, Oliver!, Shakespeare in Love),...and three have involved overt themes of homosexuality (As Good as It Gets, Cabaret, The Kids Are All Right).

St. Vincent

Finally, the "feel good" picture of the bunch: St. Vincent, the humble story of a rough-around-the-edges curmudgeon from Brooklyn (Bill Murray) who becomes the unlikely friend and surrogate father to his new neighbor, a lonely young boy (Jaeden Lieberher). What are this little number's odds?

Of the 67 films to thus far win the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical (including both winners in each of the four years between 1958 and '62 when the category was split into separate Comedy and Musical categories)...

...16 have been set in New York City (American Hustle, Arthur, The Apartment, As Good as It Gets, Auntie Mame, The Goodbye Girl, Green Card, Guys and Dolls, Hannah and Her Sisters, A Majority of One, Prizzi's Honor, The Sunshine Boys, That Touch of Mink, Tootsie, West Side Story, Working Girl),...eight have been stories about mismatched or unlikely friendship (As Good as It Gets, Babe, The Hangover, The King and I, Sideways, Some Like It Hot, The Sunshine Boys, Toy Story 2),...and six have offered illustration of alcohol or drug addiction (American Hustle, Arthur, My Fair Lady, Porgy and Bess, A Star Is Born, Walk the Line).

Final scores

So what does this all tell us?

Birdman: 37St. Vincent: 30Into the Woods: 28The Grand Budapest Hotel: 23Pride: 13

Judging by these numbers, we'd have to declare Birdman the most likely winner of the bunch... which is pretty much in keeping with what everyone is projecting anyhow. Maybe this method isn't so harebrained after all!

Images: Fox Searchlight Pictures (3); Disney; Pathé; The Weinstein Company