There are two different races happening at the Golden Globes this year -- one for movies, which is neck-and-neck with the Academy Awards -- and one for television, which lags behind the Emmys.
So while the Golden Globes can act in some ways as a salve for Oscar snubs and a predictor of Oscar wins, it doesn't have the quite same breathlessness when it comes to television, since the Emmys are so last year (OK, four months ago) and, unlike movies, TV shows can have a track record of previous Globes wins.
Still, they provide a fun game of "Who will win?" and "Who should win?" To make your awards viewing (and betting?) more manageable, here are some of entertainment's most educated guesses, thanks to input from the nominees themselves.
Best television series -- drama
"Breaking Bad," "Boardwalk Empire," "Downton Abbey," "Homeland" and "The Newsroom" are all up against each other, like sweaty singles in a nightclub.
"Boardwalk" showrunner Terence Winter, however, doesn't think his show can really compete with "Walter White in the crazy department. But we might be up there, sure." He noted that "it's an amazing time for TV drama," and daunting to even think about the competition in that category.
The showrunners for "Homeland" -- Alex Gansa and Howard Gordon -- were thrilled to be recognized in another category this year: those shows which have been parodied on "The Simpsons." "We're officially in the popular culture!" Gordon said with glee. That Emmy win doesn't hurt, either -- "Homeland" is a shoo-in; it can, will, and should win. Plus, it won last year.
Best television series -- comedy or musical
The contenders are "The Big Bang Theory," "Episodes," "Girls," "Modern Family" and "Smash." "Modern Family" also won the Golden Globe last year, but what about giving another show a chance, perhaps one that had its first season last year?
"Smash" is the only real musical of the group, even though it's also a drama, which makes it an odd duck here, but "Girls" feels like a natural winner.
"It's smart, and it's funny, and I find the specificity of the dialogue really refreshing," said "Portlandia" co-creator Carrie Brownstein. "I love how it delves into the awkward moments, awkward sex, without shying away from it and in an unrelenting way. I'm really rooting for 'Girls' and I think Lena Dunham is a genius." You go, girl.
Best mini-series or motion picture made for television
Based on the Emmys, you might well guess that "Game Change" has this category on lockdown. But it's up against "The Girl," "Hatfields & McCoys," "The Hour" and "Political Animals." OK, that's not really much competition against the juggernaut that is "Game Change."
"At a function for 'Recount,' I mentioned to someone, 'I would have loved to been in the room when they made the decision (to put Sarah Palin on the Republican ticket)," director Jay Roach said. "I'd been working on a spin doctors story for a long time, but then I thought, 'This is the story.' "
Even though "Game Change" is such a powerful tale that it's getting a follow-up, this category tends to favor mini-series over movies ("Downton Abbey" won the previous year). If the Hollywood Foreign Press is so inclined, might we suggest the very deserving BBC program "The Hour," which is oft-compared to "Mad Men" for its 1960s period setting, but is actually a drama about investigative journalists who get pulled into political and sexual scandals.
Best performance by an actress in a television series -- drama
If "Homeland" can and should win, so should its star, Claire Danes. Her competition, however, includes Connie Britton for "Nashville," Glenn Close for "Damages," Michelle Dockery for "Downton Abbey" and Julianna Margulies for "The Good Wife" (who was also nominated last year). But outside of Close (who saw the final season of her show this year, always a cause for awards upsets), it's not even close. As Danes previously told CNN, "I think people are rooting for (my character Carrie), and I'm so honored to be playing her."
Best performance by an actor in a television series -- drama
We'd say that what is good for the goose is good for the gander -- if Danes should win, so should her co-star Damian Lewis.
But that didn't happen at the Globes last year, even though he was nominated. (He did win the Emmy, however). And the race might be tougher for Lewis this time, since his rivals include Steve Buscemi for "Boardwalk Empire," Bryan Cranston for "Breaking Bad" (both of whom were also nominated last year), Jon Hamm for "Mad Men" and newbie Jeff Daniels for "The Newsroom."