Twice-nominated Clint Eastwood has his best shot with "Letters From Iwo Jima" (up for best foreign language film) over "Flags of Our Fathers" (snubbed in the best picture category). Clint rarely loses, but faces a tough battle against Martin Scorsese ("The Departed"), who previously won for "Gangs of New York." Also nominated: Stephen Frears ("The Queen") and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel").
Best picture, drama
Fierce contest between artsy "Babel" (with the most nominations at seven) and blockbuster "The Departed." "The Queen" could pull off a coup considering voters love British films ("Sense and Sensibility" and "The English Patient" won here.) "Little Children" and "Bobby" have little hope.
Best actor, drama
Forest Whitaker ("Last King of Scotland") is the front-runner after sweeping early awards, but he portrays a villain (Idi Amin). Voters usually prefer sexy superstars like Will Smith in heart-tuggers like "The Pursuit of Happyness." Voters adore Leonardo DiCaprio (he won for "The Aviator") and he's got two bids: "The Departed" is favored over "Blood Diamond" because it's up for best drama picture. If his vote is split, veteran Peter O'Toole ("Venus") could be launched toward his elusive Oscar.
Best actress, drama
After reigning over the critics' awards, Helen Mirren ("The Queen") will probably win because Globes voters gladly embrace mature women. (Actresses older than 50 rarely win Oscars, by comparison.) Beware: Voters adore sexy international starlets like Penelope Cruz in an art-house flick ("Volver"). Four-time also-ran Kate Winslet ("Little Children") is overdue, but must get past Judi Dench ("Notes on a Scandal") who beat her in 1998. Maggie Gyllenhaal ("Sherrybaby") could benefit from being the only American.
Best picture, comedy/musical
"Dreamgirls" has the edge since successful musicals usually win ("Chicago," "Moulin Rouge"), but "Borat" appeals to Globes voters because it's about a foreign journalist feeling out of sorts in America. Surprise hit "Little Miss Sunshine" could pull off a shocker. "The Devil Wears Prada" and "Thank You for Smoking" are admired chiefly for their performances.
Best actor, comedy/musical
Cult superstardom and voter empathy make Sacha Baron Cohen ("Borat") the clear favorite. Thus there's only small hope for Aaron Eckhart ("Thank You for Smoking"), Chiwetel Ejiofor ("Kinky Boots"), Will Ferrell ("Stranger Than Fiction") and Johnny Depp (who walked the Globes plank for the first "Pirates of the Caribbean").
Best actress, comedy/musical
Three-time winner Renee Zellweger ("Miss Potter") is a Globes darling, Beyonce Knowles ("Dreamgirls") and Toni Collette ("Little Miss Sunshine") are charming and Annette Bening is brilliant in "Running With Scissors," but come on, no one dares to deny Satan: Meryl Streep in "The Devil Wears Prada."
Best TV Series, Drama
Voters usually spotlight new hit programs ("Heroes" is the only rookie) or catch up with past snubs ("Grey's Anatomy"). Past winners "24" and "Lost" still have hope. "Big Love" has long-shot potential because voters have huge love for HBO fare.
Best TV Actor, Drama
Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") and Bill Paxton ("Big Love") benefit from being the new series on the slate, but voters may want to finally hail Patrick Dempsey ("Grey's Anatomy"). Hugh Laurie ("House") won last year and that may be enough. Kiefer Sutherland ("24") triumphed in 2001 and has lost three times since, but could rally, thanks to his recent Emmy win.
Best TV Actress, Drama
Hmmmm. No stars of new series cited, so odds favor catching up with Kyra Sedgwick ("The Closer") or Ellen Pompeo ("Grey's Anatomy"). Evangeline Lilly's ("Lost") role may not be big enough. Edie Falco ("The Sopranos") and Patricia Arquette ("Medium") have been losing lately, but can't be written off.
Best TV Series, Comedy
New super-hit "Ugly Betty" looks good, but squares off against recent Emmy champ and first-time nominee "The Office." The British version of "The Office" won in 2001. Chances for "Entourage," "Weeds" and last year's winner, "Desperate Housewives," seem pale.
Best TV Actor, Comedy
A cheeky movie star slumming it in a bombastic TV role (Alec Baldwin, "30 Rock") may be irresistible. Last year's champ, Steve Carell ("The Office"), is also campily unsympathetic and still red-hot. Overdue are Jason Lee ("My Name Is Earl") and Zach Braff ("Scrubs"). Tony Shalhoub ("Monk") got his Globe in 2002.
Best TV Actress, Comedy
Things could really get ugly between front-runner America Ferrera ("Ugly Betty") and Julia Louis-Dreyfus ("The New Adventures of Old Christine"), who broke the "Seinfeld" curse by winning an Emmy. Last year's champ, Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds"), is back. In this crowded race, "Desperate Housewives' " Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman seem truly desperate.
Tom O'Neil writes the Gold Derby blog at TheEnvelope.com.