Golden Globe Nominations: Snubs, Surprises & Surefire Winners

American Hustle and 12 Years a Slave got a lot of love from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, but what about Mad Men or Game of Thrones?

We've been so excited about Amy Poehler and Tina Fey hosting the Golden Globes again this year, we almost forgot to get excited about the awards themselves! But we got with the program when the nominations were announced this morning. This has been an especially strong year for both film and TV, so the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had their work cut out for them. How'd they do? Here, a list of the snubs, surprises, toughest races, and a handful of nominees who can already start clearing a place on the mantle.

Favorites to Win: Because the Golden Globes have separate categories for comedy and drama, the two buzziest films of the year -- 12 Years a Slave and American Hustle -- can each take home a statue of their own. On the off chance that 12 Years is upended by Gravity, star Chiwetel Ejiofor is still a safe bet for best actor -- drama. And speaking of Gravity, Sandra Bullock is a lock for her physically and emotionally intense performance. In the TV categories, Breaking Bad's riveting final season is bound to be rewarded; we're predicting a best TV drama win, as well as one for best supporting actor for Aaron Paul and probably best actor for Bryan Cranston.

Shocking Snubs: No Mad Men? Not even a single nomination? That's a low point for the awards-show darling, especially since Jon Hamm is still giving one of the best performances on TV. Game of Thrones and Boardwalk Empire were also left out of the TV categories entirely. And we're surprised that neither of the year's hit Netflix comedies, Orange Is the New Black and Arrested Development, merited a best TV series -- comedy nomination. In the film categories, the biggest surprise may be that Oprah Winfrey wasn't acknowledged for her critically acclaimed comeback performance in The Butler. In fact, The Butler, an early awards-show favorite, was snubbed all around. So was the indie drama Fruitvale Station, which made a huge impression on critics this year. And no nod for James Gandolfini in his final performance in Enough Said?

Happiest Surprises: We'd like to welcome Masters of Sex and Brooklyn Nine-Nine to the race; both new shows got a surprising amount of love from the Globes, including best actor nominations for Michael Sheen and Andy Samberg, respectively. (Though we don't know why they'd nominate Sheen without his equally-good-or-better co-star Lizzy Caplan.) Orange Is the New Black's Taylor Schilling and Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany are also newcomers, both getting well-deserved best actress in a TV series nominations. We're also seeing some unexpected actresses in the best actress in a motion picture, musical or comedy category. Greta Gerwig for Frances Ha and Julie Delpy for Before Midnight are excellent choices that nobody saw coming. And hurrah for Barkhad Abdi, whose nominated debut film performance in Captain Phillips was riveting.

Toughest Races: There are quite a few juicy competitions here. Best supporting actress in a motion picture is pitting exciting newcomer Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave) against America's sweetheart Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle) and perennial favorite Julia Roberts (August: Osage County). Best actor in a motion picture, musical or comedy will also be a tough call; Joaquin Phoenix is a tour de force in Her, but Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Christian Bale (American Hustle) can generally do no wrong, and Bruce Dern (Nebraska) has the comeback factor on his side. The best TV movie or miniseries category contains three of the year's finest television events: Top of the Lake, Behind the Candelabra and American Horror Story: Coven. Not surprisingly, the corresponding best actor and best actress in a miniseries races are brutal. Who'd want to choose between Helena Bonham Carter, Helen Mirren, Jessica Lange, Rebecca Ferguson and Elisabeth Moss? Or Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Idris Elba, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Al Pacino?

And One Show that Really Needs a Win Already: We're going to take this opportunity to put in a plea for Parks and Recreation, NBC's criminally overlooked comedy. We're over the moon to see it nominated for best TV comedy, but it's definitely the underdog. So how about finally giving the best actress award to Amy Poehler? Seriously. It's time for Pawnee to shine.

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Donna Kaufman is a freelance writer and iVillage contributor. Find her on Twitter and Google+

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