The 2019 Golden Globe-nominated actors have given great performances, this year and in the years leading up to their nomination.
You can judge an actor from the amount of Golden Globes they have, or you can look deeper and find more than one movie to enjoy that showcases their talent, well-known or not.
The 76th Golden Globe Awards air January 7 and the 2019 list of nominees is full of familiar award ceremony faces and a few well-deserving newbies. The Golden Globe Awards are always more casual than the Academy Awards, and the drinks flow much more freely, resulting in speeches that are not as rehearsed as those on Oscar night. It’s great fun at the Golden Globes, and because of the genre-based categories, many actors get a moment to shine as nominees.
There’s one thing every 2019 Golden Globe nominee in the movie acting categories has in common: A previous film or TV show performance that you should watch. It may not be in the same genre or made in the same decade, and it definitely may have been under the radar upon release, but it’s still great.
For each 2019 Golden Globes nominee in acting categories, here are performances from their body of work you need to see.
2019 Golden Globe Awards Nominees Notable Work Roundup
Best Actress in a Drama
Glenn Close - The Wife
If you haven’t seen The Wife yet, do that now. When you’re done, watch Close play a woman dressed as a man in Albert Nobbs, of which she was nominated for a Golden Globe and Academy Award in 2012, and then have some fun with Close in Mars Attacks!, an all-time classic that features her as Jack Nicholson’s President James Dale’s First Lady, Marsha Dale. And if you want to get real crazy, check out Fatal Attraction (again) — it’s always worth the time.
Lady Gaga - A Star Is Born
Dive into Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills for blood-soaked grindhouse spectacle featuring Lady Gaga as a shape-shifting assassin, and an amazing codpiece.
Nicole Kidman - Destroyer
In Destroyer, Nicole Kidman took on a grittier look and attitude. For a change of pace, sort of, watch Sofia Coppola’s The Beguiled with Nicole Kidman and Colin Farrell. It’s a deceiving film that appears soft and gentle until it gets dark and a bit mad.
Melissa McCarthy - Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Paul Rudd and Leslie Mann plus director Judd Apatow get most of the credit for This Is 40, but Melissa McCarthy’s performance as the mother of a school bully is priceless. She’s hilarious and the outtakes shown during the credits a perfect choice when you need a pick me up or to really see how brilliant a comedian she is.
Rosamund Pike - A Private War
An under the radar release in 2017, Scott Cooper’s Hostiles stars Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike in a revisionist western. Pike plays a mother who witnesses Comanche Indians massacre her entire family and barely escapes with her own life. Pike’s character requires a range of emotions and she nails each and every one, strengthening the otherwise formulaic film because of the dramatic effect she brings to the table.
Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical
Emily Blunt - Mary Poppins Returns
Before Emily Blunt took over for Julie Andrews, singing songs with animated characters and watching over the nursery, she starred in a big-budget, super-fun science fiction-fueled action movie with Tom Cruise: Edge of Tomorrow.
Olivia Colman - The Favourite
Stepping into Queen Elizabeth’s shoes for “The Crown” season three on Netflix, Olivia Colman has done plenty before The Favourite. My personal favorite is her turn as a domestic abuse survivor in Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur. A deeply affecting film, Colman took home Best Actress at the British Independent Film Awards for her outstanding performance that stays with you long after the credits roll.
Elsie Fisher - Eighth Grade
Full disclosure: Elsie Fisher’s work before Eighth Grade isn’t going to blow your mind. This talented young woman has had her breakthrough role as Kayla Day in Eighth Grade, and if you have not seen this brutally honest take on modern tween life, get to it.
Charlize Theron - Tully
It’s all in the eyes for Charlize Theron’s performance in The Burning Plain. Full of mystery and pain, she gives great insight into why her character is emotionally damaged, and you can’t look away.
Constance Wu - Crazy Rich Asians
It may not be a big part, but Constance Wu is part of the supporting cast in Sound of My Voice, an indie film filled with style and substance that makes a viewer think. It’s also about a cult and has science fiction origins which are always a good thing.
Best Actor in a Drama
Bradley Cooper - A Star Is Born
For Bradley Cooper, let’s have a bit of fun and suggest you watch All About Steve. It will give you insight into how a great actor, director, screenwriter, can make an absolutely terrible film with a super-talented actress, Sandra Bullock (Bird Box). Sit back and have a good laugh, it’s cathartic.
Willem Dafoe - At Eternity’s Gate
How do you pick a single movie to recommend in which Willem Dafoe gave a notable performance? You can’t; there are too many. But if you have not seen him in Shadow of the Vampire, stop everything and watch it now.
Lucas Hedges - Boy Erased
For a young man, Lucas Hedges has been in quite a few great films: Manchester by the Sea, Kill the Messenger, Moonrise Kingdom, and Lady Bird. Pick any and enjoy.
Rami Malek - Bohemian Rhapsody
If you want to really see how great Rami Malek can be as an actor, tune in to “Mr. Robot” — you can thank me later.
John David Washington - BlacKkKlansman
You’re going to get a piece of The Rock while enjoying John David Washington’s performance in HBO’s “Ballers.” Try to control your excitement.
Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy
Christian Bale - Vice
Scott Cooper strikes again on this list with the Christian Bale recommendation: Out of the Furnace, also starring Willem Dafoe. This isn’t an easy movie to digest; it harshly depicts trauma and its hold on a person’s mental state and vengeance in a violent manner. It will question your moral compass, and you just may love Christian Bale even more as an actor afterward.
Lin-Manuel Miranda - Mary Poppins Returns
You’re going to need tissues for The Odd Life of Timothy Green, featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda in a supporting role alongside Jennifer Garner and Joel Edgerton. My emotions are stirring just thinking about it, and yours surely will while watching it.
Viggo Mortensen - Green Book
If you have read that Hidalgo isn’t a great movie — that’s not true! Give it a go and report back.
Robert Redford - The Old Man & the Gun
He’ll always be The Sundance Kid, but after that star-making role, Robert Redford starred in The Great Gatsby. Hearts around the world are still breaking; it’s time for yours too as well.
John C. Reilly - Stan & Ollie
What’s the best cure for a migraine? Watching Cedar Rapids with John C. Reilly and laughing your ass off helps a great deal more than medication. Trust me.
Best Supporting Actress
Claire Foy - First Man
It’s always about “The Crown” when Claire Foy’s name comes up, and while I’d love to recommend Andy Serkis’ Breathe, the story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, it’s quite terrible. For a great Claire Foy performance, you really should watch “The Crown.” Or, if you’re feeling a bit silly, check out Season of the Witch with Nicolas Cage.
Regina King - If Beale Street Could Talk
The work of Regina King spans TV and movies, in front of and behind the camera. I’ll always fondly remember her as Fiona’s probation officer on “Shameless.” It will take you a few seasons to get there, but it’s worth the time and wait.
Emma Stone - The Favourite
It doesn’t take much to recommend Zombieland for a great comedic-horror flick starring Emma Stone. It’s also worth re-watching now before the sequel hits in October, aptly titled Zombieland 2.
Rachel Weisz - The Favourite
Get a little weird and make your brain hurt a tad with Darren Aronofsky’s The Fountain, starring Rachel Weisz, Ellen Burstyn, and Hugh Jackman. It could be one of the worst movies ever made, the most unusual, or a stroke of genius. You decide.
Amy Adams - Vice
A trip in the way back machine takes us to the pick for a much-overlooked Amy Adams performance: Sunshine Cleaning. It’s full of heart and relatable, plus Emily Blunt is in it, too, so you get a great comedy Golden Globe nominee twofer.
Best Supporting Actor
Mahershala Ali - Green Book
I don’t care how you feel about Kevin Spacey today because you have to admit that his turn as Frank Underwood on “House of Cards” is brilliant. Mahershala Ali starred on the show as Remy Danton for multiple seasons and definitely left an impression, stealing scenes from Spacey more than once. That’s just one reason to watch “House of Cards”; you can figure out the rest on your own.
Timothée Chalamet - Beautiful Boy
For a glimpse of the great performances to come from Timothée Chalamet, including his 2019 Golden Globe-nominated role in Beautiful Boy and 2018 Oscar and Golden Globe nominations for Call Me by Your Name, watch Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar. You’ll still question the role of gravity, but Chalamet’s role does make sense.
Adam Driver - BlacKkKlansman
You likely know Adam Driver because he’s Kylo Ren in Star Wars, the dark-side son of Princess Leia and Han Solo and his murderer. After all that nonsense, Driver went to the simple side in Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky and knocked his role out of the would-be trailer park.
Richard E. Grant - Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Look no further than Dom Hemingway for a memorable performance from Richard E. Grant, and great style!
Sam Rockwell - Vice
You haven’t seen Duncan Jones’ Moon? Seriously? How about Jared Hess’ Gentlemen Broncos or Clark Gregg’s Choke based on the Chuck Palahniuk novel? No? You really need to spend more time on the couch with Sam Rockwell movies.
That does it for the 2019 Golden Globe Awards nominees in the acting categories. Regardless of who takes home Golden Globes this year, at least we have great work from each and every nominee to watch today, tomorrow, and forever.