Coverage of 69th Annual Golden Globes

Claire Danes a Front-Runner for Golden Globes Win

Coverage of 69th Annual Golden Globes

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Two-time champ Claire Danes has never lost a Golden Globe race, and now she's poised to win a third prize for starring as a sexy, high-strung CIA agent in the new Showtime TV drama series "Homeland."

Gold Derby gives Danes overwhelming odds to prevail over Julianna Margulies ("The Good Wife"), Mireille Enos ("The Killing"), Madeleine Stowe ("Revenge"), and Callie Thorne ("Necessary Roughness"). The reason: She's the perfect, made-for-Globes star : pretty, respected by TV critics, and riding popular buzz right now.

Globe voters love those qualities because they're members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and track the latest showbiz trends for their media outlets back in Norway, Brazil, and Japan. As journalists, they're more attuned to hot new TV and film stars than the Emmys and Oscars, conservative industry awards that often snub young talent

As a 15-year-old newcomer, Danes shocked Globe watchers in 1995 when she won this same category for portraying an angst-ridden, awkward teen in the ABC show "My So-Called Life." That night, she defeated veteran actresses Kathy Baker ("Picket Fences"), Angela Lansbury ("Murder, She Wrote"), Heather Locklear ("Melrose Place"), and Jane Seymour ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman"). When she won her next Globe 16 years later, in 2011, for the HBO television movie "Temple Grandin," it was clear that she had matured as an actress.

"Claire Danes has found few theatrical roles worthy of the talent she so precociously exhibited as a teen in the mid-1990s series 'My So-Called Life,'" wrote Variety. "Yet anyone who has forgotten her promise need only look to the actress's tour de force performance in HBO's 'Temple Grandin,' which deftly sidesteps schmaltz to emerge as a biopic of grace and beauty. Most impressively, Danes gets past the tics of her character -- an autistic woman who 'thinks in pictures' -- to create the sort of memorable portrait that frequently yields gilded ornaments as a lovely parting gift."

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Now she has a third shot at the Golden Globe for her role as Carrie Mathison, an incredibly driven yet bipolar intelligence agent who has developed a crazy theory that a rescued American prisoner of war, Sgt. Nicholas Brody (actor and nominee Damian Lewis), is actually a terrorist with a plan to harm the United States. Nobody in the CIA believes her, including one of her bosses, Saul Berenson (Mandy Patinkin), which leads her to take matters into her own hands. Following her torrid love affair with the officer, the final episodes of the first season showcase Carrie as even more manic and obsessive in her attempts to stop Brody.

Hollywood Foreign Press Association voters have chosen governmental agents for top awards before. Jennifer Garner ("Alias," 2002), Kiefer Sutherland ("24," 2002), Gillian Anderson ("The X Files," 1997), and David Duchovny ("The X Files," 1997)  earned the gold, so this type of role can certainly be rewarded. Danes is the first ever Showtime actress to be nominated in this category, so a win would also be the first for the pay cable network. Showtime has had success with the dramatic men, though, with Michael C. Hall ("Dexter") winning in 2010 and Jonathan Rhys Meyers ("The Tudors") picking up two bids, in 2008 and 2009. On the comedy side, the network has celebrated with victories by Laura Linney ("The Big C," 2011), Toni Collette ("United States of Tara," 2010), and Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds," 2006).

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Even though "Homeland" is a freshman series, that fact is often actually a positive with this group of voters because they like to be the first out of the gate to honor something new, weeks before the Screen Actors Guild Awards and months before the next Emmy Awards. In recent years, Glenn Close ("Damages"), Frances Conroy ("Six Feet Under"), Geena Davis ("Commander-in-Chief"), Edie Falco ("The Sopranos"), Jennifer Garner ("Alias"), Anna Paquin ("True Blood"), and Keri Russell ("Felicity") were all victorious in their first seasons.

Gold Derby statistics combining predictions from media expert, website editors, and forums users, favor Danes with a substantial lead of 8-15 odds and 65% of votes against her strongest competitor Julianna Margulies (a 2010 winner for "The Good Wife") with 5-1 odds and just 17% of votes. The other nominees trail even more: Mireille Enos ("The Killing") at 12-1 odds; Madeleine Stowe ("Revenge") at 16-1 odds ; and Callie Thorne ("Unnecessary Roughness") at 25-1 odds . Another factor against Margulies is that the wealth has been spread in this category with only one repeat winner over the past two decades (Falco won in 2000 and 2004). Another plus for Danes is that she is the only nominee in this group whose show also received a nod for best TV drama series, which might indicate even stronger overall support among Globe voters.

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