If you’re reading this, you’re probably like so many of us: You want to be an engaged, informed participant in the upcoming Golden Globes festivities. But, seriously, who has the time to actually watch all (or—real talk—ANY) of the approximately 7.2 trillion movies, shows and “limited series” that are up for awards this year?
Enter our handy guide to the 2020 Golden Globe Awards. We’ve cherry-picked the must-know names, shows, films and factoids and packaged them up in an easy-to-remember format that you can repurpose for any occasion—from making conversation in the kitchen at work to bonding with your cinephile sibling to impressing your crush at their annual awards-season party.
It goes like this:
Quick recap: This is so you can bluff your way through talking about something as if you’ve seen it—think key plot twists, memorable moments, etc.—but in a vague, “Oh, I’m so involved in so many cultural pursuits that I don’t have room in my brain for minutiae like character names” kind of way.
Buzz phrase: The one-liner to drop when discussing something that will make you seem very, very of the moment…even if the most culture you’ve consumed in the past six months is reruns of Top Chef.
Fun fact: Is someone about to blow your cover by wanting your opinion on some very specific detail? Distract/smokescreen them with this related tidbit!
#1 Greta Gerwig
Quick recap: Actor turned critically acclaimed director whose second film, Little Women, has two nominations. The real drama, though? Many pipped Gerwig as a shoo-in for a best director nom, but she didn’t nab one…nor did any other women. #GlobesSoMale
Buzz phrase: “Robbed by the patriarchy.”
Fun fact: Gerwig was pregnant with her son, Harold, while making Little Women but hid her condition from the entire cast because she didn’t want it to be a distraction.
#2 The Irishman
Quick recap: A Netflix original about a gangster reflecting on his life of crime, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino and Joe Pesci. Basically Goodfellas but they’re old. It’s the second-most nominated film of the night.
Buzz phrase: “Awards-season catnip.”
Fun fact: This film was shot in 117 different locations—mainly in New York City and Long Island.
#3 Saoirse Ronan
Quick recap: Nominated for best actress in a motion picture (drama category) for her portrayal of Jo March in Little Women. Love you forever, Winona, but…Saoirse kind of killed it.
Buzz phrase: “The millennial Meryl Streep.”
Fun fact: It’s pronounced “SER-sha.”
#4 Knives Out
Quick recap: A whodunnit with an A-list cast. A crime novelist (Canada’s own Christopher Plumber) is murdered, and Daniel Craig—aka Hot Mr. Poirot—is there to unravel the family secrets behind his death.
Buzz phrase: “A modern riff on Agatha Christie.”
Fun fact: Chris Evans wears a traditional Irish cable-knit Aran sweater in the film, and it went so viral he even got one for his own real-life dog.
Quick recap: This South Korean thriller is probably the buzziest of the foreign-film nominees. It’s a dark, twisted tale of the, uh, parasitic relationship between two families—one rich and one poor.
Buzz phrase: “The film equivalent of BTS.”
Fun fact: This movie has spawned many, many memes—the most notable of which is the “Jessica Jingle.”
#6 Michelle Williams
Quick recap: Michelle is nominated for best actress in a limited series or motion picture made for television. The nom is for her work playing Gwen Verdon, the off- and on-stage partner of legendary choreographer Bob Fosse. This is Michelle Williams, after all, so it’s very, very intense.
Buzz phrase: “Jazz hands!”
Fun fact: Michelle just dropped a double bombshell: Not only is she engaged (mere months after announcing her separation from someone else), but she’s also expecting! Oh, and get this: Her new man was her director for Fosse/Verdon.
#7 Kieran Culkin
Quick recap: He’s up for best actor in a TV series for playing Roman Roy on Succession. If you aren’t yet addicted, it’s a family drama in which he plays the weirdly likeable but definitely sociopathic younger son of a media-empire-owning clan modelled on the real-life Murdochs.
Buzz phrase: “Dynasty but with journalism.”
Fun fact: Why, yes, he is Macaulay’s little brother!
#8 Meryl Streep
Quick recap: Mate, if you’re so deep under a culture rock that we need to explain who this is, you’re probably too far gone for even us to help.
Buzz phrase: “ICON.”
Fun fact: Meryl just broke her own record for most Golden Globe nominations! This one, for playing the skin-crawling Mary Louise on Big Little Lies, is her 34th and could be her 9th win.
Read this next: All the Best Looks on the Golden Globes 2019 Red Carpet
#9 The Kominsky Method
Quick recap: A sort of buddy-comedy-but-sad about an aging acting coach and his long-time agent and best friend. It stars Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin.
Buzz phrase: “A portrait of aging masculinity” (quoth a review in the Guardian).
Fun fact: This show was created by Chuck Lorre, the man responsible for Three and a Half Men, The Big Bang Theory and other crimes against human dignity.
#10 Motherless Brooklyn
Quick recap: Sounds like the name of a painfully hip pour-over-only coffee shop in Bushwick but is in fact a 1950s-set neo-noir crime drama in which a man with Tourette’s attempts to solve the murder of his only friend.
Buzz phrase: “Shock nomination.”
Fun fact: This has a nom in the best score category, which came as a bit of a surprise—especially since it comes at the expense of snubbing what were thought to be shoo-ins like Star Wars and Jojo Rabbit.
Quick recap: It’s the Beyoncé song from The Lion King live-action remake!
Buzz phrase: “So much better than Taylor Swift’s song for Cats.”
Fun fact: This song was originally only meant for the end credits, but Beyoncé and her co-writers did such an amazing job that a place was found for it within the film.
Quick recap: A Hulu dramedy about an American millennial Muslim guy just trying to figure out life.
Buzz phrase: “Available in Canada with Crave, but you have to pony up for the Starz package.”
Fun fact: Egyptian-American comedian Ramy Youssef plays the titular character, and, no, you do not get points for guessing that the show has autobiographical elements to it.
#13 Game of Thrones
Quick recap: Hey, remember that show about the dragons and the kings and the incestuous families? It used to rule the Golden Globes, but it only got one nomination for its final season.
Buzz phrase: “Winter is over.”
Fun fact: So, who got that lonely nom? Kit Harington, for best actor. Heart u, Jon Snow, but we all know if anyone deserves some recognition this season, it’s Emilia Clarke.
#14 Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon
Quick recap: See #8.
Buzz phrase: “BFFs 4eva.”
Fun fact: People *will* try to create drama out of the fact that these two real-life pals are both nominated in the same category for The Morning Show, and we *will* refuse to give that any oxygen.
Read this next: What’s New on Netflix Canada in January
#15 Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Quick recap: A past-his-prime actor (Leo DiCaprio) pals around with his similarly aging stunt double (Brad Pitt) in the Hollywood Hills. To be clear: This is not a documentary.
Buzz phrase: “Based on the true story of the Manson family murders.”
Fun fact: This is the first Quentin Tarantino film not made with the involvement of Harvey Weinstein.
#16 Marriage Story
Quick recap: Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson get a divorce.
Buzz phrase: “I want Laura Dern to negotiate my settlement, please.”
Fun fact: This film was directed by Greta Gerwig’s husband, Noah Baumbach.
Quick recap: Crazy Rich Asians was just Awkwafina’s warm-up for The Farewell, her lead-role debut for which she’s garnered a best actress nom. If you haven’t had the pleasure, it’s a beautiful story about a family saying goodbye to their matriarch.
Buzz phrase: “98% on Rotten Tomatoes, guys!”
Fun fact: The film is based on a story about director Lulu Wang’s grandmother’s death that she shared on This American Life in 2016.
Quick recap: A fictionalized account of the real-life takedown of the men in power at Fox News by the women who accused them of sexual misconduct.
Buzz phrase: “Media’s Me Too moment.”
Fun fact: Despite an all-star cast (Charlize! Margot! Nicole!) and Globe nominations, this film has been—excuse the pun—a box-office bomb, taking in less than half of its $32 million budget.
#19 Jennifer Lopez
Quick recap: Jennifer Lopez gets a best actress nom for her work playing a stripper who takes her clients to the cleaners in Hustlers.
Buzz phrase: “It’s no Maid in Manhattan, but it’s fine.”
Fun fact: It’s been 21 years since Jennifer’s last Golden Globe nomination, which was a nod for Selena.
#20 The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Quick recap: Continuing its hot streak, this Prime show about a housewife who wants to make it as a stand-up in 1950s America hauled in yet more Golden Globe noms for its second season.
Buzz phrase: “Those costumes, tho.”
Fun fact: This show was created by the same people who made Gilmore Girls, hence the same mile-a-minute banter and pop-culture references that you only get about 20 seconds after they’ve whizzed past you.