Eleven of the 20 experts who voted picked Up In The Air to claim top honours as Best Film, while 10 gave Clooney the edge over Jeff Bridges (Crazy Heart) and Colin Firth (A Single Man) in the Best Drama Actor category.
The Best Drama Actress fight will be a closely contested battle between Sandra Bullock (The Blind Side) and Carey Mulligan (An Education), according to the critics.
It’s Complicated leads the way as the Best Comedy/Musical Picture, but the other four nominees – The Hangover, Julie & Julia, Nine and (500) Days of Summer – all get votes.
Robert Downey Jr.’s turn as Sherlock Holmes earned him the bulk of votes for Best Comedy/Musical Actor and Meryl Streep is the clear favourite to land the Best Comedy/Musical Actress.
Former couple Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) and James Cameron (Avatar) will battle it out for the Best Director prize – Cameron landed nine votes to Bigelow’s eight.
The Golden Globe Awards will be held in Los Angeles on 17 January (10).