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What to Watch For at the Golden Globes

According to the NY Times, here are a few thing to watch for during the Golden Globes.

The Golden Globes begin at 8 p.m. on NBC. Follow our red carpet coverage.

For casual movie fans, the annual Oscar race starts here: the Golden Globe Awards, which will be broadcast live on Sunday night in all its champagne-soaked glory.

Oscar hopefuls, of course, have been racing for months — all the way back to last January, when “The Birth of a Nation” (since fizzled) and “Manchester by the Sea” (still in the thick of it) popped up on the festival circuit. And, truth be told, the Globes hold little bearing on the Academy Awards. Globes are won and lost based on the opinions of 85 foreign journalists; more than 6,000 film professionals vote on the Oscars.

But the Globes offer plenty of intrigue.

A win by Mel Gibson, nominated for his direction of the World War II drama “Hacksaw Ridge,” would drop jaws and allow him to elbow into the Oscar race after a decade as a Hollywood outcast. Several little-seen art films, including the coming-of-age drama “Moonlight,” nominated for six trophies, and “Lion,” an adoption tear-jerker with four nominations, are hoping for a box-office-boosting blast of attention.

Movies get most of the scrutiny at the Globes because of their proximity to the Academy Awards. (Oscar nomination ballots are due on Friday.) But the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the group behind the Globes, has worked in recent years to make its television honors more relevant by leaning toward rookie shows like “The Affair” and “Transparent.” Will the Netflix royal drama “The Crown” be anointed this year?

Most awards prognosticators are betting it will. But never mind the trophies: Hollywood stylists have spent most of the week fretting about the weather forecast. For days, it looked like torrential rain would threaten a repeat of the 2010 Globes ceremony, when the red carpet turned into a swamp. On Sunday, however, Angelenos awakened to “another day of sun,” to borrow a lyric from the musical “La La Land,” up for seven awards on Sunday. (Rain could still soak the after-parties, however.)

Here are a few other matters to consider ahead of the show, which will again be managed by Dick Clark Productions, the same live TV company that gave the world Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve meltdown.

Photo

Mahershala Ali, left, and Alex Hibbert in “Moonlight.” CreditDavid Bornfriend/A24

‘Moonlight’ vs. ‘Manchester’

Hollywood has gotten so good at reading tea leaves ahead of these ceremonies that most insiders (and anyone reading blogs like Gold Derby) are rarely surprised anymore. Count on the moody “La La Land” to win best musical or comedy on Sunday night. Emma Stone is considered a best actress lock for that film. Viola Davis will almost certainly take best supporting actress for her performance in “Fences,” an adaptation of August Wilson’s play about family and race in the 1950s.

But the best drama category is a nail-biter. “Moonlight,” directed by Barry Jenkins, who also adapted the screenplay, could easily win. So could the New England family drama “Manchester by the Sea,” directed and written by Kenneth Lonergan. Both films received euphoric reviews. With six nominations, the lyrical “Moonlight” has slightly deeper support; the hardscrabble “Manchester” has five, including one for Casey Affleck’s acting. (He could well win.)

Here are a few other matters to consider ahead of the show, which will again be managed by Dick Clark Productions, the same live TV company that gave the world Mariah Carey’s New Year’s Eve meltdown.

Photo

Mahershala Ali, left, and Alex Hibbert in “Moonlight.” CreditDavid Bornfriend/A24

‘Moonlight’ vs. ‘Manchester’

Hollywood has gotten so good at reading tea leaves ahead of these ceremonies that most insiders (and anyone reading blogs like Gold Derby) are rarely surprised anymore. Count on the moody “La La Land” to win best musical or comedy on Sunday night. Emma Stone is considered a best actress lock for that film. Viola Davis will almost certainly take best supporting actress for her performance in “Fences,” an adaptation of August Wilson’s play about family and race in the 1950s.

But the best drama category is a nail-biter. “Moonlight,” directed by Barry Jenkins, who also adapted the screenplay, could easily win. So could the New England family drama “Manchester by the Sea,” directed and written by Kenneth Lonergan. Both films received euphoric reviews. With six nominations, the lyrical “Moonlight” has slightly deeper support; the hardscrabble “Manchester” has five, including one for Casey Affleck’s acting. (He could well win.)

For better or worse, this rivalry has taken on greater weight as Hollywood continues to struggle with diversity onscreen and off. “Moonlight” has a cast that is almost entirely black; “Manchester” is equally white.

Photo

Andrew Garfield In Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge.” CreditMark Rogers/Lionsgate

Time for a comeback?

It could be possible, however, that Mr. Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” pulls off an upset win for best drama. Heading into the Globes, some prognosticators, including Kristopher Tapley of Variety, were making that prediction. That would be controversial — Mr. Gibson is still trying to recover from his 2006 anti-Semitic outburst after being arrested on a drunken-driving charge and for his 2011 no-contest plea to a misdemeanor charge of battering a former girlfriend.

But “Hacksaw Ridge,” which has already collected assorted prizes, has started to turn the tide for Mr. Gibson, who is now sober. Globes voters have long had a soft spot for Mr. Gibson, bringing him on as a presenter even as other awards groups shunned him. On the other hand, Ricky Gervais, the acerbic British comedian, skewered Mr. Gibson onstage last year, to the degree that many guests in ballroom cringed.

Look to this year’s host, Jimmy Fallon, for early clues, namely cutting the freshly debearded Mr. Gibson some slack during his opening monologue and reserving his arrows for the president-elect.

Photo

Meryl Streep, speaking at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia last July.CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

Expect political talk, most of it wry

With the inauguration of Donald J. Trump on the horizon, Mr. Fallon has already promised some political zingers. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mr. Fallon responded to a question about Mr. Trump by calling the Globes “the first and maybe the last party that we’ll have in 2017.”

Since a vast majority of stars and studio executives were horrified by the outcome of the election — and since there is a long history of celebrities using awards shows to espouse their views — expect more than a few winners to join Mr. Fallon in criticizing Mr. Trump. Don’t go to the refrigerator for a snack, in other words (or do, depending on your politics), when Meryl Streep, a 30-time Globes nominee and eight-time winner, takes the stage to accept her Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award.

Ms. Streep, don’t forget, gave an impassioned speech at last summer’s Democratic National Convention on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

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Naomie Harris, on the red carpet at the National Board of Review Awards last Wednesday.CreditStephanie Keith/Reuters

An eye on the red carpet

No matter the weather, the Golden Globes mark the official start of red-carpet catwalk season. Though in past years, stars have stuck to formulaic, crowd-pleasing choices — tiers of ruffles, sweeping skirts, mermaid gowns and oodles of sparkles — last year, female attendees seemed determined to be out with the old. Will this year bring more risks and more modernity? More patterns? Colors? Have ruffles and sparkles really gone the way of the mani-cam, the gimmicky jewelry-displaying device? Pay attention to stylish nominees like Naomie Harris, Michelle Williams, Natalie Portman and Ruth Negga to find out. As for the gents, keep your eyes on Tom Ford, Tom Hiddleston and Donald Glover.

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Claire Foy and Matt Smith in “The Crown.” CreditRobert Viglasky/Netflix

Netflix’s year, at last?

Even though Netflix has upended the TV industry, that streaming service is still looking for a win in the best drama or comedy category at the Globes (and the Emmys, for that matter). But it has a solid shot this year, with both “The Crown,” about the present Queen Elizabeth, and “Stranger Things,” a breakout hit baked with 1980s nostalgia, vying for the top television honor.

Those rookie series will compete against two other freshmen: “Westworld,” the HBO series that practically requires a Ph.D. to understand, and NBC’s feel-good “This Is Us,” which is trying to become the first broadcast network drama to win since ABC’s “Grey’s Anatomy” a decade ago. Rounding out the category is “Game of Thrones.”

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Winona Ryder in “Stranger Things,” from Netflix. CreditNetflix

Another closely watched television race will be for best comedic actress. The four-time Globe winner Sarah Jessica Parker, nominated for her role as a 40-something suburban mother in HBO’s “Divorce,” will be going up against her HBO network mates Issa Rae, nominated for her much-loved performance in “Insecure,” and Julia Louis-Dreyfus from the Emmy favorite “Veep.” Also nominated are Tracee Ellis Ross (“black-ish”) and last year’s winner, Rachel Bloom (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”).

Getting serious about comedy

Globe voters have ardently tried to leave behind their reputation for paying more attention to celebrity than honoring the year’s best performances. Once upon a time, Globe attendees also bellied up to the open bar in a boozy spectacle, but nominees — heeding the scolding eyes of their publicists — have largely started sticking to water. (One thing that never changes: Much of the food served to the 1,300 seated guests inside the Beverly Hilton’s International Ballroom goes uneaten. This year, the menu included roasted Chilean sea bass with sun-dried tomato pesto and chocolate gianduja crunch bars with “strawberry relish.”)

For those craving a little of the gloriously messy Globes of old, however, look to the enduringly wacky category of best motion picture musical or comedy, which often includes nominated films that are neither funny (at least, not intentionally) or filled with song. Last year, that uproarious side-splitter “The Martian,” about a starving, stranded astronaut, was not only nominated in that category, but also won.

The ensuing uproar prompted a rules change: “Dramas with comedic overtones should be entered as dramas.” That didn’t seem to matter to “20th Century Women,” a serious-minded portrait of a woman and her friends in the 1970s. It will compete against “La La Land” in the category, along with “Sing Street,” “Florence Foster Jenkins” and the superhero movie “Deadpool.”

Even so, progress! “La La Land” is indeed a musical, and “Deadpool” is indeed funny. Already, that achievement has earned Globes organizers a pat on the back.

 

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