Serious film types often dismiss the Globes as largely irrelevant to the inner workings of Hollywood, since the awards are chosen by a small and self-selected group of foreign film journalists, few of whom are credentialed to major media organizations.
But that hasn’t stopped the awards show from becoming one of the best-known Hollywood events of the year, which succeeds in attracting all the major stars, and which is capable of giving winning movies a powerful boost with audiences.
Since 1956 the Globes have been honoring the best of television as well as film, unlike the Oscars, which focus only on movies.
In the past, the Golden Globes have had a haphazard record at predicting Oscar success. That is unlikely to change this year.
But with critics acclaiming this year’s crop of movies one of the most award-worthy in recent memory, there’s bound to be a significant overlap.
That augurs well for “12 Years a Slave” and “American Hustle,” the two movies which came out on top of the nominations, earning seven nods apiece.
Unlike the Oscars, the Golden Globes split their choice in two - choosing separate pictures for best drama and best comedy or musical.
That means that Steve McQueen’s haunting tale of a free black man kidnapped into slavery in pre-civil war America is the clear favorite to win the award for best drama, while David O Russell’s finely crafted caper about an FBI corruption sting operation is just as sure to win for best comedy or musical.
The odds are best reflected in a closely-watched poll of experts conducted by entertainment awards site GoldDerby.com. Of the 19 experts it asked, 18 predicted victory for “American Hustle,” with just a single dissenter going for the poignant tale “Nebraska.”
The other nominees are “Her,” about a man who falls in love with his computer, “Inside Llewyn Davis,” a rom-com set in the folk music scene of 1960s New York, and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” Martin Scorsese’s keenly observed critique of the excesses of the finance industry.
Similarly, 14 of GoldDerby’s experts chose “12 Years a Slave” as the best drama, with the other five going for Alfonso Cuaron’s brilliantly-made space thriller “Gravity.” The other nominees are maritime thriller “Captain Phillips,” Formula 1 epic “Rush,” and “Philomena,” about a woman’s quest to track down the baby she gave away for adoption.
If such equations take much of the suspense out of the show, there’s still plenty of other reasons to tune in to the broadcast. Last year Tina Fey and Amy Poehler earned some of the strongest raves ever for hosts of an awards show with their charming, down-to-earth and often hilarious stint as the co-hosts.
In contrast to other recent Oscar and Golden Globe hosts, they seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as many in the audience, and had no need to descend into vulgarities or character assassinations in an effort to induce laughter. Fey and Poehler are returning Sunday night.
Film fans also will not want to miss the cavalcade of glamorous stars who will be strutting the red carpet, and enjoying the endless supply of fancy champagne and a gourmet dinner made with local California ingredients.
This year’ faces will include Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, who are up for best actress in a comedy or musical, as well as Amy Adams, Julie Delpy, Greta Gerwig, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Meryl Streep, who are competing for the best dramatic actress prize.
Among the men, Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar Isaac and Joaquin Phoenix are the nominees for the best actor in a comedy or musical, while Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey and Robert Redford are vying for the dramatic acting award. Redford has never been nominated for an acting Golden Globe, so now, at the age of 77, it may finally be his time to shine.
KEY GOLDEN GLOBE NOMINATIONS
The following is a list of nominations in the major Golden Globe categories:
Best motion picture - drama
12 Years a Slave
Best motion picture - comedy or musical
Inside Llewyn Davis
The Wolf of Wall Street
Best performance by an actress in a motion picture - drama
Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine
Sandra Bullock - Gravity
Judi Dench - Philomena
Emma Thompson - Saving Mr. Banks
Kate Winslet - Labor Day
Best performance by an actor in a motion picture - drama
Chiwetel Ejiofor - 12 Years a Slave
Idris Elba - Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
Tom Hanks - Captain Phillips
Matthew McConaughey - Dallas Buyers Club
Robert Redford - All Is Lost
Best performance by an actress in a motion picture - comedy or musical
Amy Adams - American Hustle
Julie Delpy - Before Midnight
Greta Gerwig - Frances Ha
Julia Louis-Dreyfus - Enough Said
Meryl Streep - August: Osage County
Best performance by an actor in a motion picture - comedy or musical
Christian Bale - American Hustle
Bruce Dern - Nebraska
Leonardo DiCaprio - The Wolf of Wall Street
Oscar Isaac - Inside Llewyn Davis
Joaquin Phoenix - Her
Best animated feature film
Despicable Me 2
Best foreign language film
Blue is the Warmest Color (France)
The Great Beauty (Italy)
The Hunt (Denmark)
The Past (Iran)
The Wind Rises (Japan)
Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture
Sally Hawkins - Blue Jasmine
Jennifer Lawrence - American Hustle
Lupita Nyong’o - 12 Years a Slave
Julia Roberts - August: Osage County
June Squibb - Nebraska
Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture
Barkhad Abdi - Captain Phillips
Daniel Bruehl - Rush
Bradley Cooper - American Hustle
Michael Fassbender - 12 Years a Slave
Jared Leto - Dallas Buyers Club
Best director - motion picture
Alfonso Cuaron - Gravity
Paul Greengrass - Captain Phillips
Steve McQueen - 12 Years a Slave
Alexander Payne - Nebraska
David O. Russell - American Hustle
Best screenplay - motion picture
Spike Jonze - Her
Bob Nelson - Nebraska
Jeff Pope, Steve Coogan - Philomena
John Ridley - 12 Years a Slave
Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell - American Hustle
Best television series - drama
The Good Wife
House of Cards
Masters of Sex
Best television series - comedy or musical
The Big Bang
Parks and Recreation