This pandemic edition will be broadcast from two scaled-down venues, with frontline and essential workers among the few in attendance
Hollywood's award season kicks off Sunday at a very different Golden Globes, with a mainly virtual ceremony set to boost or dash the Oscars hopes of early frontrunners like “Nomadland” and “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”
Usually a star-packed, laid-back party that draws Tinseltown's biggest names to a Beverly Hills hotel ballroom, this pandemic edition will be broadcast from two scaled-down venues, with frontline and essential workers among the few in attendance.
Deprived of its usual glamour, the Globes — which also honour the best in television — remain a coveted prize, and a high-profile source of momentum in the run-up to the season-crowning Oscars, which were pushed back this year to April.
“Nomadland,” Chloe Zhao's paean to a marginalized, older generation of Americans roaming the West in rundown vans, has long been viewed as a frontrunner for the Globes' top prize.
But it will face stiff competition from Aaron Sorkin's “Chicago 7,” a courtroom drama about the city's anti-war riots in 1968 with a mouth-watering ensemble cast including Mark Rylance, Eddie Redmayne and Sacha Baron Cohen.
Both films are fueled by their timely themes of protest and joblessness.
“I think that it's likeliest between them,” said The Hollywood Reporter's awards columnist Scott Feinberg.
“And then the spoiler, if something were to come out of left field, would probably be ‘Promising Young woman,' which is just unlike anything else in recent memory.”
Its star Carey Mulligan — playing a revenge-seeker who lurks at bars, feigning drunkenness to lure men into revealing their own misogyny — is tipped by many to win best actress.
She will have to fend off Frances McDormand's grounded and nuanced turn alongside a cast of non-actors in “Nomadland,” and Viola Davis' portrayal of a legendary 1920s crooner in “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.”
– ‘Hard to resist' -The other films vying for best drama, the night's final and most prestigious prize, are “Mank” — David Fincher's ode to “Citizen Kane,” which topped the overall nominations with six — and “The Father” starring Anthony Hopkins.
Hopkins, who has never won a competitive Globe despite seven previous nominations, has been showered with praise for his harrowing portrayal of the onset of dementia.
But he is up against sentimental favourite Chadwick Boseman, the “Black Panther” star who died last August from cancer at age 43.
Boseman is nominated for his kinetic performance as a tragic young trumpet player opposite Davis in “Ma Rainey.”
“This is his best part, and the backstory is that he knew this might be his last performance — so that's kind of hard to resist,” said Variety awards editor Tim Gray.
The race will be closely watched by groups including Time's Up, who this week slammed the Globes-awarding Hollywood Foreign Press association for failing to admit a single Black member.
“I support and congratulate all the nominees, but the HFPA needs to change in meaningful ways,” tweeted actress Olivia Wilde. “Cosmetic fixes are not enough. #TimesUpGlobes.”
The HFPA released a statement recognizing that “we need to bring in Black members, as well as members from other under represented backgrounds.”
‘Two white guys'
The organization has voted for just one female as best director in 77 editions — and only ever nominated five women in the category before this year — but “Nomadland” director Zhao is tipped to buck that trend.
The race to emulate Barbra Streisand's 1984 win for “Yentl” has two other contenders: Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman) and Regina King (One Night in Miami”).
“This is a year when women have strong movies… that is good news, and deserving,” said Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond.
“But we'll see how it goes — in the end, David Fincher and Aaron Sorkin, two white guys, may win.”
Unlike the Oscars, the Globes split most movie categories into drama and “musical or comedy,” with Baron Cohen's “Borat” sequel and the Disney+ film of hit musical “Hamilton” leading the latter fields.
Baron Cohen also has a best supporting actor nod for “Chicago 7,” while the Globes offer “Hamilton” its best shot at film honors after the Oscars declared the taping of Broadway shows ineligible.
‘Notice to Oscar voters'
The A-list audience and nominees are expected to largely remain at home, accepting awards via videolink — similar to the format of September's widely praised Emmys.
“The Life Ahead” director Edoardo Ponti told AFP he would be watching from his California home, while his mother and leading lady Sophia Loren remains in Switzerland.
“Of course you know it's going to be three o'clock in the morning when our category is up” for Loren, said Ponti.
“As soon as I know something, whatever happens, I'll communicate the news to her.”
Their movie competes for best foreign-language film, in a category featuring acclaimed Korean-American family drama “Minari,” which is viewed by some as an outside Oscar best picture candidate.
Sunday's Globes ceremony is being held just five days before Oscars voting begins.
“Those wins will be fresh,” said Gray.
“If you win a Golden Globe… it's a notice to Oscar voters — you'd better see this film before you vote, because it's worth looking at.”
List of key Golden Globe nominees
Here are the nominees in key categories for the 78th Golden Globe Awards, which will be handed out on Sunday.
Netflix's “Mank” — set in Hollywood's Golden Age about the making of “Citizen Kane” — leads all films with six nominations, followed by another Netflix movie, “The Trial of the Chicago 7,” at five.
Comedians Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will be back to host the event — the first major awards show of a pandemic-era season that culminates with the Oscars on April 25 — though they will be live on opposite coasts due to the health crisis.
FILM: Best film, drama
“Promising Young Woman”
“The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Best film, musical or comedy
“Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Best actor, drama
Riz Ahmed, “Sound of Metal”
Chadwick Boseman, “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”
Anthony Hopkins, “The Father”
Gary Oldman, “Mank”
Tahar Rahim, “The Mauritarian”
Best actress, drama
Viola Davis, “Ma Rainey's Black Bottom”
Andra Day, “The United States vs Billie Holiday”
Vanessa Kirby, “Pieces of a Woman”
Frances McDormand, “Nomadland”
Carey Mulligan, “Promising Young Woman”
Best actor, musical or comedy
Sacha Baron Cohen, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
James Corden, “The Prom”
Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton”
Dev Patel, “The Personal History of David Copperfield”
Andy Samberg, “Palm Springs”
Best actress, musical or comedy
Maria Bakalova, “Borat Subsequent Moviefilm”
Kate Hudson, “Music”
Michelle Pfeiffer, “French Exit”
Rosamund Pike, “I Care A Lot”
Anya taylor-Joy, “Emma”
Best supporting actor
Sacha Baron Cohen, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Judas and the Black Messiah”
Jared Leto, “The Little Things”
Bill Murray, “On the Rocks”
Leslie Odom, Jr, “One Night in Miami”
Best supporting actress
Glenn Close, “Hillbilly Elegy”
Olivia Colman, “The Father”
Jodie Foster, “The Mauritanian”
Amanda Seyfried, “Mank”
Helena Zengel, “News of the World”
Emerald Fennell, “Promising Young Woman”
David Fincher, “Mank”
Regina King, “One Night in Miami”
Aaron Sorkin, “The Trial of the Chicago 7”
Chloe Zhao, “Nomadland”
Best foreign language film
“The Life Ahead”
“Two of Us”
Best animated feature
“The Croods: A New Age”
“Over the Moon”
TELEVISION -Best drama series
Best drama actor
Jason Bateman, “Ozark”
Josh O'Connor, “The Crown”
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul”
Al Pacino, “Hunters”
Matthew Rhys, “Perry Mason”
Best drama actress
Olivia Colman, “The Crown”
Jodie Comer, “killing Eve”
Emma Corrin, “The Crown”
Laura Linney, “Ozark”
Sarah Paulson, “Ratched”
Best musical or comedy series
“Emily in Paris”
“The Flight Attendant”
Best musical or comedy actor
Don Cheadle, “Black monday”
Nicholas Hoult, “The Great”
Eugene Levy, “Schitt's Creek”
Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”
Ramy Youssef, “Ramy”
Best musical or comedy actress
Lily Collins, “Emily in Paris”
Kaley cuoco, “The Flight Attendant”
Elle Fanning, “The Great”
Jane Levy, “Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist”
Catherine O'Hara, “Schitt's Creek”
Best limited series or TV movie
“The Queen's Gambit”
Best limited series or TV movie actor
Bryan Cranston, “Your Honor”
Jeff Daniels, “The Comey Rule”
Hugh Grant, “The Undoing”
Ethan Hawke, “The Good Lord Bird”
Mark Ruffalo, “I Know This Much Is True”
Best limited series or TV movie actress
Cate Blanchett, “Mrs America”
Daisy Edgar-Jones, “Normal People”
Shira Haas, “Unorthodox”
Nicole Kidman, “The Undoing”
Anya Taylor-Joy, “The Queen's Gambit”
FILMS WITH MOST NOMINATIONS
”Mank” – 6
“The Trial of the Chicago 7” – 5
“The Father” – 4
“Nomadland” – 4
“Promising Young Woman” – 4