The Golden Globes ceremony is celebrated for its informal, bacchanal qualities — and derided for its small, less-than-Oscar-like voting body. But when the ceremony kicks off on NBC Sunday night, it will offer some meaty awards story lines, both for the Globes themselves and the season that continues after the show ends. Herewith, a handful to watch.
Picture perfect. Often it’s best drama that grabs all the attention at the Globes, since that solidifies a front-runner for the Oscars. But “Lincoln,” which is a favorite to win best drama at the Globes, is already an Oscar front-runner. The juice comes with comedy/musical, where “Silver Linings Playbook,” an Oscar challenger to “Lincoln,” is nominated at the Globes. If the David O. Russell dramedy can pull off the win tonight, it will establish itself as a solid alternative to the Spielberg history piece. If “Silver Linings” can’t upset “Les Miserables,” the favorite in their Globes category, “Lincoln” will even further widen its Oscar lead.
Actress action. Jessica Chastain is a favorite at both the Globes and the Oscars for her turn as a headstrong CIA agent in terrorist manhunt pic “Zero Dark Thirty.” But to win the Globe for best drama actress she’ll have to vanquish four actresses of the type Globes voters love: non-Americans with deep resumes (non-Americans have won as often as Americans in this Globes category over the last six years). Marion Cotillard, Helen Mirren, Naomi Watts and Rachel Weisz are Chastain’s competition, and any of them, except maybe Weisz, has a reasonable shot of taking the prize. That would be a blow to Chastain’s Oscar chances, though she’ll remain the front-runner.
Directing traffic. The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. can go its enjoyably wacky way in a lot of categories. The director award is no exception — last year the HFPA handed it to Martin Scorsese for “Hugo” (it’s given awards to Scorsese and Oliver Stone pretty much whenever those guys make a movie). Spielberg is the odds-on favorite here, as he is at the Oscars, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the HFPA jury-nullify with a Bigelow or Affleck after they were snubbed for Oscar nominations. The HFPA could also give Quentin Tarantino in the Weinstein Co.-distributed “Django Unchained” the prize. No one’s talking about him for awards consideration -- exactly the way the HFPA likes it. Also, it’s Harvey.
Foreign fun. An area the HFPA knows well by dint of its membership. (It’s also an area they’ve gotten back on the same page as the Oscars in the last two years after five straight years of diverging.) The big question is whether “Intouchables,” a global blockbuster that didn’t make the Oscar cut, achieves its revenge. The HFPA can go French with “Rust & Bone” too. Expect one of the two -- and another year when the Globes diverge from the Oscars -- though Michael Haneke’s “Amour” isn’t out of the running either: The HFPA gave this prize to Haneke the last time he made a movie.
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