Charlize Theron walks the red carpet at the 69th Golden Globe Awards show… (Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles…)
Golden Globe nominations will be announced Thursday around 5:30 a.m. Pacific time, pushing Hollywood's award season into high gear just a day after nominees for SAG Awards were unveiled.
The Golden Globes have become the second most important stop on Hollywood’s endless award-season caravan — an unusual fact given the pedigree (obscure) and quantity (fewer than 90) of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. voters who award the statuettes.
Thursday morning's announcement of the nominees for the 70th Golden Globes are unlikely to change fundamentally the dynamics of the Academy Award race, largely because the HFPA recognizes movies and lead acting performances in two different categories -- drama and comedy/musical. So there are twice as many lead actors and actresses (10) nominated by the HFPA than are shortlisted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
HFPA members are somewhat notorious for singling out A-list celebrities for recognition, even if they were in poorly reviewed films. Typically, there's at least one head-scratching whopper selection that seems mainly about attracting star wattage to the January telecast.
FULL COVERAGE: Golden Globe nominations
Nevertheless, movie studios and independent distributors will watch the Globe selections closely and are always eager to use a Globe nomination (or win) in marketing campaigns. This year, the studios will be checking to see if their major contenders (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Argo,” “Lincoln,” “Les Miserables”) will continue to enjoy good will moving toward the Oscars. Meanwhile, backers for some longer-shot rivals (“The Master,” “The Sessions,” “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel”) will be hoping for a nomination to give their films some extra oomph before Oscar voters begin filling out their nomination ballots next week.
Wednesday’s Screen Actors Guild awards were not as kind to “Zero Dark Thirty” as some had predicted. The drama about the search for Osama bin Laden, which won't arrive in theaters until next week but has screened for awards voters, did not receive a SAG nomination for best ensemble, the actors’ union closest equivalent to the best picture Academy Award. The Globes may be kinder, largely owing to the structure of the awards and voting.
Because the HFPA divides most of its major movie awards into two categories — drama and musical or comedy — the Globes inevitably cast a broader net than other awards shows do. And because there are so few voters in the HFPA, it is often the case that more than five people are nominated in some categories. Ties for trophies are not unheard of.
AWARDS: OSCARS 2013 coverage
A year ago, the HFPA presented its top film awards to “The Descendants” (drama) and “The Artist” (musical or comedy), and “The Artist” won the best picture Oscar. But in trophies presented for 2010 movies, the Globes selected “The Social Network” and “The Kids Are All Right” as the respective best drama and musical or comedy. “The King's Speech,” however, won the top Oscar.
In 2007, “Dreamgirls” won the Golden Globe for best musical or comedy and wasn’t even nominated for the best picture Academy Award, while the Globe winner for drama, “Babel,” was nominated for an Oscar but lost the best picture statuette to “The Departed.”
The movie studios are largely free to select which Golden Globe category a film is considered in, which can make for some awkwardness. Focus Features, for example, somehow was able to place the historical FDR story “Hyde Park on Hudson,” which has neither songs nor many laughs, into the Globes grouping for musicals and comedies this year. Last year, the Weinstein Co. persuaded the HFPA to consider the serious Marilyn Monroe drama “My Week With Marilyn” in the musical/comedy category.
The awards are selected by a self-described group of entertainment journalists working for an array of obscure publications. Although some of their outlets are in major European, South American and Asian countries, a number are in smaller locales such as Tunisia, Dubai, Serbia and the French Antilles.
FULL COVERAGE: SAG nominations
Two seasons ago, Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp’s critical dud “The Tourist” received three Globes nominations (its only other award picks came from the Teen Choice Awards). Last season, Madonna’s poorly received “W.E.” was nominated for two Golden Globes -- song and score. If the Globes want to make an equally star-struck pick this year, look for Brad Pitt to receive some attention for his recent film “Killing Them Softly.”
Even some people who participate in the show, which also hands out awards for television shows and performers, take the whole affair with a few grains of salt.
Ricky Gervais, who hosted the Globes on three occasions, said during last winter’s broadcast: “For any of you who don't know, the Golden Globes are just like the Oscars, but without all that esteem. The Golden Globes are to the Oscars what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton — a bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought.”
The Golden Globes will be handed out Sunday, Jan. 13.
PHOTOS: 2013 SAG Award nominees
BUZZMETER: Who’s ahead in the Oscar race
VIDEO: Highlights from the Envelope Screening Series
PHOTOS: Best and worst moments from 2012 Golden Globe Awards
PHOTOS: Memorable red carpet moments
LIST: Complete list of nominees
THE ENVELOPE: Awards insider