The conventional wisdom is that Tina Fey and Amy Poehler were picked to co-host the Golden Globes in January to burnish the ceremony's cool factor. But some Hollywood insiders regard the high profile selection as a way for the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. to poke the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for recently opting to announce Oscar nominations three days before the 2013 Globes ceremony.
Fey and Poehler are "really a smart and wonderful choice," says HFPA member H.J. Park, who writes for the Korea Times and reviews movies for Radio Seoul. "It's a coup against the academy, who hates us."
The news grabbed bigger headlines and, arguably, a more positive reaction than the academy's recent naming of "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane as Oscar host.
PHOTOS: Golden Globe 2012 winners
"Good luck to Tina Fey and Amy Poehler at the Golden Globes," Ricky Gervais, the show's host for the last three ceremonies, said Tuesday in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. "After failing three years in a row to make E! Channel's Best Dressed list, I decided to hand over the reins. Let me know if you run out of Scientology gags."
As the only other film awards show televised in prime time on a broadcast network, the Globes are the closest thing the Oscars have to a rival. The Globes pulled in 16.8 million viewers earlier this year, while 39.3 million people tuned into the Billy Crystal-hosted Oscar telecast in February. The Globes will be broadcast on NBC on Jan. 13.
Previously, Golden Globes winners have enjoyed a little over a week to tout their victories before surrendering the limelight to Oscar nominations. But this year's revised calendar complicates matters since, in the awards-season hierarchy, the Oscars trump the Globes in prestige.
PHOTOS: Golden Globes 2012 arrivals
"They always say they don't think of the Golden Globes as their threat, but still they keep moving their nominations date ever earlier," Park said. "Of course, they say it doesn't have to do anything with us."
But HFPA members say they won't lose any sleep over the latest scheduling shift.
"The timing really doesn't affect us one way or another," said HFPA President Aida Takla-O'Reilly. "After all, we are honoring the members of the academy. There is not a competition in my mind. We are just getting there first. And with Tina and Amy, two super ladies, we know we're going to have a great show."
The partnership between the two fortysomething women goes back to at least a decade, when Poehler joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live." By then, Fey had been head writer at the show for two years and had just started appearing in sketches.
PHOTOS: Oscar hosts through the years
In her book "Bossypants," Fey admiringly recalled Poehler's tough attitude in the notorious boys' club of "SNL."
"Amy made it clear that she wasn't there to be cute. She wasn't there to play wives and girlfriends in the boys' scenes. She was there to do what she wanted to do and she did not ... care if you like it," she wrote in the bestseller. "With Amy there, I felt less alone."
When Jimmy Fallon left the show in 2004, Poehler joined Fey on "Weekend Update," the first time two women co-anchored the segment. Fey angled for the "younger, blonder and smaller" Poehler to get the job. "Either I'm a true feminist, or I have the worst show business instincts of anyone I know," she has said.
THE ENVELOPE: The awards insider
The friends also began appearing together on the big screen. Poehler played an inappropriate "cool mom" in "Mean Girls," the 2004 Lindsay Lohan film that Fey wrote and also starred in. The women reunited in 2008's "Baby Mama," with Fey playing the part of an ambitious career woman who hires Poehler's irresponsible character to be her surrogate.
That same year, Fey returned briefly to "SNL" to play Sarah Palin opposite Poehler's seething Hillary Rodham Clinton in one of the election season's most memorable sketches.
Since 2009, their respective sitcoms, "30 Rock" and "Parks and Recreation," have been staples of NBC's Thursday-night lineup, where they've managed to create new female TV archetypes: Fey as Liz Lemon, the disheveled head writer of a late-night sketch-comedy show, and Poehler as Leslie Knope, an idealistic councilwoman in small-town Indiana.
This will be the first time the Globes have been hosted by a pair of women, although Raquel Welch and Joan Collins co-hosted alongside male stars (in 1985 and 1983, respectively).
Oscar Race: Who's in the lead?
TIMELINE: Academy Awards through the years
The Envelope: Awards Insider