Unlike most of the hardware handed out during awards season, the Golden Globes, which will be aired at 8 tonight, are not voted on by industry professionals. Unlike the Academy Awards, they aren't voted on by a large membership. Instead, the annual precursor to the Oscars is voted on by the about 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a nonprofit organization that uses the licensing fees garnered from the annual telecast to fund various entertainment-related charities.
Why does it matter? How is it that this award, given by a few journalist covering the American film industry for foreign publications, has become the second-hottest Hollywood ticket, trailing only the Oscars? How is it that as a television event the Globes, which on paper seem relatively meaningless, attract a significant audience?
The Globes have a couple of aces.
The first is that, unlike the Oscars, the Golden Globes serve food and, more significant, drinks to the assembled celebrities. The party atmosphere often equals entertainment value, particularly as the evening winds down. There's nothing quite like a well-buzzed acceptance speech to make an endless litany of agents, spouses and anonymous crew members more palatable.
The second is that although the voting body is considerably smaller than with other awards, and the credentials are sometimes viewed as suspect, the Golden Globes have proved to be an excellent indicator for Oscar success. In the Best Picture category, for instance, the Oscar has gone 18 out of 24 times to a Golden Globe winner.
The Golden Globes do nominate in both drama and comedy/musical, but with the Academy nominating 10 in the Best Picture category this year, the similarity is even more striking.
This year could prove to be the most entertaining yet.
It has been nearly 15 years since the Golden Globes had a single host. This year, British comedian Ricky Gervais was tapped. With a dry and improvisational wit, Mr. Gervais should stand up quite well against the liquor-lubricated celebrities going a bit long come acceptance speech time. Other highlights include the presentation of the Cecil B. DeMille Award for outstanding contributions to the entertainment industry to director Martin Scorsese.
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