The Golden Globes may lack the sheen of the more heralded Oscars and Emmys — but the stage is set Sunday for the awards show to deliver a lot more entertainment value.
That's in part because the Hollywood Foreign Press Association has produced an eclectic batch of nominees — including a leading six nominations for the Dick Cheney biopic "Vice," ahead of presumed Oscar favorites "A Star Is Born" (five) and "Roma" (three).
The 90 or so international journalists that make up the group are not industry insiders like those who belong to the Oscar-voting Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences or the Emmy-voting Television Academy. So they often don't stick to the standard award-season script.
Sunday's ceremony will also boast something else the Oscars currently don't: hosts. "Killing Eve" star Sandra Oh and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine" actor Andy Samberg will emcee the Globes.
In a wide-open award season, the only certainty is that the films that do win on Sunday won't necessarily be Oscar front-runners. But considering that the weeklong Academy Awards nomination process begins on Monday, just hours after the closing fanfare at the Globes, it's hard to imagine that there won't be some influence on those voters.
"In past years we knew there were usually two front-runners, but now it’s a free-for-all, and that’s why the Globes will help define the award season race, especially with the Oscars," Tom O'Neil, editor of the awards prediction site Gold Derby, told NBC News.
"Last year, the Globes correctly predicted all four acting awards for the Oscars, and the previous year it correctly predicted three out of the four, so contenders are essentially auditioning for the Oscars."
O'Neil points to the example of Hilary Swank, whose Globe acceptance speech for best actress for "Boys Don't Cry" in 2000 is believed to have propelled her to the Oscar lectern a few weeks later.
This year, diversity has reigned in the Best Motion Picture — Drama category, with Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman," Barry Jenkins' "If Beale Street Could Talk," and the superhero flick "Black Panther" taking three of the five slots for the most prestigious Golden Globe. "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "A Star Is Born" round out that category.
While many prognosticators are predicting "A Star Is Born" will win, the potential is there for a milestone or two for cinephiles of color.
"We were robbed of the celebration when 'Moonlight' won the Oscar, if you think about how that went down," said Wilson Morales, editor in chief of Black Film. "When they said, 'La La Land,' and later corrected it, that took a lot of out of the moment. We didn’t get the chance to jump in the air and be excited."
"If 'Black Panther' were to win at the Globes, and to see that cast go up on the stage, that would be huge for a lot of people," he said.
Just by making the cut, "Black Panther" becomes the first superhero movie to land such a nomination at the Golden Globes.
Lee also made the cut in the best director category — the first time since 1990, when he was nominated for "Do the Right Thing." The Brooklyn-based filmmaker has never been nominated for an Academy Award for directing, a slight that could change this year, particularly if Oscar voters are watching him give an acceptance speech this Sunday.
"You’ve never had a black director win a directing Golden Globe or an Oscar," said Wilson. "Spike Lee still manages to be a pioneer, especially should he win and become the first. Part of it would be a career achievement award, but 'BlacKkKlansman' is actually good on its own."
"Crazy Rich Asians," considered a milestone for Asian representation in a Hollywood film, notched a Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy nomination and a Best Actress-Musical or Comedy nod for star Constance Wu. "Vice," "Mary Poppins Returns," "Green Book" and "The Favourite" are the other four Best Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy nominees.
That diversity, however, doesn't extend so deeply into the other film categories. Only five out of the 30 nominees in the six acting categories are persons of color. And more than a year after the #metoo movement took the film industry by storm, women filmmakers were completely shut out of the directing category.
Though Alfonso Cuarón notched a best director nomination, his acclaimed drama "Roma" was relegated to Best Foreign Language Film because it was filmed in Spanish.
The Golden Globes are generally considered the second-most prestigious movie and television honors, after the Oscars and Emmys. The Globes, however, are not nearly as pretentious — in large part because alcohol is served. It tends to make for less staid speeches, especially later in the program, when the most important awards are introduced.
"The Globes are one of the last major award shows that are held at banquets after the others moved into big auditoriums," said O'Neil. "It's a glamorous party that has huge impact (on the film and TV industries)."
The FX Networks miniseries "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story" leads all programs with four nominations.
FX's "The Americans" is a sentimental favorite in the drama categories, as it's the final chance to reward the espionage series for an acclaimed run. The other nominees for Best Television Series-Drama include "Bodyguard" (Netflix), "Homecoming" (Amazon), "Killing Eve" (BBC America) and "Pose" (FX).
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Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel" is aiming to win a second straight Best Television Series-Musical or Comedy statuette, but faces competition from "Barry" (HBO), "The Good Place" (NBC), "Kidding" (Showtime), and "The Kominsky Method" (Netflix).
The Cecile B. deMille lifetime achievement award will go to Jeff Bridges, while Carol Burnett will be picking up the inaugural television special achievement award.