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'It's a free-for-all': How this year's Golden Globes could go more off-script than usual

Only the Hollywood Foreign Press Associations could make "Vice" a favorite at the Golden Globes over the critically acclaimed "A Star Is Born" and "Roma."

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).

Christian Bale as Dick Cheney in "Vice."Annapurna Pictures

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.

Producers for the Academy Awards have yet to announce a Plan B after its original host Kevin Hart was forced to step down in December after old homophobic tweets on his feed resurfaced.

Reading the tea leaves

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.

Potential for major diversity wins

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.

Constance Wu stars as Rachel in Warner Bros. Pictures' and SK Global Entertainment's contemporary romantic comedy "Crazy Rich Asians," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.Sanja Bucko

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.

Time to get loose...

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)."

Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, hosts of The 76th Golden Globe Awards.Trae Patton / NBC

On the television side ...

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).

Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys star in FX's "The Americans."Frank Ockenfels / FX

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.

Here is the full list of the nominees

Best Performance by an Actress, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television

  • Amy Adams, "Sharp Objects"
  • Patricia Arquette, "Escape at Dannemora"
  • Connie Britton, "Dirty John"
  • Laura Dern, "The Tale,"
  • Regina King, "Seven Seconds"

Best Television Series, Musical or Comedy

  • "Barry"
  • "The Good Place"
  • "Kidding"
  • "The Kominsky Method"
  • "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"

Best Motion Picture Foreign Language:

  • "Capernaum"
  • "Girl"
  • "Never Look Away"
  • "Roma"
  • "Shoplifters"

Best Television, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

  • "The Alienist"
  • "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
  • "Escape at Dannemora"
  • "Sharp Objects"
  • "A Very English Scandal"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

  • Alan Arkin, "The Kominsky Method"
  • Kieran Culkin, "Succession"
  • Edgar Ramirez, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
  • Ben Wishaw, "A Very English Scandal"
  • Henry Winkler, "Barry"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Series, Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for TV:

  • Alex Borstein, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
  • Patricia Clarkson, "Sharp Objects"
  • Penélope Cruz, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
  • Thandie Newton, "Westworld"
  • Yvonne Strahovski, "The Handmaid's Tale"

Best Screenplay, Motion Picture:

  • Alfonso Cuarón, "Roma
  • Deborah Davis, Tony McNamara, "The Favourite"
  • Barry Jenkins, "If Beale Street Could Talk
  • Adam McKay, "Vice"
  • Peter Farrelly, Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, "Green Book"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television:

  • Antonia Banderas, "Genius"
  • Daniel Bruhl, "The Alienist"
  • Darren Criss, "The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story"
  • Benedict Cumberbatch, "Patrick Melrose"
  • Hugh Grant, "A Very English Scandal"

Best Original Score, Motion Picture:

  • Marco Beltrami, "A Quiet Place"
  • Alexandre Desplat, "Isle of Dogs"
  • Ludwig Göransson, "Black Panther"
  • Justin Hurwitz, "First Man"
  • Marc Shaiman, "Mary Poppins Returns"

Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy:

  • Kristen Bell, "The Good Place"
  • Candace Bergen, "Murphy Brown"
  • Alison Brie, "Glow"
  • Rachel Brosnahan, "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"
  • Debra Messing, "Will & Grace"

Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series, Musical or Comedy:

  • Sacha Baron Cohen, "Who Is America?"
  • Jim Carrey, "Kidding"
  • Michael Douglas, "The Kominsky Method"
  • Donald Glover, "Atlanta"
  • Bill Hader, "Barry"

Best Motion Picture, Animated:

  • "Incredibles 2"
  • "Isle of Dogs"
  • "Mirai"
  • "Ralph Breaks the Internet"
  • "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

Best Actress in a TV Series, Drama:

  • Caitriona Balfe, "Outlander"
  • Elisabeth Moss, "The Handmaid's Tale"
  • Sandra Oh, "Killing Eve"
  • Julia Roberts, "Homecoming"
  • Keri Russell, "The Americans"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy:

  • Christian Bale, "Vice"
  • Lin-Manuel Miranda, "Mary Poppins Returns"
  • Viggo Mortensen, "Green Book"
  • Robert Redford, "The Old Man & the Gun"
  • John C. Reilly, "Stan & Ollie"

Best Director, Motion Picture:

  • Bradley Cooper, "A Star Is Born"
  • Alfonso Cuarón, "Roma"
  • Peter Farrelly, "Green Book"
  • Spike Lee, "BlacKkKlansman"
  • Adam McKay, "Vice"

Best Performance by an Actor in a TV Series, Drama:

  • Jason Bateman, "Ozark"
  • Stephen James, "Homecoming"
  • Richard Madeen, "The Bodyguard"
  • Billy Porter, "Pose"
  • Matthew Rhys, "The Americans"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture:

  • Mahershala Ali, "Green Book
  • Timothée Chalamet, "Beautiful Boy"
  • Adam Driver, "BlacKkKlansman"
  • Richard E. Grant, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"
  • Sam Rockwell, "Vice"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Drama:

  • Glenn Close, "The Wife"
  • Lady Gaga, "A Star Is Born"
  • Nicole Kidman, "Destroyer"
  • Melissa McCarthy, "Can You Ever Forgive Me?"
  • Rosamund Pike, "A Private War"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy:

  • Emily Blunt, "Mary Poppins Returns"
  • Olivia Coleman, "The Favourite"
  • Elsie Fisher, "Eighth Grade"
  • Charlize Theron, "Tully"
  • Constance Wu, "Crazy Rich Asians"

Best Television Series, Drama:

  • "The Americans"
  • "Bodyguard"
  • "Homecoming"
  • "Killing Eve"
  • "Pose"

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in Any Motion Picture:

  • Amy Adams, "Vice"
  • Claire Foy, "First Man"
  • Regina King, "If Beale Street Could Talk"
  • Emma Stone, "The Favourite"
  • Rachel Weisz, "The Favourite"

Best Original Song, Motion Picture:

  • "All the Stars," "Black Panther"
  • "Girl in the Movies," "Dumplin'"
  • "Requiem for a Private War," "A Private War"
  • "Revelation," "Boy Erased"
  • "Shallow," "A Star Is Born"

Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama:

  • Bradley Cooper, "A Star is Born"
  • Willem Dafoe, "At Eternity's Gate"
  • Lucas Hedges, "Boy Erased"
  • Rami Malek, "Bohemian Rhapsody"
  • John David Washington, "BlacKkKlansman"

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy:

  • "Crazy Rich Asians"
  • "The Favourite"
  • "Green Book"
  • "Mary Poppins Returns"
  • "Vice"

Best Motion Picture Drama:

  • "Black Panther"
  • "BlacKkKlansman"
  • "Bohemian Rhapsody"
  • "If Beale Street Could Talk"
  • "A Star Is Born"