The Golden Globes take place this Sunday evening (5am Monday, UAE time), and with all the talk of how the show will be affected by the seemingly never-ending allegations of sexual misconduct within the Hollywood bubble, black dress protests by nominees, and how Donald Trump's latest bizarre acts will play out on the stage, it may have escaped your notice that there are actually some awards to be handed out.
The Globes, presented by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are the first big industry shindig of the year, and usually offer clues as to what films we can expect to be in the running for the Oscars, which take place on March 4.
Here is our rundown of the runners and riders in some of the main categories for this year's Globes.
Best Picture - Drama
Nominees: Dunkirk; The Post; The Shape of Water; Call Me by Your Name; Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It's wide open in the Best Picture category this year with no clear standout favourite among the nominees. Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been widely praised for its epic scale, while Steven Spielberg's The Post was a huge hit with critics at press screenings prior to its December release in the United States (the movie releases on January 18 here) and could capitalise on the precedent set for decorating tales of hard-hitting newspaper exposés, by the Oscar-winning Spotlight (2015). Three Billboards meanwhile, has smashed the festival circuit, most recently in Dubai last month, while Call Me By Your Name deals with the kind of weighty issues awards judging panels love.
If forced to pick a favourite, however, I'd go with Guillermo Del Toro's The Shape of Water. Historically, the Globes judges have a heavier indie leaning than the other big awards, and it doesn't get much more indie than a visually stunning movie about a cleaning lady who falls in love with a fish, from the art-house darling, Mexican director of Pan's Labyrinth.
Best Picture - Comedy
Nominees: The Disaster Artist; Get Out; The Greatest Showman; I, Tonya; Lady Bird
This category looks like a straight-out battle between James Franco's The Disaster Artist and Greta Gerwig's Lady Bird. Get Out is receiving plenty of awards hype, but ultimately is neither a comedy nor a musical, so it would be a strange choice (although that didn't stop The Martian picking up the same award two years ago). I, Tonya has divided critics, and The Greatest Showman is probably just a bit too mainstream for the Globes. Of the two frontrunners, I'd venture Disaster Artist is the more entertaining movie, but Lady Bird will win on account of those indie leanings, and a host of critics' awards in December.
Best Actor - Drama
Nominees: Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name; Denzel Washington, Roman J Israel, Esq; Tom Hanks, The Post; Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread; Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
The Globes love a new face, so I'd hazard a guess at Chalamet here for his inspired performance in Call Me by Your Name, although Day-Lewis could be an alternative, sentimental choice, having announced his retirement following Phantom Thread. Oldman's performance as Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour probably has a claim to be the most deserving of an award too, but his relationship with the Globes is fractious at best, having described them as "bent" in 2012, so unless forgiveness is in the air this year he seems an unlikely winner.
Best Actress - Drama
Nominees: Jessica Chastain, Molly's Game; Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water; Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Meryl Streep, The Post; Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World
This year should be the year Frances McDormand picks up a Globe, following five previous nominations. But there's strong competition for sure, and Meryl Streep can never be discounted, thanks to her hobby of hoovering up awards for fun, but McDormand's performance in Three Billboards has won over critics and audiences alike, and she is well overdue Globe recognition having missed out with films including 1997's Fargo and 2008's Burn After Reading.
Best Actor - Comedy or Musical
Nominees: Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes; Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver; James Franco, The Disaster Artist; Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman; Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
It's hard to see beyond James Franco in this category. His performance as the eccentric filmmaker Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist was inspired, and surely one of the best of the year outright, not just in the comedy or musical category. His competitors have all given perfectly commendable performances in their respective movies, but if there's any justice in Golden Globeland, they don't even need discussing as they simply won't win. The strongest competition is from Kaluuya, although as previously mentioned Get Out is really in the wrong category.
Best Actress - Comedy or Musical
Nominees: Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul; Margot Robbie, I, Tonya; Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird; Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes; Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker
It's a much tougher call in the Best Actress category when it comes to comedies or musicals. Judi Dench and Helen Mirren both have the required stature to sway panel votes, as do current Hollywood darlings Stone and Robbie. The response to Lady Bird has been so positive, however, and the film's success rests so heavily on Ronan's performance as the loveable Christine, that she has to have a slight edge on her more established competition.
Nominees: Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water; Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri; Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk; Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World; Steven Spielberg, The Post
It's another tight pack for the Best Director gong. Having already tipped del Toro for Best Picture he surely has to be in with a good chance here too, and big names like Spielberg and Scott clearly have huge clout with awards panels. McDonagh, meanwhile, brings the indie cred the Globes love to the table, and as a Brit fits in with the Foreign Press Association's understandable love of foreign directors. For sheer scale of spectacle, however, Nolan's work on the epic Dunkirk deserves recognition here, despite the film's other flaws and especially since, despite a storied and award-laden career, Nolan has yet to pick up a Globe.
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