A galaxy of stars will descend on Beverly Hills on Sunday to honor the best in film and television as the 2018 awards season opens with the Golden Globes, with the spectre of sexual harassment scandals weighing on the party.
This year's ceremony is seen as the first big opportunity for Hollywood to speak with one voice against a pervasive culture of misconduct brought to light by the downfall of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, unmasked as a serial predator.
The focus on Sunday night is expected to be as much on the stars' acceptance speeches and the messages behind some of the prizes as on the performances being honoured at the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's glitzy bash.
"The deluge of sexual misconduct revelations has been the story of the year, so it's safe to predict that it will be the story of the night at the Golden Globes," Debra Birnbaum, executive editor for television at industry weekly Variety, said.
"It will influence everything from Seth Meyers' monologue to impassioned acceptance speeches to the fashion."
The ceremony at the Beverly Hilton - the first for late night NBC funnyman Meyers as host - is not as reliable at predicting Oscars glory as the galas held by Hollywood's acting, producing and directing unions.
But it remains one of the most high-profile and glamorous events of the awards calendar and tends to generate more headlines for tributes, daring gowns and wacky tuxedos.
Actors and actresses are however expected to turn out in black this year, in solidarity with victims of Weinstein and numerous other figures exposed by the harassment and abuse scandal, including Kevin Spacey, Brett Ratner and Dustin Hoffman.
Women directors snubbed
Guillermo del Toro's fantasy romance The Shape of Water leads the nominations with seven, while The Post and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri are tied for second, with six each.
Overall, 25 awards are given out - 14 for movies and 11 for TV - and, as usual, the 90-member HFPA has sprung more than a few surprises in the nominations, placing horror satire Get Out in the best comedy-musical category.
There were no nominations at all for female filmmakers despite huge successes in 2017 for Greta Gerwig (Lady Bird), Patty Jenkins (Wonder Woman), Dee Rees (Mudbound), Kathryn Bigelow (Detroit) and Sofia Coppola (The Beguiled).
Critics interpreted the organization's nominations for Ridley Scott's kidnap drama All the Money in the World as implicit support for Hollywood's #MeToo social media campaign against sexual harassment.
Veteran actor Christopher Plummer (The Sound of Music), who was brought in as a last-minute replacement when Scott decided to expunge the disgraced Spacey from the movie, won a surprise nomination for best supporting actor.
Scott was also nominated for best director and Michelle Williams for best actress, after the HFPA were shown a rough cut of the Spacey-free film.
"The fact that Scott completed the film in time to show it to Globes voters might have been reason enough for them to bestow three surprise nominations on the film," wrote Daniel Montgomery, a senior editor for awards prediction website Gold Derby.
"But the fact that it has now received positive reviews despite the emergency re-shoots might (have) inspired them to actually give the film a win, and Plummer is the logical choice for the impressive feat of taking on an emotionally demanding role at the 11th hour at age 87."
Plummer has turned 88 since the filming was completed.
Powerful, compelling women
While many fields are wide open, James Franco (The Disaster Artist) is almost certain to win best actor in a musical/comedy movie, according to Gold Derby, ahead of Daniel Kaluuya (Get Out).
The site expects Saoirse Ronan (Lady Bird) to pip Margot Robbie (I, Tonya) in the parallel race for best actresses for her acclaimed performance as a troubled teen.
On the small-screen, HBO's Big Little Lies leads with six nominations, followed by FX's Feud: Bette and Joan, with four, and The Handmaid's Tale, Fargo, and This Is Us all picking up three nods apiece.
Gold Derby's Amanda Spears speculated that the harassment scandal could boost Big Little Lies star Shailene Woodley in the race for best supporting TV actress for her Emmy-nominated performance as a single mother raising a child conceived by rape.
"Across film and TV, there's also the opportunity to reward roles for women that are strong, powerful and compelling beyond simply their relationships to men," Variety's Birnbaum said.
"It's just a shame that the Globes didn't recognize any female directors."
The star-studded roll call of presenters this year includes Game of Thrones duo Emilia Clarke and Kit Harington, as well as Penelope Cruz, Gal Gadot, Hugh Grant and Chris Hemsworth.
The ceremony will air live on NBC from 5:00 pm Pacific time (5am UAE on Monday).