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Golden Globe Awards 2021: Stars prepare for virtual ceremony

By Steven McIntosh

Entertainment reporter

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionAdverts for the Golden Globes appeared in Los Angeles this week

Hollywood stars will be dressing in their finest slippers and gathering in their living rooms later for the 78th Golden Globe Awards.

The ceremony, which recognises excellence in film and television, is being held virtually this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

It is the first major event of awards season, and often a good indicator of which films will go on to Oscar glory. But it has also attracted controversy.

Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Sunday night’s event.

Who is hosting?

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionTina Fey (left) created and starred in 30 Rock, while Amy Poehler is perhaps best known for Parks and Recreation

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, truly the greatest combo since apple slices and Nutella, are returning to hosting duties this year.

This will be the fourth time the former Saturday Night Live stars have hosted the Globes, after their spell fronting the ceremony between 2013-2015.

Let’s be clear about this, Fey and Poehler are in the God-tier of Golden Globe hosts. They equal Ricky Gervais in their ability to beautifully and brutally poke fun at every star in the room.

Unfortunately, their chemistry might be somewhat stilted this year as they won’t be in the same room. Poehler will be at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles, where the Globes are usually held, while Fey will be at NBC headquarters in New York.

Furthermore, the absence of a live audience means the gasps and shrieks as Hollywood stars get roasted will also be missing, which will take some of the fun out of the whole thing. But still, we’re expecting some killer one-liners.

Throughout the ceremony, there will be guest award presenters including Renee Zellweger, Cynthia Erivo, Joaquin Phoenix, Laura Dern, Salma Hayek and Jamie Lee Curtis. But the nominees will mostly dial in.

Which films and TV shows are nominated?

image copyrightReuters

image captionSacha Baron Cohen is nominated for both Borat Subsequent Moviefilm and The Trial of the Chicago 7

Mank, The Trial of the Chicago 7, The Father, Nomadland and Promising Young Woman are the most nominated films across categories such as acting, directing and writing.

Borat Subsequent Moviefilm, The Prom, Judas and the Black Messiah and The Mauritanian are also recognised in multiple categories.

Chloe Zhao, Regina King and Emerald Fennell are all nominated for best director, meaning there’s a good chance of a female winner – which would be the first in the category since Barbra Streisand in 1982.

Normally, several of the main films haven’t hit UK cinemas by the time the Globes take place, but this year many are already on streaming services. Films like Pieces of a Woman, One Night in Miami and I Care A Lot are available to watch on platforms like Netflix or Amazon Prime.

On the TV side, The Crown, Schitt’s Creek, Ozark, The Undoing, The Great and Ratched have the most Globe nominations. There could also be wins for Ted Lasso, Normal People and The Queen’s Gambit.

Who might the big British winners be?

media captionJohn Boyega is nominated for his role in Steve McQueen’s Small Axe

Get ready to hang your union flag from the ceiling, because we could well see some significant British success on Sunday night.

In the TV categories, nominees include John Boyega, Hugh Grant, Matthew Rhys and Jodie Comer, while Olivia Colman and Emma Corrin both have nods for The Crown.

The film categories are even more crowded with Brits – Vanessa Kirby, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Carey Mulligan, Sacha Baron Cohen, Rosamund Pike, Riz Ahmed, James Corden, Daniel Kaluuya and Gary Oldman are among the contenders.

The Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy was born in the US and moved to Argentina as a young child but has lived in the UK since she was six, while Emily in Paris star Lily Collins was born in Surrey but moved to LA as a child.

Can I watch the ceremony in the UK?

image copyrightNetflix

image captionThe late Chadwick Boseman (far left) and Viola Davis (second right) are both nominated for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

No. Or at least, not legally.

The Golden Globes are not broadcast in the UK. Admittedly, the ceremony begins at 01:00 GMT Monday and usually doesn’t finish until close to 05:00, so it would take some dedication to watch it live.

But it’s not even repeated on any UK network at a more reasonable hour, so we generally have to make do with news coverage and a few viral YouTube clips.

What else do I need to know?

image copyrightGetty Images

image captionRegina King, Emerald Fennell and Chloé Zhao are all nominated for best director

The Globes are sometimes affectionately referred to as the “drunk uncle” of awards season, which isn’t an entirely unfair description.

While the Oscars are a prestigious, formal affair, the Globes are where celebrities can let their hair down a bit.

In normal years, the Globes take place in the first week of January, so the stars are in a good mood, fresh off their Christmas holidays and ready to have a drink with their friends and co-stars.

The early placing in awards season means the stars aren’t yet sick to death of promoting and talking about their films. This year’s ceremony is only taking place later because of you-know-what.

The nominees and winners are voted for by the 87 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a group of international journalists based in California.

Why have this year’s Globes sparked controversy?

image copyrightNetflix

image captionEmily In Paris, starring Lily Collins, has two nominations at the Globes

“One thing that can’t be bought is a Golden Globe… officially,” joked Ricky Gervais in 2010, referring to long-running allegations of corruption within the HFPA.

It has been suggested repeatedly over the years that the HFPA’s small and secretive membership pool means the choices of nominees and winners can be swayed by promotions and freebies from production companies.

That criticism is back again this year: A scathing exposé by the LA Times found that 30 of the 87 members were flown to France to visit the set of Emily In Paris when the first series was being filmed. The newspaper alleges the group were treated to a two-night stay in a five-star hotel, as well as a lunch at the Musée des Arts Forains.

Despite a lukewarm reception from TV critics, Emily in Paris has multiple nominations this year. Meanwhile, devotees of Michaela Coel’s critically acclaimed I May Destroy You were outraged that it was shut out. It is cases like this that have regularly prompted some to suggest the Golden Globes should not be taken seriously.

A source close to the HFPA told BBC News it is common for journalists to attend set visits, premieres and press conferences, adding that members attend 15-20 trips per year on average. They said the airfare to the Emily In Paris set was paid for by the HFPA and not the studio.

The suggestion that such trips have any influence on nominations was “absurd”, they added, pointing out that set visits to many other TV shows in the last year had not led to nominations.

The LA Times also found there are currently no black members of the HFPA, but the organisation has said it is working on an “action plan” to rectify this.

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