It's game on at the Golden Globes
Tough competition expected at annual ceremony that will kick-start Hollywood's awards season
Hollywood's elite will hit the red carpet on Monday morning (Singapore time) for the Golden Globes. The ceremony is the start of a fiercely-contested awards season that looks set to reward escapist fantasy and gritty drama in equal measure.
The Globes has a reputation for delighting in its eccentric picks. Its record in predicting Oscars glory, therefore, is patchy - but it remains a huge draw for the stars, and a solid Academy Awards success bellwether for many.
"The Globes is known as one of the most fun parties of the year. There are only about 1,200 seats, and they are hard to get. So that 'insider' status is tantalising," Mr Tim Gray, awards editor for trade magazine Variety, told AFP.
"Hollywood knows that the Globes reaches a big audience, so it is important to get the films out there to increase public awareness."
Leading the pack of films vying for top honours is Damien Chazelle's La La Land, a tribute to the Golden Age of Hollywood musicals that is set in modern-day Los Angeles.
It picked up seven nominations, and is seen as the overwhelming favourite for best comedy or musical film, ahead of 20th Century Women, Deadpool, Florence Foster Jenkins and Sing Street.
La La Land is also in a strong position to pick up awards for its stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, director, screenplay, score and songs, according to a poll by website Gold Derby.
"La La Land could win all of its categories. It is either the frontrunner or in second place, I believe, in all seven," Gold Derby managing director Chris Beachum told AFP.
"They could win for Gosling, its director, and its songs, but the Globes voters tend to want to spread things out more than that. You do not generally see a movie winning more than three or four."
Barry Jenkins's coming-of-age tale Moonlight - with six nominations, including for its director and cast members Naomie Harris and Mahershala Ali - has been monopolising attention on the drama side of the awards ceremony.
Another frontrunner is Kenneth Lonergan's unflinching Manchester By The Sea, which earned the film-maker nods for best directing and screenplay. Cast member Casey Affleck is a favourite to win best actor, while co-star Michelle Williams is vying for best supporting actress.
For best actress in a drama, Natalie Portman is expected to pick up the award for her intense and critically-acclaimed turn as Jackie Kennedy in Jackie.
The film chronicles the days immediately following John F. Kennedy's 1963 assassination.
On the television side, The People Vs O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story is expected to enjoy a winning night with five nominations.
Tom Hiddleston's headlining series The Night Manager will be close behind, with four nominations.
Black-ish, The Crown, The Night Of, This is Us and Westworld have three each.
Hollywood A-listers Drew Barrymore, Sylvester Stallone, Nicole Kidman and Reese Witherspoon will add glitz to the annual party as awards presenters.
Host Jimmy Fallon is seen as a safe pair of hands compared to another Globes regular, caustic British comedian Ricky Gervais.
"The Globes are always a slightly chintzier affair when compared to the Oscars or the Emmys," wrote Mr Jack Mirkinson, an editor at US pop culture website Fusion, of the upcoming ceremony.
"But they are often way more fun to watch, especially because all the stars involved get progressively drunker as the night goes on." - AFP