Sorry, television but movies need to cut in line at the Golden Globes open bar. They have to hit the bigger but more boring Academy Awards on Feb. 26; you're good until after Labor Day.
Oscar voters are busy shaping their nomination ballots, due Jan. 13. The Globes offer a short list, culled from 90 Hollywood Foreign Press Association members cruising junkets for overseas outlets you've probably never heard of. They throw a nice party then sit back and enjoy the Oscar uproar.
Globes voters hedge their bets by splitting their most glamorous prizes into drama and musical/comedy categories. Leaves them a better chance to appear smart, plus it stacks the guest list.
Those six categories are highlighted below. Sunday's winners will be certified frontrunners in the Oscars marathon, but it's early. Here are some predictions of who'll take the lead:
Hacksaw Ridge; Hell or High Water; Lion; Manchester by the Sea; Moonlight
Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea are indie co-favorites, but don't underestimate the Hacksaw Ridge resurrection of Mel Gibson with the Globes crowd. Voters will likely stake out early high ground in the diversity question the Oscars need to answer. Winner: Moonlight
20th Century Women; Deadpool; Florence Foster Jenkins; La La Land; Sing Street
Seven nominations make La La Land the obvious pick but let's pretend for a second. Can you imagine the Globes pranking Oscars voters into nominating a raunchy super hero comedy for best picture? Or lending a deserved hand to a scrappy 80's teen musical? Me neither. Winner: La La Land.
Lead actor, drama
Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea; Joel Edgerton, Loving; Andrew Garfield, Hacksaw Ridge; Viggo Mortensen, Captain Fantastic; Denzel Washington, Fences
Affleck corralled most of the serious critics' awards so far, but these are the Globes. They don't invite big stars then send them home empty handed. Washington's showier performance adds a mate for the honorary Globe he got last year. Winner: Washington.
Lead actress, drama
Amy Adams, Arrival; Jessica Chastain, Miss Sloane; Isabelle Huppert, Elle; Ruth Negga, Loving; Natalie Portman, Jackie
Huppert is a French cinema legend earning her first Globes nomination, so foreign media types might lean her way. I'm guessing they'll be more fascinated by Portman's steely wisp impersonation of Jacqueline Kennedy. Winner: Portman
Lead actor, musical/comedy
Colin Farrell, The Lobster; Ryan Gosling, La La Land; Hugh Grant, Florence Foster Jenkins; Jonah Hill, War Dogs; Ryan Reynolds, Deadpool
If La La Land is that beloved, Gosling is the choice. Grant would be a fine sentimental pick but this is where the Globes can shame academy voters into honoring Deadpool. Winner: Reynolds.
Lead actress, musical/comedy
Annette Bening, 20th Century Women; Lily Collins, Rules Don't Apply; Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen; Emma Stone, La La Land; Meryl Streep, Florence Foster Jenkins
The surest pick of the evening is Stone, especially since her closest competition Streep is already receiving an honorary Globe. Two impeccably modest acceptance speeches in one evening is too much to ask. Winner: Stone.
Picks of the rest of the litter:
Supporting actor: Mahershala Ali, Moonlight; Supporting actress: Viola Davis, Fences; Director: Damien Chazelle, La La Land; Screenplay: Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea.
Contact Steve Persall at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8365. Follow @StevePersall.