What to Watch for at This Year's Golden Globes

Ricky Gervais hosting the 2012 Golden Globes.

Ricky Gervais is back as the host of the annual awards show, broadcasting live from the Beverly Hilton Sunday on NBC (at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT).

When the 73rd Golden Globes air this Sunday, what many view as the most unpredictable awards show will be kicking off the most unpredictable awards season in recent memory.

With alcohol flowing freely during the live telecast and the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's tendency to honor the new and buzzy over the critically acclaimed, nominees are likely liquored up and on their toes. The probability of a freshman win raises the stakes when it comes to emotional acceptance speeches (2015's wins by Gina Rodriguez and Transparent) and upsets (2014's win by Brooklyn Nine-Nine and 2009's win by The Hangover), and the loose atmosphere ups the ante for comedic, shocking and later, viral, moments.

To top it all off, Ricky Gervais is once again at the helm for the 2016 show.

The four-time host, who will be drinking his beer onstage, agreed to come back on his own terms after raising eyebrows (and ratings) during his 2010-2012 run, telling The Hollywood Reporter: "I always write my own jokes, I can say what I want — and it’s live." A litany of topical jokes can be expected, and with Mel Gibson returning as a presenter and Donald Trump on the presidential campaign trail, no one in or out of the room will be safe.

And then there are the nominees. For film, no clear frontrunner has emerged in the awards race, and since the Globes are in no way a shoe-in for the Oscars (the nominees for which will be announced Jan. 14), anything can happen. Amy Schumer's Trainwreck goes up against Matt Damon's The Martian for best comedy (an entry that raised eyebrows since the sci-fi film about an astronaut trying to survive on Mars doesn't seem like a laugh riot), co-stars are competing, some stars are nominated in multiple categories and Leonardo DiCaprio is on everyone's snub-watch. On the TV side, streaming services dominate cable and broadcast as Netflix dethrones HBO for most nominations and NBC, which is hosting the show, earned a whopping zero (a joke Gervais is sure to make at least once).

Presenters include Gibson, Amy Adams, Jaimie Alexander, Patricia Arquette, Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Amber Heard, Bryce Dallas Howard, Kate Hudson, Jennifer Lawrence, Helen Mirren, Julianne Moore, Eddie Redmayne, Amy Schumer, J.K. Simmons, Channing Tatum, Olivia Wilde, Melissa Benoist, Viola Davis, Morgan Freeman, Grant Gustin, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Kevin Hart, Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, Ken Jeong, Dwayne Johnson, Michael Keaton, Lady Gaga, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Jason Statham, Mark Wahlberg, Kate Bosworth, Sophia Bush, Matt Damon, Chris Evans, Will Ferrell, Tom Ford, Tom Hanks, Jonah Hill, John Krasinski, Katy Perry, Andy Samberg and Amy Schumer. Foxx is sure to be a proud dad backstage as daughter Corinne Foxx, 21, assumes the role of Miss Golden Globe, and Denzel Washington is set to receive the coveted Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award.

Come Sunday, THR will provide full coverage of the awards ceremony, including the complete list of winners, show highlights, backstage moments, expert analysis and red carpet and afterparty coverage on Twitter, Facebook and THR.com.  

In the meantime, here are five things to hype you up for this year's sure-to-be entertaining show:

1. Ricky Gervais' monologue

Gervais doesn't care about the "egos" in the room, and that's why viewers love to watch him host.

About his 2012 show — when he harped on Jodie Foster's Beaver and called the Globes trashy — the British comedian said, "I guarantee they will not invite me back." After, they booked Amy Poehler and Tina Fey as co-hosts for three years in a row.

Now, Gervais received and accepted an invitation, but he still has no plans to play by the rules. "I made the decision," the host, who ripped The Tourist to Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie's faces in 2011, told THR. "Do I pander to 200 fragile egos in the room or 200 million people watching at home? There’s nothing in it for the people watching at home. They’re not winning awards. It’s not a spectator sport watching other people win awards, so I tried to make it one."

Topics to hedge Gervais-jokes bets on? Gibson, the Revenant "bear rape" rumor, Bill Cosby, Kevin Spacey's jump to Relativity Media and, even though Gervais says he's not a political comedian, Trump.

2. Will Leo DiCaprio win?

The Revenant star is 2/10 when it comes to Globes wins, and 0/4 at the Oscars (0/5 if you rope in his producer nom for The Wolf of Wall Street). Though Bryan Cranston has also scored both a Globe and SAG nom, like DiCaprio, the Wolf of Wall Street actor is the favorite of the night.

A Globes, and subsequently a SAG Awards, win could be just the momentum that DiCaprio needs heading into the Oscars so the actor, who was first nominated for What's Eating Gilbert Grape in 1994, could ultimately (and finally) check a win in the Academy box. And after awing audiences with a performance that saw him get ripped to shreds by a bear and sleep inside an animal carcass, many fans and critics are rooting for a long-awaited DiCaprio win.

3. Mel Gibson's controversial return to the stage

Gibson spent nearly 10 years away from Hollywood following his widely publicized 2006 DUI arrest and anti-Semitic rant. In 2013, the Passion of the Christ star did attend the Globes with pal Foster, who was honored with the Cecil B. DeMille award, but his 2016 billing signals the first invitation back into the Hollywood inner circle in such a big and televised way. Come Sunday, Twitter is sure to react, and so will Gervais.

In 2010, then-host Gervais cracked about Gibson in his opening monologue, and in 2012 he told the audience and viewers that the original Mad Max actor was on his list of topics that he wasn't allowed to discuss. When Gervais heard the 2016 news, he quipped on Twitter, "Mel Gibson is presenting an award at The Golden Globes. Thank you Jesus."

4. Potential for snubs and surprises in the biggest categories

Since the Globes split their best picture by genre and this year was stacked with comedy-dramas, Trainwreck and Melissa McCarthy's Spy go up against more serious contenders The Martian, The Big Short and Joy. It's hard (and funny) to imagine McCarthy tearing the shiny statue away from Damon or Brad Pitt, but crazier things have happened in Globes past. Leading this year's large pack of first-time nominees are Alicia Vikander (The Danish Girl and Ex Machina) and Mark Rylance (Bridge of Spies and Wolf Hall), who both have two nominations each.

On the TV side, upsets and freshman wins could also happen. Will Mr. Robot's Rami Malek beat out Mad Men's Jon Hamm — or better yet, will either Mr. Robot or Narcos top both Empire and Game of Thrones for best TV drama? For best comedy or musical, HBO takes on the streaming services when Veep and Silicon Valley vie against Netflix's Orange is the New Black, Amazon's Transparent and Mozart in the Jungle and Hulu's Casual (a first-time win here would be a big upset). Aziz Ansari, Lady Gaga, Taraji P. Henson and Bob Odenkirk all enter their respective races in a night that, if history is any indicator, is sure to welcome some new faces onto the stage.

5. The "It" girls

The film actresses competing in the drama category are the critical darlings who are dominating awards season, but Cate Blanchett, Brie Larson, Rooney Mara, Saoirse Ronan and Vikander are also the fashionable "It" girls who will be drawing viewers to the red carpet.

And with Poehler and Fey absent from the show, other female duos to watch have popped up in their place: close pals Schumer and Jennifer Lawrence will battle it out for best actress in a comedy (Lawrence even joked about the two wearing the same dress); Jane Fonda (nominated for Youth) will be on-hand to cheer on her double-nominated Grace and Frankie costar Lily Tomlin; and first-time Globe nominee Taraji P. Henson gets another chance to beat Viola Davis, who moved Henson to tears when Davis made Emmy history as the first black lead drama actress winner.

The 73rd Golden Globe Awards broadcasts live from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills on NBC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

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