Golden Globes: 5 Reasons This Year's Show Will (Likely) Be a Blast

With Tina and Amy back, sprinkled with a mix of Woody Allen getting an award, the NBC broadcast might just best last year's high-water mark.
Tina Fey, left, and Amy Poehler

This story first appeared in the Nov. 29 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

The Golden Globe Awards never are going to project the aura of seriousness that surrounds the Academy Awards or cover TV as exhaustively as the Emmys do. Instead, the awards show -- which nabbed 19.7 million viewers last year and will air Jan. 12 on NBC -- is known for its anything-goes spirit. Studios and networks court the 90 unpredictable voting members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association because the Globes can serve as a springboard to Oscar glory. The Globes also give comedies and musicals a big hug. And while the Emmys often are slow to acknowledge new arrivals, the Globes are just as quick to hail quirky newcomers like HBO's Girls. And that, in its way, is kind of cool.

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Tina and Amy Are Back!

The BFF comedy duo killed it last year, so no wonder the HFPA invited back its first-ever female hosting team for the 2014 show (and for 2015, to boot). Fey and Poehler not only lured in bigger ratings they also scored an Emmy nomination for their work, which included viral-worthy jokes like Fey's "Quentin Tarantino is here, star of all my sexual nightmares."

Netflix Joins the Party

Despite its gonzo campaign that saw the season's biggest stunts (yard signs, free lunch for voters), Netflix netted only three Emmy Awards, all for its flagship series House of Cards. But it's going into its first Globes season with three contenders: Cards, Arrested Development and the buzzy prison dramedy Orange Is the New Black. It could make HFPA history as the first Internet company to join the contest, especially if it nabs comedy slots for Arrested and Orange, likely to be competing against last year's winner, HBO's Girls, and mainstay competition like ABC's Modern Family and CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

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Comedy Films Will Lighten the Mood

Laugh-out-loud comedies like Will Ferrell's Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues face tough competition at this year's Globes. In the always elastic category of best motion picture, comedy or musical, it will be up against a lot of dramedies, where the chuckles are often rueful at best. The highest-profile contenders in the category are August: Osage County, full of family bickering; the bleak Nebraska; Inside Llewyn Davis, thanks to its '60s- flavored soundtrack; the studio-backed fantasy film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty; and the middle-aged romantic comedy Enough Said, with Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini. Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street has yet to screen, but promises some dark comedy, too. Longer shots include Before Midnight and Last Vegas.

Woody Allen Is (Finally!) a Cecil B. DeMille Honoree

Woody Allen likes to keep a scrupulous distance from anything associated with the awards circuit -- even when he has a movie in contention, like his latest, Blue Jasmine, for which Cate Blanchett is one of the season's best actress frontrunners. Despite 23 nominations and four wins, he traditionally skips the Oscars -- he attended the Academy Awards only once, in 2002, to introduce a celebratory film tribute to New York in the wake of 9/11. And he rarely visits Los Angeles, of which he has famously cracked, "The only cultural advantage is being able to make a right turn on a red light." So when the HFPA announced in September that it had convinced Allen to accept its Cecil B. DeMille Award, its annual lifetime achievement honor, it clearly represented something of a coup.

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The Promise of a Surprise Guest Should Keep Everyone Guessing

The Golden Globes broadcast -- produced by Dick Clark Productions, which, like THR, is owned by a subsidiary of Guggenheim Partners -- upped the ante on presenters in January when President Bill Clinton introduced Steven Spielberg's Lincoln. The Oscars then raised the bar by having first lady Michelle Obama announce its best picture winner. That's hard to top, but with so many fact-based movies competing, the Globes could recruit such real-life figures as a former astronaut to intro Gravity, Richard Phillips himself to say a few words about Captain Phillips, or maybe even Nelson Mandela's daughter Zindzi to testify on behalf of Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom.