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Saturday, February 22, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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2020 Golden Globes preview: A forecast for Sunday’s awards

By Glenn Whipp Los Angeles Times

LOS ANGELES – The 77th Golden Globes Awards will be handed out Sunday, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. would very much like to remind you ahead of time that its members are not monsters, nor are they sexist.

If you don’t care for the male-dominated slate of nominees the group has put forth, then you don’t have to watch the trademarked “Hollywood’s Party of the Year” on NBC and can instead go out and buy a ticket for Greta Gerwig’s “Little Women” or stream “Hustlers” on demand or go on a food crawl through San Gabriel Valley Chinese restaurants while remembering Lulu Wang’s superbly crafted “The Farewell.”

The Globes takes place this year during the Oscar nomination voting window, meaning impressions can be made, opinions altered or hardened. If the camera finds you in the Beverly Hilton ballroom, you’d better have your “Party of the Year” game face on or risk being banished to the island of also-rans, a place where Tommy Lee Jones rules a land devoid of trophies and happiness.

What can we expect from this year’s ceremony? Here are a handful of things on the forecast.

‘Parasite’ takes at least two honors

For all the blowback the HFPA received about its choices this year, the group’s biggest quirk – not allowing films made outside the English language to compete in the drama and comedy/musical categories – received relatively little flak. You’d think members would want to take that extra step to promote international cinema.

Barred from the primary picture categories, Bong Joon Ho’s acclaimed “Parasite” should easily prevail for foreign-language film. Bong also is nominated for director and his screenplay, which he co-wrote with Han Jin Won.

The HFPA has never given its screenplay prize to a movie entirely in a different language, so that honor might prove elusive. But Bong should win director, cementing “Parasite’s” status as an Oscar frontrunner.

Will Tarantino’s ‘Hollywood’ sweep?

The HFPA divides most of its film awards into drama and comedy/musical divisions. When it came time to classify Quentin Tarantino’s wistful ode to a lost past “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” HPFA members opted for comedy even though they had put the filmmaker’s previous historical rewrites, “Inglourious Basterds” and “Django Unchained,” in drama.

To be fair, you might not equate the Manson family with comedy, but the Manson family filtered through the haze of an acid-soaked cigarette is another thing entirely.

As a comedy, “Hollywood” avoids “The Irishman,” “1917” and “Marriage Story” and must fend off only “Jojo Rabbit,” a sentimental satire that hasn’t connected as expected since winning at the Toronto Film Festival. “Hollywood” should win best picture, and Brad Pitt feels like a good bet to win his first Globe since he prevailed for “Twelve Monkeys” 24 years ago.

But to really make headlines, Tarantino would need to take screenplay and/or director honors. That could happen, though Bong should triumph for director. And Noah Baumbach stands as the screenplay favorite for his much-lauded “Marriage Story.”

Meanwhile, while Leonardo DiCaprio deserves to win for lead actor comedy, he’ll have to best sentimental favorite Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”). So even with a leg up in category placement, a five-category parlay for “Hollywood” seems even more ambitious than Tarantino’s gift for revising history.

Gervais will annoy and offend

The latest promo for this year’s show has Gervais being told to pour himself a glass of Champagne and say his line. Instead, he gleefully shakes the Champagne bottle and sprays the crew (“Watch out for the camera!”) while a voiceover declares, “As usual, we have no idea what he’s going to do.”

That rehearsed “anarchy,” along with the ever-present cocktail at the ready, has been the hallmark of Gervais’ previous four stints of hosting the Globes. On the network’s website, a picture shows the comedian holding a Globe like a bludgeon, a callback to his 2016 tour of duty when he noted the worthlessness of an award he’d won three times.

“One’s a doorstop, one’s to hit burglars with and one I keep by the bed to … it’s just the right shape and size,” he said. “To be clear, that was a joke about me shoving Golden Globes up my arse.”

Awkwafina makes Globes history

Last year, Sandra Oh co-hosted the Globes with Andy Samberg, becoming the first person of Asian descent to emcee the ceremony. A couple of hours into the telecast, Oh won the lead actress TV drama prize, the first woman of Asian descent to win that honor.

Awkwafina now stands poised to become the first woman of Asian descent to win the Globe for lead actress movie comedy/musical for her affecting turn in “The Farewell.” The barrier-breaking win, long overdue, would also provide a nice boost to Awkwafina’s chances for a lead actress Oscar nod.

Early coronation for ‘The Crown’

When it comes to their TV prizes, HFPA members have short attention spans and a burning desire to beat the Emmys in recognizing new programs. The Netflix British monarchy drama “The Crown” checks off both boxes, as it has recast the principal roles for its third season, allowing the HFPA to see it anew and reward Olivia Colman (a year after she won a Globe and an Oscar for “The Favourite”) and Helena Bonham-Carter.

For series, “The Crown” will compete with another new program, Apple TV Plus’ “The Morning Show,” as well as HBO’s buzzy “Succession.” It’s possible, too, given the group’s questionable choices over the years, that Jennifer Aniston, not Colman, will win the lead actress drama award for her turn as the anchor on “The Morning Show.”

And if seeing Aniston onstage provides some measure of comfort to all those people reeling from “Friends” leaving Netflix, then maybe it’s OK that she wins.

After all, as Gervais has reminded us, it’s just a Golden Globe, an “award (that) is, no offense, worthless.”

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