Hollywood sets up for Golden Globes

Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:08pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The Golden Globe Awards, dubbed Hollywood's biggest party, get rolling on Sunday with a who's who of the celebrity world turning out for the annual film and television honors that last year were derailed by a screenwriters' strike during Tinseltown's Oscar season.

But 2009's Golden Globes will go on as planned with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Winslet, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie expected in the red carpet fashion parade outside the widely watched awards ceremony.

Tension couldn't be higher, industry pundits say, because many of the key award races for best films, actors and actresses are too close to call.

"There's no absolute shoo-in at the Globes this year, not even Heath Ledger," said Tom O'Neil of the Los Angeles Times award-watching site, TheEnvelope.com.

Ledger, who portrayed the villainous Joker in the Batman movie "The Dark Knight," died last year of an accidental prescription drug overdose. He is nominated for best supporting actor.

The Golden Globe Awards, which are voted upon by some 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, are one of the most-watched Hollywood awards shows. Many winners will go on to compete for February's Oscars, the world's top film honors from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Last year, the screenwriters' strike caused the HFPA to transform the glitzy, black-tie event into a boring news conference, and only 5.8 million television viewers tuned-in.

That figure is far less than the U.S. TV audience of 20 million that watched the year before, which does not include the millions more around the world who see taped repeats.   Continued...

<p>The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's new Golden Globe statuettes are shown during a news conference in Beverly Hills, California January 6, 2009. REUTERS/Fred Prouser</p>