Films? Stars? Who Cares. Globes' spotlight on Gervais

Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:39pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - What will Ricky Gervais say and about whom will he say it? Those are the two most pressing questions heading into Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards, not what will win best film or TV show.

The Golden Globe Awards annually is among Hollywood's most-watched honors programs where A-list stars come out to wine, dine and rub elbows, and the trophies that are given out often bring the type of industry exposure that can lead to Oscars.

But in 2011, Globes host and Ricky Gervais ruffled the tuxedos and gowns of celebrities such as Robert Downey, Jr. and even Golden Globe organizers -- roughly 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association -- with jokes about their reputations.

Initially, the HFPA said he would not be invited back, but in a turnabout late last year, they and TV network NBC which airs the program issued an olive branch and invited the British funnyman to return. Now, the question is, what will he say this time.

"People say, is there anything you shouldn't joke about? I don't think there is. I just think it depends what the joke is," Gervais told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres in a segment to be aired on her program on Thursday.

"Comedy comes from either a good or a bad place and I was just teasing them, ya know," he added. "It wasn't a room full of wounded soldiers. These are the richest, most privileged people in the world."

Indeed, Hollywood royalty ranging from George Clooney, Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie and Meryl Streep are nominated for awards, as are the casts of TV comedy "Modern Family" and newcomer drama "Homeland", who will be on hand in Beverly Hills for the awards show.

Because they are widely-watched on TV and in the industry, the Golden Globes are seen as a harbinger of which movies and stars may win Oscars -- the world's top film honors given out in February by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.   Continued...