Hollywood preps for Golden Globe party

Sun Jan 15, 2012 1:03pm EST
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By Bob Tourtellotte

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Hollywood prepared for its annual party and prize giveaway, the Golden Globe Awards, on Sunday but as much as Tinseltown's eyes will be fixed on which films and stars will be honored, its ears will be listening for barbs from show host Ricky Gervais.

The British comedian returns to the Golden Globe stage for the third straight year to host the champagne-soaked bash where prizes are given for best films, TV shows, actors and actresses in precursor of the more staid Oscars. A-list stars from George Clooney to Angelina Jolie are expected to attend.

But last year Gervais ruffled the feathers of many stars in attendance, making fun of poor choices among several nominees, like box office bomb "The Tourist," by the very group that gives out the honors and hired him to entertain -- the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

His often disparaging comments earned the wrath of some celebrities and critics, and initially the HFPA said he would not return. But Gervais was eventually hired back by the organization's chief who cheekily observed that he'd been a very "naughty boy" in 2011. Now, Hollywood is both wary and excited at the prospect of what he might say.

While Gervais hasn't given away any of his jokes yet, he did tell reporters at a gathering of TV critics this past Friday in Los Angeles that his verbal jabs were already written down.

"I have specific targets. I've written the gags, although targets isn't the word I'd use -- subjects maybe," he said.

"I've got nothing against anyone in the room, I've worked with many of them, I like many of them, I admire most of them. They're just gags. I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings or give them a bad name or undermine the moral fabric of America. I'm a comedian, I rather they laugh than gasp but I'll cherish the laughs along with the gasps," Gervais added.

The Golden Globe Awards are given out by the roughly 90 HFPA members at a gala dinner and ceremony in Beverly Hills that is annually among the key events during Hollywood's awards season because of the media exposure it brings.   Continued...