The Golden Globes has always occupied the same place in Hollywood’s calendar: It’s the boozy kickoff to awards season, a more raucous ceremony than the Oscars, but also a helpful preview for it. What films and actors triumph at the Globes is less a matter of taste—the 90-odd members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association are notorious for their unreliability—and more an act of guesswork for who will win more trophies down the road as the industry begins a two-month gauntlet of red-carpet galas and tearful speeches.
In 2019, though, as the Academy Awards continues to muddle through its hosting crisis, following Kevin Hart’s dramatic withdrawal from the gig, the Globes may be able to once again boast an advantage in terms of pure entertainment value. For Sunday night’s show, the masters of ceremonies will be Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg, the stars of Killing Eve and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, respectively—two actors who’ve never collaborated outside of presenting an Emmy Award together last year. As performers with projects to promote, they made for a typically random awards-show pairing, but their chemistry during the 2018 ceremony was instantly obvious.
For years, nobody hosted the Golden Globes, which was mostly famous just for the free booze provided at every table (this tended to make for good television, and passionate speeches, as the night went on). Ricky Gervais was hired for the 2010 ceremony, earning headlines for his barbed monologues (he hosted four times in total). Starting in 2013, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler emceed for three years in a row, consistently earning better reviews than their counterparts who hosted the Oscars. Last year, Seth Meyers did a sturdy job piloting the ceremony through a particularly charged moment dominated by discussion of the #MeToo movement and the many abuses of power in the industry.
Oh and Samberg will likely take a more anarchic approach (the gag of their Emmy presentation was that Oh impetuously ripped the winner’s envelope in half and then panicked), though Samberg is a seasoned hand at these kinds of shows, having hosted the 2009 MTV Movie Awards, the 2013 Film Independent Spirit Awards, and the 2015 Emmys. But their inventive pairing should draw attention as the more august Academy scrambles to find someone with the gravitas and star power required to handle such a major gig. The stakes of the Globes are low enough that it’s still possible to have fun emceeing them, and Oh and Samberg should be up to the task.
In terms of awards, the film and television categories are divided into their usual tranches of “drama” and “musical or comedy.” But two of this year’s biggest hits that could ostensibly be called musicals—A Star Is Born and Bohemian Rhapsody—instead decided to compete in the drama category because of their weightier themes. Their fellow nominees include Black Panther, If Beale Street Could Talk, and BlacKkKlansman; but don’t be surprised if A Star Is Born runs the table with awards for Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga, as that film is the sort of superstar-driven smash hit that is usually catnip to Globes voters.
On the comedy side, the nominees are Adam McKay’s political satire Vice, the inspirational true-story drama Green Book, the acidic costume drama The Favourite, the surprise romantic hit Crazy Rich Asians, and Disney’s Mary Poppins Returns. That field feels much more wide open, but mark Christian Bale and Viggo Mortensen as front-runners in the Best Actor category, with Emily Blunt and Olivia Colman leading the Best Actress field. The Globes has a fairly strong record of predicting who will go on to Oscars glory, but there’s always a surprise or two every year (remember when Aaron Taylor-Johnson was named Best Supporting Actor for Nocturnal Animals?).
The television categories tend to be far more erratic and tough to forecast. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association usually values new shows very highly, with the Globes functioning as the zanier alternative to the summer’s Emmys, where repeat winners are the norm. Buzzy shows such as Netflix’s Bodyguard, Amazon’s Homecoming, HBO’s Barry, and BBC America’s Killing Eve (starring Oh, who is nominated and could very well win) might dominate, but it’s just as plausible that something a little more under the radar (such as Showtime’s Kidding or FX’s Pose) will score a shock victory.
The Globes will air live Sunday on NBC starting at 8 p.m. ET. Some of the night’s already announced presenters will be Chadwick Boseman, Harrison Ford, Lupita Nyong’o, Saoirse Ronan, and Lena Waithe. The Cecil B. DeMille Award, for lifetime achievement in film, is going to Jeff Bridges, while the inaugural Carol Burnett Award (an equivalent trophy for television) is being handed, unsurprisingly, to Carol Burnett.