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Pandemic or not, the Golden Globes show must go on

Golden Globes hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler pose at the 71st annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 12, 2014.
REUTERS/Danny Moloshok

The Golden Globes kicks off a pandemic-era Hollywood awards season on Sunday after a year that upended the entertainment industry and saw celebrities on red carpets replaced with webcams on sofas.

Yet somehow the show is going on, albeit without the chummy gala dinners, hordes of photographers, and designer gowns associated with the celebration of the year’s best films and TV shows.

Sunday’s ceremony, to be broadcast live on NBC television, will take place for the first time on two coasts, with comedians Tina Fey hosting from New York and Amy Poehler hosting from Beverly Hills, California. Some of the presenters, including Michael Douglas and his wife Catherine Zeta-Jones, will appear in person, but the nominees will attend from their homes or other locations around the world.

Tom O’Neill, founder of awards prediction website Goldderby.com, said Fey and Poehler were the perfect hosts for unusual times.

“They are snarky, lovable and mean, and they are fantastic entertainers. They are also good at handling those inevitable fiasco moments,” O’Neill said.

Yet Sunday’s show will be a far cry from the usual boozy dinner in a Beverly Hills hotel where A-listers chatter and exchange hugs with friends old and new.

“The Globes have traditionally been more fun than the Oscars in terms of the telecast. They are looser and funnier, and everyone’s drinking and it felt a little more unpredictable,” said Alison Willmore, film critic at entertainment website Vulture.com.

“When there is magic in awards shows, it comes from everyone being in the same room together,” she added.

The coronavirus pandemic not only closed movie theaters and prompted studios to shift dozens of releases into late 2021 or 2022, it also led to the postponement of awards shows and turned them into socially distanced affairs.

The Oscars don’t take place until April 25, but organizers have said it will be an in-person show from multiple locations

O’Neill said virtual shows and webcams have given audiences an intimate glimpse into the lives and homes of celebrities.

“It has taken us deeper into what we always wanted: an unscripted reality show with superstars,” he said.

The 1930s Hollywood drama “Mank” goes into Sunday’s ceremony with a leading six nominations, including for the top prize of best drama film.

But pundits say that’s no guarantee of success. The black-and-white film about the screenwriter of “Citizen Kane” faces stiff competition from “Nomadland,” a moving documentary-style drama about van dwellers in recession-hit America, and 1960s hippie courtroom drama “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” The #MeToo revenge black comedy “Promising Young Woman” and ageing drama “The Father” round out the film drama nominations

Sunday’s show follows new scrutiny of the 90-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), which chooses the Golden Globe nominees and winners and whose choices sometimes raise eyebrows.

The Los Angeles Times last week published an investigation that raised ethical questions over the close relationships between the HFPA and movie studios. The HFPA says it has strict policies regarding gifts and perks.

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