What to watch for at this Sunday’s Golden Globes

Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg host the 76th annual awards show

Director Spike Lee, left, with actors Topher Grace, center, and Adam Driver on the set of Lee’s film “BlacKkKlansman.” (David Lee/Focus Features via AP)

Dramatic period pieces will vie for the top comedy-musical awards and song-stuffed movies are poised to dominate the dramatic categories. Welcome to the 76th annual Golden Globes.

Category confusion often reigns at the Globes. Remember when laughers like “The Martian” and “Get Out” competed as comedies? But the Globes, reliably the frothiest, quirkiest and most entertaining stop in the awards-season march to the Academy Awards, might feel especially upside down this year.

READ MORE: Dick Cheney biopic ‘Vice’ tops Golden Globes nominations

The night, to be broadcast live Sunday on NBC, may ultimately belong to Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” revival. It’s the favourite for best picture (drama), best actress (Lady Gaga), best song (“Shallow”) and best actor (Bradley Cooper). The film’s stiffest competition may come from another music movie: the Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody,” whose star, Rami Malek, some believe could pull off the acting upset over Cooper.

Despite their copious tuneage, the campaigns of both “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody” elected for the more serious dramatic category. For “A Star Is Born,” it’s a kind of power move to firmly establish itself as the Oscar front runner many believe it is.

Oscar voting, as it turns out this year, commences Monday, the morning after the Golden Globes. If “A Star Is Born” runs away with the Globes, it will enter the nominations period of the Academy Awards as the favourite by a wide margin.

With “A Star Is Born” (along with “Black Panther,” ”If Beale Street Could Talk” and “BlacKkKlansman”) up for best picture as a drama, that’s left a few humour-tinged movies many would peg as dramas — “The Favourite,” ”Green Book” and “Vice” — to give the comedy/musical side of the Globes a bit more heft than usual.

Of those, “Vice” comes in with the most nominations of any film (six), but the chances of “The Favourite” are probably the best on Sunday. “The Favourite,” Yorgos Lanthimos’ triangular power struggle in Queen Anne’s court, is the most decorated film of the bunch in an awards season that, despite any other fluctuations, has been rigid in its acclaim for the powerhouse trio of Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone.

Emily Blunt, nominated twice this year by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (best actress for “Mary Poppins Returns” and best supporting actress for “A Quiet Place”) could give Colman — named the lead of “The Favourite” — a run for her money. But Colman’s tragicomic performance as Queen Anne has made her the definite front-runner and potentially Lady Gaga’s stiffest competition come the Oscars when the two best-actress contenders will presumably go head to head.

The awards season of “Green Book” has been marred by backlash, so Peter Farrelly’s 1960s road trip tale probably has the most to gain from a strong showing at the Globes. The film’s best actor (comedy) contender, Viggo Mortensen, may not be able to challenge Christian Bale’s Dick Cheney, but the HFPA — which overlooked Mahershala Ali for “Moonlight” — may right that wrong with an award for his supporting performance in “Green Book.”

But if the lines of comedy, musical and drama are particularly blurred at this year’s Globes, they are even more so between film and television.

There are as many movie stars nominated in the TV categories as there are in the film ones. Among them: Julia Roberts (“Homecoming”), Jim Carrey (“Kidding”), Amy Adams (up for both “Vice” and “Sharp Objects”) Michael Douglas (“The Kominsky Method”), Benedict Cumberbatch (“Patrick Melrose”), Penelope Cruz (“The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story”), Patricia Arquette (“Escape at Dannemora”), Hugh Grant (“A Very English Scandal”) and Laura Dern (“The Tale”).

Their shows and others (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” ”Barry,” ”Bodyguard,” ”Killing Eve”) will be in the mix, and the victors may well muddy another awards show boundary: that between host and winner. Sandra Oh, the star of “Killing Eve,” is favoured to win best actress in a drama series, potentially giving her a welcome respite from hosting duties alongside Andy Samberg.

Oh and Samberg will have the challenge of marshalling a broadcast that last year fell 11 per cent in viewership for NBC. That ceremony, when women attendees wore black, was atypically solemn for the Globes, and rife with protest, coming as the first major awards show of the post-Harvey Weinstein #MeToo era.

But for a Globes full of head-scratchers, Samberg and Oh — each hailing from different realms of comedy and drama — are a fittingly, charmingly incongruous pair.

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

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Gwilym Lee, from left, Rami Malek and Joe Mazzello in a scene from “Bohemian Rhapsody.” (Alex Bailey/Twentieth Century Fox via AP)

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