Golden Globes 2018: What to watch for at the “drunk Oscars”

Meryl Streep’s been here before.
Meryl Streep’s been here before.
Image: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
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Film and TV stars will pack the International Ballroom at the Beverly Hilton hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday (Jan. 7) for the 75th annual Golden Globe awards, hosted by comedian and talk show host Seth Meyers.

The awards show, which combines film and television into a single night, drops in the midst of a reckoning over sexual harassment and assault in Hollywood and beyond. Celebrities and nominees including Meryl Streep, Saoirse Ronan, and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plan to wear black to call attention to the issue—a stance that has drawn both praise and criticism.

We’ve outlined everything you need to know about one of Hollywood’s wildest nights: the show, how to watch it, the nominees, and the major story lines to follow.

What are the Golden Globes?

The Oscars’ sprightly, drunken cousin, the Globes purport to honor the past year’s best in entertainment. But whether or not the night’s awards align with the critical consensus is almost beside the point—no one really watches the Globes to see who wins. They watch for something the Emmys and Oscars normally don’t provide: unpredictability. (Okay, last year’s Oscars were an exception.)

Started in 1944, the Golden Globes are organized and voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a mysterious 93-person group of writers and some photographers who work for outlets outside the United States. Most of its members are neither full-time critics nor industry experts. “Randos” is one word that has been used to describe them. It’s widely believed that, as a whole, the HFPA cares less about the quality of the TV shows and movies than it does about who buys members the nicest dinners.

So why should we care about the Golden Globes? Well, for one, they’re usually fun. The unpredictability and brazen schlockiness generally makes for an entertaining night of television. Political and fashion statements will be made. At least one award recipient will make an acceptance speech noticeably intoxicated.

How to watch

The 75th annual Golden Globe Awards will air live at 8pm US eastern time on NBC. If you don’t have access to NBC, you’re likely out of luck. The show did not stream on the NBC site or app last year, nor was it available on internet services like Sling TV and DirecTV Now that carry NBC for subscribers. (Quartz reached out to NBC to confirm that the show will again not be available via streaming this year, and we’ll update this story as soon as we hear back.)

Update: The Globes will be available to NBC subscribers on a variety of streaming platforms this year, including NBC’s website and app, DirecTV, Sling TV, and Hulu TV, among others.

There will also be a free streaming pre-show exclusively on Facebook from 6pm to 8pm US ET. You can check that out on the Golden Globes Facebook page. And, as always, E! will be live from the Red Carpet from 6pm ET.

If you live in the US but don’t have a cable TV subscription, you can try getting NBC for free with a digital antenna.

The nominees

You can see the full list of nominees here, but these are the most important ones:

Best Motion Picture, Drama

The Post
The Shape of Water
Call Me by Your Name
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy

The Disaster Artist
Get Out
The Greatest Showman
I, Tonya
Lady Bird

Best Director

Guillermo del Toro, The Shape of Water
Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Christopher Nolan, Dunkirk
Ridley Scott, All the Money in the World
Steven Spielberg, The Post

Best Actor, Motion Picture, Drama

Timothée Chalamet, Call Me by Your Name
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.
Tom Hanks, The Post
Daniel Day-Lewis, Phantom Thread
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour

Best Actress, Motion Picture, Drama

Jessica Chastain, Molly’s Game
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Meryl Streep, The Post
Michelle Williams, All the Money in the World

Best Actor, Motion Picture, Comedy

Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Ansel Elgort, Baby Driver
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Hugh Jackman, The Greatest Showman
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

Best Actress, Motion Picture, Comedy

Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
Emma Stone, Battle of the Sexes
Helen Mirren, The Leisure Seeker

Best Television Series, Drama

The Handmaid’s Tale
This Is Us
The Crown
Game of Thrones
Stranger Things

Best Television Series, Comedy

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Master of None
Will & Grace

Best Actress, Television Series, Drama

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Claire Foy, The Crown
Katherine Langford, 13 Reasons Why
Maggie Gyllenhaal, The Deuce
Caitriona Balfe, Outlander

Best Actor, Television Series, Drama

Freddie Highmore, The Good Doctor
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan

Best Actress, Television Series, Comedy

Pamela Adlon, Better Things
Alison Brie, GLOW
Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Issa Rae, Insecure
Frankie Shaw, SMILF

Best Actor, Television Series, Comedy

Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Kevin Bacon, I Love Dick
William H. Macy, Shameless
Eric McCormack, Will & Grace

The favorites

Television-wise, Big Little Lies is expected to clean up many of the acting categories (as it did at the Emmys last year). The Emmy-winning The Handmaid’s Tale is the favorite to win best drama series, with last year’s winner, The Crown, a close second. Comedy is more of a mixed bag, though Will & Grace and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel should do well. (Of course, none of these shows are the best show of the yearThe Leftovers, which the HFPA apparently did not watch.)

On the film side, the favorites for best drama are The Shape of Water (which leads the field with seven total nominations) and The Post. Gary Oldman is the huge favorite to win best actor in a drama for his transformation into Winston Churchill in Darkest Hour. Best actress will likely go to either Meryl Streep (she’s won eight Golden Globes already) for The Post or Frances McDormand for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.

Lady Bird and Get Out are the clear favorites for the best comedy award. Of course, with unpredictability being one of the show’s selling points, several of these favored TV shows and films will probably not win. For the latest odds, check out Gold Derby.

The story lines to watch

  • A “black” carpet. Several big-name actresses, including Meryl Streep and Jessica Chastain, will reportedly wear black dresses on the red carpet to protest sexual harassment and gender inequality in Hollywood. Some men will apparently wear black as well in solidarity with women, but many of them would have worn black suits anyway, so we’re not sure how that’s more than an empty gesture. In any case, the ongoing sexual harassment issue that’s pervaded Hollywood is sure to be an underlying theme of the entire evening.
  • Seth Meyers’ monologue. Will the savvy talk show host, who has shown more of a willingness to discuss political issues than some of his contemporaries, address the elephant in the room during his opening monologue? The answer is assuredly yes (he’s implied as much already). More specifically, will he use the stage to go after Donald Trump and other American politicians accused of sexual misconduct as many Hollywood men have been?
  • Kevin Spacey’s replacement. The actor, who has been accused of sexual misconduct by more than dozen people, was replaced at the last possible moment by Christopher Plummer in his role as oil magnate J. Paul Getty on the Ridley Scott film All the Money in the World. Plummer managed a nomination for best supporting actor in a drama, and he’s even considered one of the favorites to take home the award—quite an achievement given that in November, Plummer was not even in the film.
  • Is Get Out a comedy? Does it matter? The internet was up in arms a few months ago when the Globes announced that Jordan Peele’s Get Out would be competing as a comedy, not a drama. Many fans of the film took the genre placement as a slight to the film’s weighty, if satirical, exploration of racism in America. The writer-director himself made light of the situation, semi-jokingly calling the film neither a comedy nor a drama but “a documentary.” Whatever genre the film is (Peele has referred to it as a “social thriller”), it has a decent shot to win the best comedy award. Lady Bird is its biggest competition.
  • The HFPA loves Amazon comedies. If The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel wins the award for best comedy series, it will be the third Amazon comedy in the last three years to take home the prize, after Transparent and the shocking winner Mozart in the Jungle. We’re not sure why the HFPA has such a soft spot for Amazon, but CEO Jeff Bezos and company surely don’t mind, as they try to gain ground on Netflix and Hulu in the streaming wars.
  • Big Little Lies‘ continued dominance. After wrecking the Emmys, the HBO series is coming for the Golden Globes, nominated for six awards—more than any other show. While it’s a great series fulling deserving of its accolades, if there’s any film or show that’s placed in the wrong category, it’s Big Little Lies. The series competes in the limited series or TV movie category, avoiding some of other drama juggernauts like The Handmaid’s Tale, which makes winning easier to come by against weaker competition. HBO may have believed it was making a limited series when Big Little Lies was first in development, but the network recently greenlit a second season of the family dramedy. There’s nothing “limited” about that.
  • A big night for Oprah. The actress, talk show host, and media mogul Oprah Winfrey will be given the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award for her work across film and television, becoming the first black woman to receive the honor. Fans are eagerly awaiting her acceptance speech.