Stars light up red carpet ahead of Golden Globes
Updated: 2012-01-16 09:38
Actors Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt pose for photographers as they arrive at the 69th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California January 15, 2012.[Photo/Agencies]
Hollywood A-listers including George Clooney paraded up the Golden Globe Awards' red carpet on Sunday ahead of the ceremony honoring the year's best films and TV shows hosted by acerbic comedian Ricky Gervais.
The British funnyman returns to the Golden Globe stage for the third straight year to host the champagne-soaked bash where prizes are given to actors, actresses, directors and producers in precursor of the more staid Oscars later this year.
Along with Clooney, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Brad Pitt, Leonardo DiCaprio and numerous others were expected to walk the fashion-filled red carpet ahead of dinner and the program.
Gervais arrived early in a crimson and black tuxedo, Clooney looked dapper in gray. "Modern Family" TV star Sofia Vergara showed off a form-fitting, teal-colored Vera Wang gown and Harry Winston jewels.
Many actresses wore strapless dresses or had plunging necklines and hand-tied bowties were a must among men. Even Uggie the dog from most-nominated film "The Artist" put his four paws on the carpet -- black tie around his neck, of course.
While movies, TV shows and celebrities capture the limelight at the Golden Globe Awards, all eyes will be on Gervais this year after his caustic sense of humor and teasing of stars last year tweaked the sensibilities of some celebrities. He hadn't been expected to return, but here he is.
"I did it because the media said I wouldn't come back. I'm here to annoy them," Gervais said on the red carpet before the big show. When asked about his opening routine, he repeated statements he's made in recent weeks.
"I don't think I'm going to push the boundaries, more of the same, I think. I didn't think I said anything outrageous last year," he said.
The Golden Globe Awards are given out by the roughly 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association at what annually is among the key events during Hollywood's awards season because of the media exposure it brings.
Honors bestowed on TV shows often lure audiences that can turn a little-seen program into a hit, and films and stars that are declared Golden Globe winners often go on to compete for Oscars, the world's top movie prizes given out later this year.
But veteran Hollywood awards watcher Tom O'Neil of website Goldderby.com notes that in recent years, as more awards shows have aired on TV and Oscar organizers have made changes to their nomination process, the HFPA's influence has waned.
"Six of the last seven years they haven't picked the same best movie. 'Slumdog Millionaire' is the only one," said O'Neil.
Silent-era film "The Artist," a romantic tale shot in the style of old Hollywood, heads into Sunday night's ceremony with six nominations, including best comedy or musical. Late last week, it was named 2011's best movie at the Critics' Choice Awards and appears a good bet to take the Golden Globe for best musical or comedy.
HFPA voters also pick a winner of best film drama, and "The Descendants," starring Clooney as a father trying to keep his family together during a crisis, has the strongest shot at walking off a victor, O'Neil said. Although civil rights drama "The Help" also has been well-received in Hollywood this year.
Among actors and actresses, Meryl Streep looks to be a good pick to claim the trophy for best actress in a drama playing former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in "The Iron Lady." She faces a challenge from Viola Davis in "The Help," after Davis also picked up the Critics' Choice trophy.
Michelle Williams competes for best actress in a movie musical or comedy in "My Week with Marilyn" against the likes of "Saturday Night Live" comedian Kristen Wiig for "Bridesmaids."
Clooney with "Descendants" takes on Leonardo DiCaprio for "J. Edgar" and Brad Pitt in "Moneyball" in the best drama actor category, and "Artist" star, Frenchman Jean Dujardin, is the odds-on bet for best actor in a film musical or comedy.
Among TV shows, thriller "Homeland" is one of the new shows competing for best drama, taking on others such as "American Horror Story" and "Game of Thrones." Best comedy nominees feature past favorites such as "Glee" and "Modern Family."
The three-hour Golden Globe Awards show airs live on NBC on Sunday night, starting at 8 p.m. EST (0100 GMT on Monday).