LOS ANGELES - Hollywood hits the red carpet Sunday for the Golden Globes, Tinseltown's biggest pre-Oscars awards show, with Steven Spielberg, Ben Affleck and Quentin Tarantino among those eyeing major prizes.
Days after topping nominations for the Academy Awards, Spielberg's political drama "Lincoln" is the frontrunner for Globes glory, with seven nods, ahead of Affleck's Iran drama "Argo" and Tarantino's "Django Unchained," both with five nominations.
US TV comedy favorites Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will co-host the Globes, after three years of edgy British comic Ricky Gervais taking barbed near-the-knuckle shots at the assembled A-listers.
|Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Aida Takla-O'Reilly, Actress Megan Fox, Actor Ed Helms and Actress Jessica Alba announce nominations for the 70th annual Golden Globe Awards in Beverly Hills, California December 13, 2012. REUTERS
"It's our job to keep things moving and also try to get the movie stars more liquored-up so that hopefully someone's boob will fall out of a dress," quipped "30 Rock" star Fey, famous for impersonating former US vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
The awards are voted on by the less than 100-member Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), seen as more celebrity-driven than the esteemed Academy of Motion and Picture Arts and Sciences, whose Oscars show is next month.
On Thursday, the Academy unveiled its nominations, chosen by some 6,000 industry members, shortlisting most of the same films which are up for Globes at the Beverly Hilton hotel Sunday night.
Other drama films tipped include Tom Hooper's musical adaptation "Les Miserables," dark rom-com "Silver Linings Playbook" and Osama bin Laden hunt movie "Zero Dark Thirty," which tied for third place with four Globes nods.
Reflecting the perhaps less high-brow taste of the HFPA, Taiwanese-American director Ang Lee's visually stunning 3D adventure "Life of Pi," which picked up 11 Oscar nominations, is running in only three Globes categories.
Favorite for best actor is "Lincoln" star Daniel Day-Lewis, against Denzel Washington for piloting "Flight" while drunk, Richard Gere for "Arbitrage," John Hawkes for "The Sessions" and Joaquin Phoenix for "The Master."
Best actress is slightly more open: Jessica Chastain is widely tipped for her role as a CIA agent relentlessly tracking bin Laden in "Zero Dark Thirty," while France's Marion Cotillard has drawn praise for for "Rust and Bone."
But Britain's Helen Mirren is also a strong contender for her role as a cinema legend's wife in "Hitchcock." Also in the running are Naomi Watts for Indian Ocean tsunami drama "The Impossible" and Rachel Weisz for "The Deep Blue Sea."
On the comedy and musical front, best film nominees are Indian-themed "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel," "Silver Linings Playbook," "Les Miserables," "Moonrise Kingdom," and "Salmon Fishing in the Yemen," starring Ewan McGregor.
Best comedy/music actor nods went to Jack Black for "Bernie," "Hangover" star Bradley Cooper for "Silver Linings," Australian Hugh Jackman for "Les Mis," McGregor for "Salmon Fishing" and Bill Murray for "Hyde Park on Hudson."
Three British actresses are shortlisted for best comedy or musical turns: Emily Blunt for "Salmon Fishing," Judi Dench for "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, and fellow veteran Maggie Smith for "Quartet."
On the small screen, multiple award-winning British period drama "Downton Abbey" was nominated for best drama, against "Breaking Bad," "Boardwalk Empire," spy thriller series "Homeland" and "The Newsroom."
Fey signaled that she and co-host Poehler will perhaps be less aggressive than Gervais.
"Our job is to keep the evening going and make it fun. Not necessarily to break comedic ground or take people down a peg," she said.
The three-hour Globes telecast, beamed live around the world, starts at 5:00 pm Sunday (0100 GMT Monday), preceded by a couple of hours of Hollywood's finest strutting their stuff on the first big red carpet of the season.
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