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Spielberg, ‘Elvis’ and ‘Avatar’ face off as Golden Globes make a comeback

The Golden Globes will be the scene of a high-stakes race between Steven Spielberg’s “The Fabelmans”, a semi-autobiographical coming-of-age story, musical biopic “Elvis”, and the long awaited sequels to “Avatar” and “Top Gun”.

After going dark for a year, the Globes gala returns to the air on Tuesday on a one-year audition to try to win back their awards-season perch and relevancy to a Hollywood that shunned the awards after an ethics and diversity scandal.

The awards, traditionally a raucous celebrity-packed event that kicks off the annual movie awards season, has not had its usual glitz for two years, due to the pandemic and revelations about their organizers’ lack of diversity and alleged ethical lapses.

NBC, which scrapped its broadcast of the show last year after it emerged the Hollywood Foreign Press Association had no Black members, has brought back the 80th Golden Globe Awards on a one-off basis after the organisation scrambled to reform.

Spielberg, whose semi-autobiographical film is a favourite to win best drama, is among the A-listers expected to attend, while Eddie Murphy will receive a career achievement award and comedian Jerrod Carmichael hosts the proceedings.

Pundits still predict a quieter-than-usual showing on the Globes’ red carpet, and most of the usual swanky after-parties are not taking place this year.

Deadline awards columnist Pete Hammond said the event is likely to be more “muted” overall, with major Hollywood studios “not spending big bucks” to fete their nominees as they have in previous years.

Those who walk the red carpet face the prospect of fielding questions from journalists about the Globes themselves, rather than the usual “What are you wearing?” conversations, he added.

No live-stream, no red carpet for Golden Globes this year

Spielberg, Cruise, Cameron

Unlike the Oscars, the pinnacle of awards season on March 12, the Globes movie prizes are split between two categories: “drama” and “comedy or musical.”

On the drama side, “The Fabelmans” is up for best film against last year’s two biggest box office hits –– the blockbuster sequel “Top Gun: Maverick” starring Tom Cruise, and James Cameron’s “Avatar: The Way of Water.”

“Tar,” set in the cut-throat world of classical music, and rock-and-roll biopic “Elvis” could also spring some surprises.

Their respective stars –– Cate Blanchett, who plays a ruthless conductor, and Austin Butler, stepping into Presley’s blue suede shoes –– are frontrunners for drama acting prizes.

Brendan Fraser, a nominee for his starring role in “The Whale”, has ruled out attending Tuesday’s gala. He has previously alleged he was once sexually assaulted by a former HFPA president.

Cruise, a producer on “Top Gun: Maverick,” is also unlikely to attend, after he returned his three Globes to the HFPA in 2021 in protest.

“The Banshees of Inisherin” holds the most overall nominations at this year’s Globes with eight, and is a favourite to win best comedy, with co-star Colin Farrell a frontrunner for best comedy actor.

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