The Golden Globes have long had a reputation as the freewheeling, drunk cousin of the Oscars, but awards campaigns have become stricter over the past few years and the Globes ceremony has seen fewer and fewer screwups. Still, there's always potential when you throw a lot of famous, insecure people into a room and ply them with alcohol, and this year's Globes lineup has several story lines worth watching. Vulture's gone ahead and picked out ten reasons to turn on the Globes this Sunday (and if these aren't enough for you, we'll have plenty more to dig into that night with our extensive Globes coverage).
1. The Speech-off Between Natalie Portman and Annette Bening
The two actresses are considered the front-runners for the Best Actress Oscar, but since the Globes gives out two separate awards for comedic and dramatic actresses, the odds are that both will get to take the stage Sunday. If Portman's speech is a stiff and Bening tells better stories in that deep grande dame voice of hers, it could make a difference to on-the-fence Oscar voters whose pick comes down to "Who would I rather see at the microphone?"
2. The Opportunity for the Worlds of Film and TV to Collide
Sure, we've had so many awards precursors thus far that it's easy to predict who'll win most of the Globes in each film category, but at least the TV actors on hand can add a little frisson to the cutaways. Would it be too much to ask for a match-to-haircut shot of Jane Lynch during Annette Bening's speech, or Modern Family star Sofia Vergara adjusting her bustline during David Fincher's win for Best Director?
3. A Public Appearance by Michael Douglas
There is exactly one reason that Douglas got a Supporting Actor nod for Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, and it's so the recovering actor could make his high-profile red-carpet debut at the Globes. Douglas has already road tested his reemergence at the Today show, but this is the big one.
4. The Chance That an Awful Johnny Depp Performance Could Win
You guys, Best Actor in a Comedy is something to be concerned about. Neither Kevin Spacey (for Casino Jack) nor Paul Giamatti (for Barney's Version) found much traction with their films, so the winner very well could be Jake Gyllenhaal for Love and Other Drugs, or Johnny Depp for the wince-inducing one-two nomination punch of Alice in Wonderland and The Tourist. Are the Globes really going to fly Depp out from the South of France or wherever and have him get all dressed up like a late-in-life lesbian entrepreneur selling turquoise jewelry in a cute little New Mexico bodega just to send him home empty-handed? We fear not.
5. Momentum for Boardwalk Empire or The Walking Dead
One good thing about the Globes is that they're always quick to acknowledge the hot new thing in television, and this year, cable provided two hot new things: Boardwalk Empire and The Walking Dead. The former has Martin Scorsese's imprimatur, but the latter appeals to the Globes' love of genre. A win for either would bestow some helpful Emmy momentum months from now.
6. Burlesque Sees Its Globes Campaign Bear Fruit
Look, Screen Gems didn't fly the HFPA out to Vegas for a Cher concert without a little quid pro quo in mind. It'd be a little outrageous for the movie to win Best Comedy or Musical (it was already outrageous enough that it landed a nomination), but a Best Song trophy is rather likely.
Justin Bieber is presenting an award alongside True Grit star Hailee Steinfeld. Hope you're ready for all those tweeted death threats, Hailee!
8. An Upset by Piper Perabo
Television has never lacked for strong roles for women, so it's typically hard to break into a Best Actress category, since there are so many powerhouse actresses ruling the roost year after year. Just look at this year's lineup: Julianna Margulies, Kyra Sedgwick, Katey Sagal, Elisabeth Moss, Piper Perabo ... oh, wait. Piper, you may be better off losing this one, but if you manage to pull off an upset, expect your Google searches to increase dramatically on Monday.
9. A Spider-Man Photo Opportunity
We've seen set photos and one moody publicity still, but Sunday's ceremony is a great opportunity for Andrew Garfield (nominated for The Social Network) and Emma Stone (nominated for Easy A) to show off their Spider-Man chemistry in the flesh. If the Globes were smart, they'd have the duo present together and crack a Turn Off the Dark joke while they're at it.
10. The End of Temple Grandin's Awards-Season Domination
Yes, the Claire Danes vehicle Temple Grandin is still up for many more awards that it will probably win on Sunday, but after this ceremony, it'll have been nearly a year since its HBO premiere, making it ineligible for future kudos consideration. (Though we may look back fondly on these days once HBO gets its juggernaut under way for Mildred Pierce, the channel's upcoming Kate Winslet mini-series.)