The Golden Globes often gets knocked as the poor, celebrity-obsessed cousin to the Academy Awards.

Still, one can't deny that it's more relaxed, free-wheeling spirit (open bar, anyone?) can make the annual celebration of the year's best movies and television an infinitely more appealing awards show for viewers at home — in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Here are five things to keep an eye on, as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association holds its latest Golden Globes gala at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday night.


Ricky Gervais returns

The irreverent comedian is back as host, his fourth time at the podium (undoubtedly with a glass of beer in hand). He returns after Tina Fey and Amy Poehler's widely praised three-year stint as co-hosts.

Gervais has pledged to forge on with his unapologetic, boundary-pushing, Hollywood-skewering brand of humour — after all, even after mocking his HFPA bosses in previous editions of the awards show, they keep asking him to come back.

"I wasn't trying to bring anyone down, I wasn't trying to undermine the moral fabric of America. I was making jokes. I suppose they weren't used to it being a bit of a tease and a bit of a roast," he told The Hollywood Reporter in December.

"But I made the decision: Do I pander to 200 fragile egos in the room or 200 million people watching at home? There's nothing in it for the people watching at home. They're not winning awards. It's not a spectator sport watching other people win awards, so I tried to make it one."


Mel Gibson returns

Mel Gibson

Mel Gibson, seen arriving at the Los Angeles premiere of Mad Max: Fury Road in May 2015, is one of the presenters at Sunday's Golden Globes ceremony. (Jordan Strauss/Associated Press)

After years of laying low, the embattled actor, filmmaker and former A-lister was unveiled as one of Sunday's presenters, joining the likes of Jim Carrey, Helen Mirren, Amy Adams, Jamie Foxx and Channing Tatum.

Here's hoping the Braveheart and Lethal Weapon star — whose propensity for angry outbursts and use of anti-Semitic and racial epithets was infamously unveiled during a widely publicized DUI arrest in 2006 and amid a domestic-violence investigation in 2010 — has developed a tough skin.


A Canadian connection

emma-donoghue-852

London, Ont.,-based writer Emma Donoghue wrote the film adaptation to her bestselling novel Room.

Noted Irish-Canadian author Emma Donoghue is basking in the film awards-season spotlight with her screenplay debut for the captivity drama Room. 

The London, Ont.,-based writer is earning cinema industry accolades for the tale, which is based on her powerful, award-winning novel of the same name. The movie won the prized People's Choice award at conclusion of the Toronto International Film Festival.

She's one of three Room contenders at Sunday's Globes, with Brie Larson nominated for best actress in a drama and the movie itself in the running for best dramatic film.


Must-see TV

TV Tougher USA

Hacker drama Mr. Robot, starring Rami Malek, left, and Christian Slater, was one of the newer shows that earned Golden Globes recognition. (David Giesbrecht/USA Network/Associated Press)

The current golden age of television is evident in this year's Globe nominations, with the HFPA recognizing a wide field of contenders. 

Six shows — all new or relatively so — earned three nominations each: American Crime, Fargo, Mr. Robot, Outlander, Transparent and Wolf Hall. Meanwhile, other newcomers such as Master of None and Blunt Talk also made a splash.

Tune in and you might discover some shows to PVR and binge-watch.


Streaming is here to stay

Golden Globes Nominations

Streaming services have crossed over, with the Golden Globes recognizing Netflix, Amazon and Hulu for creating shows like Transparent, starring Jeffrey Tambor, right. (Beth Dubber/Amazon Studios/Associated Press)

In case anyone was still questioning whether streaming services can produce quality programming, the Golden Globes recognition of streaming network productions such as House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Narcos, Beasts of No Nation, Transparent, Mozart in the Jungle and Casual are demonstrating that amazing TV is coming from a host of new sources.


Though decided by the relatively small, 93-member HFPA, the Globes are undoubtedly an important precursor to the Oscars, which are voted on by the more than 6,000 members of the U.S. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The 73rd Golden Globe Awards will take place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles on Sunday and air live on NBC. 


2016 Golden Globe nominees: 

Best film, drama

  • Carol
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

Best film, musical or comedy

  • The Big Short
  • Joy
  • The Martian
  • Cinderella
  • Spy
  • Trainwreck

Best TV series, drama

  • Empire
  • Game of Thrones
  • Mr. Robot
  • Narcos
  • Outlander

Best TV series, musical or comedy

  • Casual
  • Mozart in the Jungle
  • Orange Is the New Black
  • Silicon Valley
  • Transparent
  • Veep

Best series or motion picture made for TV

  • American Crime
  • American Horror Story: Hotel
  • Fargo
  • Flesh & Bone
  • Wolf Hall

Best actress in a film, drama

  • Cate BlanchettCarol 
  • Brie Larson, Room
  • Rooney MaraCarol
  • Saoirse RonanBrooklyn
  • Alicia VikanderThe Danish Girl

Best actor in a film, drama

  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Leonardo DiCaprioThe Revenant
  • Michael FassbenderSteve Jobs
  • Eddie RedmayneThe Danish Girl
  • Will Smith, Concussion

Best actor in a film, musical or comedy

  • Christian Bale, The Big Short
  • Steve Carell, The Big Short
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Al PacinoDanny Collins
  • Mark RuffaloInfinitely Polar Bear

Best actress in a film, musical or comedy

  • Jennifer Lawrence, Joy
  • Melissa McCarthy, Spy
  • Amy SchumerTrainwreck
  • Maggie Smith, The Lady in the Van
  • Lily TomlinGrandma 
Best director, film
  • Todd HaynesCarol
  • Alejandro G. Inarritu, The Revenant
  • Tom McCarthy, Spotlight
  • George Miller, Mad Max: Fury Road
  • Ridley Scott, The Martian

Best film, animated

  • Anomalisa
  • The Good Dinosaur
  • Inside Out
  • The Peanuts Movie
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie

Best supporting actress, film

  • Jane Fonda, Youth
  • Jennifer Jason Leigh, The Hateful Eight
  • Helen Mirren, Trumbo
  • Alicia Vikander, Ex Machina
  • Kate Winslet, Steve Jobs
Best supporting actor, film
  • Paul Dano, Love & Mercy
  • Idris Elba, Beasts of No Nation
  • Mark Rylance, Bridge of Spies
  • Michael Shannon, 99 Homes
  • Sylvester Stallone, Creed
Best original score, film
  • Carol
  • The Danish Girl
  • The Hateful Eight
  • Steve Jobs
  • The Revenant 
Best original song, film
  • Love Me Like You Do (Fifty Shades of Grey)
  • One Kind of Love (Love and Mercy)
  • See You Again (Furious 7)
  • Simple Song #3 (Youth)
  • Writing's on the Wall (Spectre)
Best foreign film
  • The Brand New Testament
  • The Club 
  • The Fencer
  • Mustang
  • Son of Saul

Best screenplay

  • Emma DonoghueRoom
  • Tom McCarthy, Josh Singer, Spotlight
  • Charles Randolph, Adam McKayThe Big Short
  • Aaron SorkinSteve Jobs
  • Quentin Tarantino, The Hateful Eight

Best actress in a TV series, musical or comedy

  • Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
  • Jamie Lee Curtis, Scream Queens
  • Julia Louis-DreyfusVeep
  • Gina Rodriguez, Jane the Virgin
  • Lily TomlinGrace and Frankie

Best actor in a TV series, musical or comedy

  • Aziz AnsariMaster of None
  • Gael Garcia BernalMozart in the Jungle
  • Rob Lowe, The Grinder
  • Patrick Stewart, Blunt Talk
  • Jeffrey Tambor, Transparent

Best actress in a TV series, drama

  • Caitriona BalfeOutlander           
  • Viola Davis, How to Get Away With Murder
  • Eva Green, Penny Dreadful
  • Taraji P. HensonEmpire
  • Robin Wright, House of Cards

Best actor in a TV series, drama

  • Jon HamnMad Men
  • Rami MalekMr. Robot
  • Wagner MouraNarcos
  • Bob OdenkirkBetter Call Saul
  • Liev Schreiber, Ray Donovan
Best actress in a limited series or TV film 
  • Kirsten Dunst, Fargo
  • Lady Gaga, American Horror Story: Hotel
  • Sarah Hay, Flesh & Bone
  • Felicity Huffman, American Crime
  • Queen Latifah, Bessie
Best actor in a limited series or TV film
  • Idris Elba, Luther
  • Oscar Isaac, Show Me a Hero
  • David Oyelowo, Nightingale
  • Mark Rylance, Wolf Hall
  • Patrick Wilson, Fargo
Best supporting actress in a series, limited series or TV movie
  • Uzo Aduba, Orange is the New Black
  • Joanne Froggatt, Downton Abbey
  • Regina King, American Crime
  • Judith Light, Transparent
  • Maura Tierney, The Affair
Best supporting actor in a series, limited series or TV movie
  • Alan Cumming, The Good Wife
  • Damian Lewis, Wolf Hall
  • Ben Mendelsohn, Bloodline
  • Tobias Menzies, Outlander
  • Christian Slater, Mr. Robot