Golden Globes may be an Oscar preview
Awards show to air Sunday at 8 p.m. EST on NBC
By Thurston Hatcher
(CNN) -- They've been paying homage to show business for more than a half-century. But it wasn't until 1958 that the Golden Globe Awards truly went Hollywood.
That's when Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr., as the story goes, leapt onto the stage and commandeered the ceremony, which previously had been led by members of the sponsoring Hollywood Foreign Press Association.
The Rat Packers returned the next year -- with the association's blessing -- and from then on, stars ran the show.
This year, Ben Affleck, Benjamin Bratt, Mel Gibson, Renee Zellweger, Mike Myers and Cameron Diaz are among the scheduled presenters at the 59th annual Golden Globe Awards. The show is scheduled to air Sunday night at 8 p.m. EST on NBC.
Although it's not up in the Oscars' stratosphere, the Golden Globes ceremony is still one of the film industry's most-watched events.
And it has come along way since its 1981 nadir, when Pia Zadora snagged the newcomer of the year award for her role in the disastrous film "Butterfly." It turned out that association members had been entertained at a Las Vegas hotel and casino owned by her husband.
The Golden Globes program long since has cleaned up its act, and now touts itself as a more intimate, laid-back option to the Academy Awards.
It also can be a harbinger of what lies ahead, although a win is hardly a guarantee of Oscar success. Tom Hanks won the best-actor Globe last year for his role in "Cast Away," but Russell Crowe received the Academy Award for "Gladiator."
A year earlier, "American Beauty" shared both the Golden Globe and the Oscar for best film, but the Golden Globes named Denzel Washington best actor in "The Hurricane," while the Oscars went with Kevin Spacey in "American Beauty."
The contests to come
Competing for dramatic motion picture this year are "A Beautiful Mind," "In the Bedroom," "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," "The Man Who Wasn't There" and "Mulholland Drive."
The most intriguing category could be best actress in a drama, which features an eclectic group of nominees: Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball"), Judi Dench ("Iris"), Nicole Kidman ("The Others"), Sissy Spacek ("In the Bedroom") and Tilda Swinton ("The Deep End").
Among the men, heavyweight Russell Crowe ("A Beautiful Mind") faces Will Smith ("Ali"), Kevin Spacey ("The Shipping News"), Billy Bob Thornton ("The Man Who Wasn't There") and Denzel Washington ("Training Day").
Unlike the Oscars, the Golden Globes awards structure has a separate film category for musical or comedy. The nominees are "Bridget Jones's Diary," "Gosford Park," "Legally Blonde," "Moulin Rouge" and "Shrek."
In the television category -- another departure from the Academy Awards is that the Golden Globes program has such a thing -- the nominees for top drama include "24," "Alias," "CSI: Crime Scene Investigation," "Six Feet Under," "The Sopranos" and "The West Wing."
The TV musical or comedy competitors are "Ally McBeal," "Frasier," "Friends" "Sex and the City" and "Will & Grace."
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