Will 'Moonlight,' 'La La Land' shine at Golden Globes?

Coming-of-age drama 'Moonlight' shines
Coming-of-age drama 'Moonlight' shines

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    Coming-of-age drama 'Moonlight' shines

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Coming-of-age drama 'Moonlight' shines 01:24

(CNN)The Golden Globes have lost some luster as a bellwether for the Oscars in recent years, which doesn't mean that Hollywood loves the annual awards any less.

Part of that has to do with the solid ratings the program has drawn since moving to NBC, thanks to a star-heavy lineup of categories that, unlike the Academy Awards, doesn't deal with lower-profile disciplines like production design and sound.
Globe nominees will be unveiled Monday, and this year's awards -- selected by the 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. -- could at least help frame the contours of this year's Oscar race, with critics groups having showered praise on "Moonlight," an independent coming-of-age story about a young African-American; and "La La Land," a musical starring Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone. "Manchester by the Sea," Kenneth Lonergan's sober drama starring Casey Affleck, has also garnered considerable recognition.
The Globes split their top awards into two categories, "drama" and "comedy or musical." Because there are usually few true musicals to consider, that's created some strange bedfellows, such as the sci-fi movie "The Martian" awkwardly landing in that race last year.
    The HFPA also recognizes television, which is often something of an afterthought because of all the year-end awards-season focus on movies; still, the Globes have historically capitalized on their position in the calendar (the show will air January 8) to single out fresh new series before the Emmys can.
    So what should those trying to parse the nominations look for in Monday's announcement? Here are six areas to keep an eye on:
    'Moonlight' Moonlight chronicles the life of a young black man from childhood to adulthood as he struggles to find his place in the world while growing up in a rough neighborhood of Miami.
    Will "Moonlight" and "La La Land" shine?
    Both films have done extremely well among critics' groups, as has "Manchester by the Sea." While the competition is generally fiercer among dramas, whatever emerges from that field and a strong showing by "La La Land" could help congeal a sense of this year's perceived frontrunners.
    Blockbusters blocked out?
    Most of the films receiving awards buzz and attention are relatively small-scale fare, as opposed to the blockbusters that studios release. But is there room for a more broadly popular choice to sneak in -- especially at the Globes, which seemingly scripts its lineup of contenders to make the show as TV-friendly as possible?
    Denzel Washington plays Troy Maxson and Viola Davis plays Rose Maxson in Fences from Paramount Pictures. Directed by Denzel Washington from a screenplay by August Wilson.
    Does the diversity wave start here?
    After the criticism triggered by a lack of minority Oscar nominees the last two years, Hollywood has responded with what's been heralded as an unprecedented wave of strong showcases for African-American actors. Will that translate into nods to "Moonlight," "Fences," "Hidden Figures" and the near-forgotten "The Birth of a Nation," among others?
    Another international invasion?
    If the Hollywood Foreign Press has exhibited one consistent tendency, it's recognition of international stars in general, and European ones in particular.
    That could bode well for French actress Isabelle Huppert ("Elle") and "Loving" stars Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton (an Australian), as well as Mel Gibson, making a possible comeback bid as a director -- after having been dubbed a Hollywood pariah -- with the movie "Hacksaw Ridge." Ditto for "The Crown," the Netflix drama with a predominantly British cast.
    Liam Neeson stars as Father Cristóvão Ferreira in 'Silence," a story about two Jesuit priests who face persecution when they travel to Japan to locate their mentor and propagate Catholicism.
    Is "Silence" golden?
    Martin Scorsese's passion project "Silence" -- about two 17th-century missionaries journeying to Japan, played by Andrew Garfield and Adam Driver -- would seem to be a bit of a Globes wild card.
    Scorsese is a favorite of the group -- an eight-time nominee and three-time winner, which included receiving the Cecil B. DeMille career-achievement award in 2010.
    Mandy Moore as Rebecca, Mackenzie Hancsicsak as Kate, Milo Ventimiglia as Jack, Parker Bates as Kevin, Lonnie Chavis as Randall in NBC's 'This is Us.'
    Can newcomers break through in TV?
    Several shows that premiered in the second half of 2016 -- after the Emmy deadline -- could make their mark at the Globes. Potential first-time contenders include NBC's breakout drama "This is Us;" HBO's "Westworld," "Insecure" and "The Night Of;" Netflix's "Stranger Things" and "The Crown;" FX's "Atlanta;" and ABC's "Designated Surivivor," more likely for star Kiefer Sutherland than the show itself.