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Golden Globes nominations preview: 5 things to watch for, including 'Mary Poppins Returns' vs. 'Roma'

Glenn Whipp, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Entertainment News

At the Governors Awards three years ago, I was talking to "The Martian" screenwriter Drew Goddard about the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.'s placement of the space film in the comedy/musical category.

"These days, it's almost impossible to classify a lot of things," Goddard said. "I mean, I never would have considered 'Birdman' a comedy."

Ridley Scott, director of "The Martian," ambled over. Told that his movie would be competing in the Globes' comedy/musical category, he paused, took in the news and asked, "You mean we're up against movies like 'Ted'?"

Yup. Scott responded with the only appropriate reaction when the subject is the Golden Globes: He laughed derisively and raised his hands, palms up, making the universal "what are you going to do?" gesture.

And, yes, "The Martian," won that Globe. (Oscar best picture winner "Birdman," by the way, did not, losing to "The Grand Budapest Hotel" the year before.)

Sporting separate categories for drama and comedy/musical, the Golden Globes nominations -- to be announced Thursday in two rounds beginning at 8:15 a.m. Eastern -- are often most interesting for the glimpses of awards season strategy. With that in mind, here are five questions worth raising this year.

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WHAT MOVIES WILL MAKE THE HFPA LAUGH?

How about "Green Book," the savvy crowd-pleaser that looks at America's racial divisions with unyielding optimism? Or "Vice," a Dick Cheney biopic that practically begs Americans to wake up and pay attention before the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride into town?

These two "comedies," along with "Crazy Rich Asians," the musical "Mary Poppins Returns" and the pitch-black, profane and often tragic "The Favourite" are likely to make up the comedy/musical field, though it'd be nice to see the poignantly funny "Eighth Grade" somehow find its way in. (It's quite possible it could knock out "Vice" as political movies often leave HFPA voters -- which number 88 this year -- cold.)

WAIT. SO 'A STAR IS BORN' ISN'T IN THE MUSICAL CATEGORY?

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