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Preview of the 2017 Golden Globes

You just never know what will become the hot topic at the Golden Globe Awards. Last year, one of the biggest disappointments backstage in the press conference room at the Golden Globes was Denzel Washington's decision to pass on an appearance after a lackluster acceptance speech for his Cecil B. DeMille Award. The big surprise was how the Twitterverse raged on about an off-hand etiquette comment by Jennifer Lawrence to a reporter. No one backstage gasped when Lawrence made the comment, but faux experts emerged worldwide amongst people who weren't even there. 

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The Golden Globes have been kind to Washington. In 1990, he received a Best Supporting Actor Award for "Glory" preceding his Oscar win. In 2000, he was Best Actor in a Motion Picture (Drama) for "The Hurricane." In comparison, George Clooney had been gracious and self-deprecating on-stage and backstage (and the fashion police were decidedly ungracious toward Amal Clooney about her gloves) in 2015 for his acceptance of the Cecil B. DeMille award.

This year, Washington is up for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama for "Fences," but not for Best Director for the same. Recently, he took the press to task, so if he wins, who knows what he might say. 

With the upcoming Women's March on Washington D.C. (21 January 2017), even with a president-elect friendly host like Jimmy Fallon, this year's Cecil B. DeMille honoree, Meryl Streep will surely take the opportunity to comment on social issues. Streep is also nominated for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy as the unmusical titular character, "Florence Foster Jenkins." "Florence Foster Jenkins" is also nominated for Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), and Hugh Grant and Simon Helberg received nominations (Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor, respectively). 

Perhaps because this is the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, there isn't a problem with blinding whiteness in the nominees, this year or last. Streep and Washington were both on hand Thursday when Golden Globe nominee Viola Davis celebrated the unveiling of her Hollywood Walk of Fame star. Davis has four previous Golden Globe nominations ("Doubt" in 2008, "The Help" in 2011 and ABC series "How to Get Away with Murder" in 2014 and 2015), but no wins. She is nominated for her performance in "Fences," a role for which she collected her second Tony in 2010 (Her first was as Best Featured Actress for August Wilson's "King Hedley II" in 2001). 

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While fashion has been a feature at most awards ceremonies, the Golden Globes can be an indicator of women's growing concerns. Elisabeth Moss showed her sentiments toward the mani-cam at the 2014 Golden Globes before she won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Television Film for "Top of the Lake."

The #AskHerMore campaign has definitely had some effect, even if Chris Rock missed the message at the Oscars last year, most journalists covering the Golden Globes have gotten the idea.

The Golden Globes dodged the issues raised by the Nate Parker and his "The Birth of a Nation" when his acquittal of rape charges nearly 20 years ago became part of a national conversation—no nominations for that film, but the Women's Film Critics Circle was recently criticized for awarding Casey Affleck Best Actor for "Manchester by the Sea," given the 2010 charges of sexual harassment made against him (settled out of court and dismissed). The Hollywood Foreign Press has also nominated Affleck for a Best Performance in a Motion Picture, Drama. 

On stage, I look forward to presenters and former nominees Amy Schumer and Sofia Vergara riffing off of the tone set by Fallon. With the champagne readily available at the tables and the chummy atmosphere backstage, there may be comedy and social commentary in the remarks on Sunday. The Golden Globes may also hint at how Hollywood and California will confront the next four years in Trumpland USA.  

NBC will broadcast the 74th Golden Globe Awards ceremony at the Beverly Hilton Hotel from 5 p.m. (8 p.m. ET), live coast-to-coast. “The HFPA Presents: Globes Red Carpet Live,” the official red carpet pre-show for the “74th Annual Golden Globe® Awards” will stream live on Twitter from the red carpet at The Beverly Hilton from 3-5 p.m. PT / 6-8 p.m. ET.

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