Golden Globes 2020: stars prepare for the return of Ricky Gervais

Stars such as Jennifer Aniston, Jennifer Lopez and Adam Driver will be battling it out for Golden Globes this weekend as the year’s first awards show kicks off Oscar season.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is predicted to hand out prizes to Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman in the drama categories and Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon Time in Hollywood on the comedy side. On the small screen, the second season of Fleabag, HBO and Sky’s Chernobyl and the acclaimed dark comedy Succession are all frontrunners.

After last year’s hosts, Andy Samberg and Sandra Oh, avoided going for the jugular, this year sees the return of Ricky Gervais, who last commandeered the ceremony in 2016. The comedian has previously used the stage to ridicule many of the attendees and the awards themselves, joking that a Golden Globe is “worthless”. He has revealed that he plans not to let the current climate affect his routine this time around.

“People like the idea of freedom of speech until they hear something they don’t like,” he said to the Hollywood Reporter. “So there’s still a pressure, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to water it down or back down and not say what I want.”

Gervais has come under fire in recent years for transphobic jokes both on stage and on Twitter. Last month, he was criticised for a number of tweets attacking trans women, writing: “We need to protect the rights of women. Not erode them because some men have found a new cunning way to dominate and demonise an entire sex.”

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In the same Hollywood Reporter interview, Gervais reiterated that he isn’t transphobic but does believe that jokes about the trans community shouldn’t be avoided. “I can justify the jokes, but I get it,” he said. “Some people, when you deal with contentious issues or taboo subjects, the very mention of them is the sacrilege. That’s why they stay taboo. People straight away, particularly with a comedian, if you’re joking about a subject, they think you’re anti it as opposed to pro it.”

This year’s ceremony will also be going vegan for the first time, with “a 100% plant-based meal” served to attendees. “It was a little shocking when first mentioned, because of being very close to the actual Globes and having already decided on a menu,” Matthew Morgan, executive chef at the Beverly Hilton, said. “But once we thought about it and the message that it sent, we were really excited about it.”

Mark Ruffalo has tweeted his support for the shift, writing that the HFPA “should be commended for this and all the other awards shows should follow suit”.

While the Globes has been seen as an important predictor for the Oscars, the voting base is made up of about 90 voters compared to more than 6,000 members of the Academy. Last year saw Green Book, Rami Malek and Olivia Colman win at both ceremonies.

Jennifer Lopez behind the scenes on the set of Hustlers

Jennifer Lopez behind the scenes on the set of Hustlers. Photograph: Barbara Nitke/Courtesy of STXfilms

This year’s big screen acting categories are likely to produce wins for Brad Pitt as best supporting actor for Once Upon A Time in Hollywood, Renee Zellweger for best actress in a drama for Judy and Adam Driver for best actor in a drama for Marriage Story. Jennifer Lopez and Laura Dern will face off in the best supporting actress category for their roles in Hustlers and Marriage Story, respectively.

There was criticism following the announcement of this year’s nominations for the lack of female representation in both the best director and best screenplay categories despite acclaimed films from Greta Gerwig (Little Women), Lorene Scafaria (Hustlers) and Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood).

“What happened is that we don’t vote by gender,” the HFPA’s president, Lorenzo Soria, said to Variety. “We vote by film and accomplishment.”

The small screen awards could see Jennifer Aniston named best actress in a drama series for Apple’s critically divisive The Morning Show while Phoebe Waller-Bridge is favourite to win best actress in a comedy for the second season of Fleabag.

It’s also set to be a major night for Netflix, entering the evening with a record 17 nominations, including their first best picture nods.

This year’s Oscar nominations will be announced on 13 January and the ceremony will take place on 9 February


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