Golden Globes preview: Glitz, glamour and stars, oh my!

Adam Graham
The Detroit News

There are two schools of thought about the Golden Globe Awards. One is that they’re meaningless, given out by an organization of junket flunkies with no artistic credibility or merit. The other is that while the first part is true, they’re a lot of fun to watch, so just shut up and enjoy the show!

The truth is the Golden Globes represent, at a base level, the best part about watching an awards show. Look at all those stars! They’re all having such a good time! Yippee! The Golden Globes — which honor the movies and television — are all glitz and glamour with none of that technical blowhard-ery to bog things down. Want celebs? The Globes has got ’em. Sound mixers aren’t allowed in the building.

As for the awards themselves, well, they don’t mean a whole heck of a lot. The Globes were once thought to be an indicator of the following month’s Academy Awards, but that was before Hollywood’s awards season became a nonstop barrage of shows with three-letter acronyms you’d need a cheat sheet to keep straight. As far as being a sign of things to come, well, tell that to Madonna, who won a Best Actress trophy for “Evita” in 1997 and was subsequently blanked on a nomination at the Oscars.

Still, they’re fun, the show moves along at a brisk pace, and there’s plenty to keep viewers entertained. Here are the top things to watch for on Sunday’s Golden Globes telecast:

The stars

There’s no shortage of starpower at this year’s Globes, with nominees including Jennifer Lawrence, Will Smith, Matt Damon, Al Pacino, Christian Bale, Jon Hamm, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Bryan Cranston. The Globes are famous for keeping things boozy, so stars will be well-lubricated as the night goes on, which tends to make for some interesting chatter. The star parade begins at 6 p.m. with E!’s live red carpet coverage, so strap in because it’s going to be a long night.

The host

Ricky Gervais is back as host, after the tandem of Tina Fey and Amy Poehler steered the ship the last three years. Fey and Poehler were acerbic, where Gervais tends to be acidic, and the former is a better fit for the Globes bash. But Gervais knows how to land a punchline and let it sting, so expect plenty of uncomfortable moments as he lays into Bill Cosby, Donald Trump and whoever else he decides to prey upon. Mel Gibson, the recipient of some of Gervais’ sharpest barbs, is scheduled to be a presenter, and the two may need restraining orders to keep them apart. Pass the popcorn.

The Leo

The most compelling story of the awards season — outside of whether the Academy Awards will grant a Best Picture nomination to “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” — is whether Leonardo DiCaprio will win an Oscar for his insane-o work in the survivalist epic “The Revenant.” He’s been nominated four times, going back to 1994’s “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” but the 41-year-old has never won, which is becoming high on the list of America’s Greatest Injustices. A win at the Globes could get the momentum rolling, but bear in mind he’s won two Globes before — for “The Aviator” and “The Wolf of Wall Street” — and has yet to cash in on the big prize. Still, it’s compelling!

The ‘Robot’

USA has long been the most basic of basic cable channels. Home to shows such as “Psych,” “Burn Notice” and “Royal Pains,” the network airs shows that no one on the Internet even bothers recapping. (The exception to that rule is WWE’s weekly slugfest “Raw,” but that’s another story.) That changed, finally, with the network’s hacker nailbiter “Mr. Robot,” which ushered in a new era of prestige programming at USA. “Robot” is up for three Golden Globes, including Best Actor (Rami Malek) and Best Series, Drama, putting it in a six-way tie for most-nominated series. The competition is stiff — it’s up against “Empire” and “Game of Thrones” in the big category — but the Globes love going out on a limb for new shows, and “Mr. Robot” is an underdog story worth getting behind.

The rest

Todd Haynes’ “Carol” is the most-nominated film, with five nods; “The Big Short,” “The Revenant” and “Steve Jobs” all follow with four. “Mad Max: Fury Road” is up for a pair of awards, and it would be a kick to see 70-year-old Australian madman George Miller win for best director, but Haynes and “The Revenant’s” Alejandro González Iñárritu are stiff competition. Sylvester Stallone is up for a Supporting Actor trophy for “Creed,” and he’s got a chance at winning, as long as he doesn’t get blocked by Idris Elba, nominated here for “Beasts of No Nation” (Elba is also nominated in the TV category, for “Luther”). Even Lady Gaga’s up for an award (for “American Horror Story”). There’s a lot going on. Shut up and enjoy the show!

73rd Golden Globe Awards / 8 p.m. Sunday / NBC