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Golden Globes Kick Off Awards Season

Alberto E. Rodriguez | WireImage | Getty Images

Hollywood's annual awards season are underway: celebrities are gathering designer gowns and prepping for the red carpet, and movie studios are hoping to bring home some awards.

The Golden Globes are Sunday Night. This is the awards show stars generally prefer to the Oscars because it's a bit more casual, plus dinner and alcohol are served.

And the awards handed out to movies and TV shows are traditionally a reliable indicator of what films will win nominations (votes are due Jan 23) and Oscars from the Academy Awards.

But this isn't just about accolades — money is at stake. Check out movie posters in the next month — winning a Globe becomes a key marketing tool for studios, which boast of their awards on all sorts of marketing materials, even DVD cases.

It's remarkable that such a high profile event is determined by such a tiny, niche organization. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association's 86 members, who are non-American entertainment journalists, are the small group that determines these Globes nominations. The group is often criticized for its haphazard nature — some of the journalists are stringers, while some high-profile papers like Le Monde are refused membership, and some journalists are given a lifetime membership. In stark contrast, the Academy Awards are voted on by the several thousand members of the Academy, all of who work in the industry, many of whom have been nominated.

This year the Globe's role will be a bit different because the Oscar nominations for best picture have expanded from 5 to 10. The Globes nominate five films for best drama and five for best musical or comedy, giving an award to one of each of those categories. Now that the Academy is also nominating 10 films, we'll see just how similar the Hollywood Foreign Press and the Academy's taste is.

Another company with money at stake: NBC . Our parent network broadcasts the telecast. The bad news is that viewership for awards shows has been shrinking. The good news is that a celebrity is hosting the Globes for the first time in 15 years — comedian Ricky Gervais.

If I had to guess, I'd predict that "Nine" would win best Comedy or Musical — it's packed with the international stars that the Hollywood Foreign Press loves. The best drama is a tough call, I'd guess that's it between "Avatar" and "Up in the Air," and I'd bet on "Avatar."

Take the poll and vote for your winners!

Questions?  Comments?