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Golden Globes preview: 5 things to watch for, from Bradley Cooper to the Dude

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Remember them? Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga in “A Star Is Born.”
Neal Preston / Warner Bros. Pictures
Los Angeles Times

Does it feel like “A Star Is Born,” the consensus Oscar front-runner for best picture, came out a really long time ago? Like, I don’t think I’ve heard the song “Shallow” in at least 24 hours. What I’m wondering: Is anyone out there worried that Bradley Cooper’s romantic remake peaked too soon?

Those fretting should cast their cares to the wind as Sunday’s Golden Globes ceremony will provide ample reminders that “A Star Is Born” is alive and well and fully capable of roaring like a Lady Gaga aria at this year’s Oscars.

Voted on by the 88 active members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the Globes can’t be seen as a true precursor to the Oscars in that the overlap between the HFPA and the film academy is exactly one member. (Shout out to Lisa Lu!)

But this year’s Golden Globes ceremony (7 p.m. Sunday, NBC) arrives the day before academy members begin voting for Oscar nominations, providing the evening’s winners with a spotlight and megaphone to remind everyone of their worthiness, charm and, in the case of Christian Bale, a visual sign of the extreme measures he took to portray Dick Cheney.

Other than a slimmed-down Bale, what should we look for at this year’s show? Here are five key areas of interest.

How many speeches will Bradley Cooper make?

Three is the max, as the dimpled multi-hyphenate is nominated as a producer, director and actor. The HFPA has historically swooned over music-centered movies, so the Globe for best motion picture — drama is a lock. After that, though, it gets tricky.

For drama actor, Cooper is up against another performer playing a musician, Rami Malek in “Bohemian Rhapsody.” I’ve spoken to a handful of HFPA members who tell me the group went collectively gaga over the Queen biopic and would like to honor Malek, its driving engine. But the HFPA also prides itself on being awards season flag-planters, which could help Cooper since, of the two, he’s the one who’s actually in a decent movie.

So one, maybe two speeches. But not three, as Alfonso Cuarón will likely win directing honors for the visually poetic “Roma.”

Will the HFPA provide a boost to “The Favourite”?

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Olivia Colman in "The Favourite."
Atsushi Nishijima / Fox Searchlight Films

2019 Golden Globe Awards: The full nominations list »

The HFPA splits its movie categories between drama and comedy/musical, and this year, the lighter fare is providing most of the evening’s intrigue. And by “lighter,” I’m referring to nominated movies about Jim Crow-era racism, scheming manipulation in an English royal court and one of the most despised political figures of the past century.

Now that you’ve stopped laughing, let’s get down to business. Between “Green Book,” “Vice” and “The Favourite,” I’d guess Globes voters will lean toward Yorgos Lanthimos’ wickedly vulgar costume drama. Tonally, “The Favourite” is right in the wheelhouse of past winners like “The Grand Budapest Hotel” and “American Hustle.” And, unlike “Green Book,” it hasn’t faced any kind of awards season backlash.

But this is a category that could go any number of ways, including an upset win for “Mary Poppins Returns.” This bunch loves musicals, though, curiously (admirably?), the HFPA didn’t nominate any of the “Poppins” songs. So maybe its chances aren’t so practically perfect after all. I’m sticking with “The Favourite.”

Could Sandra Oh pull double duty as co-host and Globe winner?

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Presenters at the 2018 Emmys, Sandra Oh and Andy Samberg will host the Golden Globes.
Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times

Tina Fey and Amy Poehler hosted the Globes three times. In the middle year, Poehler had to change gears and head to the stage to accept an award for her lead turn on “Parks and Recreation.” (I’d like to think that there were celebratory waffles later in the evening.)

This year, co-host Oh is up for lead actress in a drama for BBC America’s celebrated series “Killing Eve.” A win isn’t certain, not with HFPA favorite Julia Roberts also in the category for her showcase turn on Amazon Studios’ “Homecoming.” But Oh should still probably enlist someone ahead of time to safeguard her trophy while she’s working. She has a strong chance of winning.

Will it be “out with the old, in with the new” again on the television side?

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Alan Arkin, left, and Michael Douglas in a scene from "The Kominsky Method."
Mike Yarish / Netflix

The last comedy series to win back-to-back Globes was “Glee” in 2009-10. “Homeland” repeated on the drama side in 2012-13. The HFPA loves to churn through its television honorees, often giving an actor the Globe one year and then completely ignoring her or him the next.

“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won comedy series last year, shortly after its first episodes debuted on Amazon Prime. Its second season saw no dip in quality and it has all the elements — eye-popping costumes and production design, great music, strong performances from women — that should make it a shoo-in to repeat.

But there’s often no discernible logic behind the HFPA’s television choices beyond an attraction to shiny new things. That means we could see Netflix’s bittersweet buddy comedy “The Kominsky Method” prevail for comedy and either “Killing Eve” or “Homecoming” take the drama series Globe.

How many “Big Lebowski” references will Jeff Bridges drop while accepting the HFPA’s Cecil B. DeMille Award?

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Jeff Bridges as the Dude in "The Big Lebowski."
Graham Barclay / Universal Home Entertainment

This is the booze-soaked Globes (a “naturally zesty enterprise”), so the “careful, man, there’s a beverage here” adage could come in handy. And since this is the HFPA, Bridges could trot out the “you’re not dealing with morons” line if he decided to take a mean-spirited, Ricky Gervais-approved approach. And given that Globe-nominated Sam Elliott will be in the room, Bridges could let a few F-bombs fly, hoping the actor who played the Stranger might shout, “Do you have to use so many cuss words?” But, you know, that’d be just, like, his opinion, man. Bridges abides, no matter what approach he takes.

glenn.whipp@latimes.com

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