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Strike tarnishes Globes' glamour

  • Story Highlights
  • Golden Globes will be announced at one-hour press conference Sunday
  • Big televised bash usually presented prevented by writers' strike
  • "Atonement" is leading nominee; awards could have Oscar implications
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(CNN) -- For the first several years of its existence, the Golden Globes -- like many other Hollywood awards -- were an insular affair. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which began presenting the awards in 1944, was content to rent a ballroom at a local hotel, hand out trophies to stars or their representatives and generally sponsor a good time.

"Atonement," based on the Ian McEwan novel, is up for seven Golden Globes, the most of any film.

It wasn't until the late '50s that the awards were televised -- and then only in Los Angeles -- and not until 1966 that they received a national broadcast of their own. (In 1964 and 1965, the Globes were presented on a special segment of "The Andy Williams Show.")

And it's only in the last decade or so, after years of bouncing from network to network, that the Globes have established themselves as a major attraction, consistently with one broadcaster -- NBC -- and just as consistently one of the highest-rated awards shows of the year.

This year, however, it's forward into the past -- more or less.

There will be no giant televised gala. There will be no red carpet on which celebrities can show off the latest fashions. There won't even be much in the way of partying afterward, since many of the studios have canceled their after-awards bashes.

Instead, hamstrung by the ongoing writers' strike and actors' refusal to cross the picket line, the Globes will be presented as a one-hour press conference on NBC at 9 ET Sunday night. The press conference will air from the Beverly Hilton, home to the Globes since the early '70s. "Access Hollywood" hosts Billy Bush and Nancy O'Dell are scheduled to announce the honors. Video Watch actors react to continuing strike »

The network also will run a two-hour Globe-themed "Dateline" clip special, hosted by Matt Lauer, before the Globe announcement. Once the press conference is over, NBC will be done: At 10 p.m., the network is airing a rerun of "American Gladiators."

Despite the situation created by the strike, the Globes are still considered a key forecaster of the Oscars. This year, the Globes' leading nominee is "Atonement," the period drama based on the Ian McEwan novel about a shattered love affair. "Atonement" received seven nominations, including nods for drama, director Joe Wright and stars Keira Knightley, James McAvoy and Saoirse Ronan. Check out the nominees »

Next among dramas are "No Country for Old Men," directed by the Coen brothers, and "Michael Clayton," which stars George Clooney as a lawyer challenged by ethical dilemmas, both of which were nominated for four Globes. "Charlie Wilson's War," the Mike Nichols film about an American congressman who becomes immersed in the Cold War, earned five nominations, most in the musical/comedy division. (The Globes offer separate honors to dramas and musicals/comedies in many categories.)

Other performers who may have received a boost with Globe nominations include Julie Christie (best dramatic actress for "Away From Her"), Cate Blanchett (two nominations, including best dramatic actress for "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" and supporting actress for "I'm Not There"), Javier Bardem (supporting actor for "No Country for Old Men") and Ellen Page (best actress in a comedy or musical for "Juno").

However, the Globes didn't shine on every possible Oscar favorite. The awards overlooked Tommy Lee Jones, who earned rave reviews for "No Country" and "In the Valley of Elah," and Sean Penn, who wrote and directed "Into the Wild." Jones did receive a supporting nod from the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and Penn's work was nominated by the Directors Guild of America for its honor. Both are organizations that may influence the Academy Awards.

The main concern for the Globes, though, isn't its value as an Oscar harbinger. The awards' lack of exposure is literally costing money; NBC, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and producer Dick Clark Productions likely will lose money. Last year, the press association made $5.8 million on the telecast, according to the trade paper Variety.

The Los Angeles County Economic Development Corp. estimates its cancellation will cost $80 million overall, according to Variety.

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One celebrity-focused network isn't going to be bothered by its programming hole. E!, which usually devotes the entire evening to Globes coverage, is planning to run a marathon of its show "Keeping Up With the Kardashians," calling the evening "Stay at Home Sunday."

"We're taking the attitude that if the stars are staying home, we're staying home," E! head Ted Harbert told Variety. The press association can only hope that any viewers who stay home will still watch NBC. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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