Here is the cold, hard reality of the 65th annual Golden Globe Awards that will be handed out Sunday at the Beverly Hilton: A lot of people are going to lose a lot of money.
The Hollywood writers strike forced organizers to cancel the usual boozy three-hour ceremony, and replace it with a low-wattage one-hour newscast.
NBC could be forced to return $10 million-$15 million to advertisers, and the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. will pocket a license fee much less than its usual $5 million check, Fashion designers, party planners, caterers and limo drivers, will also be take a hit.
Then there's the unquantifiable effect on the studios.
Several movies that most needed the Globes will feel the pinch. Such heavily nominated films as Atonement and Sweeney Todd have done respectable but not blowout domestic numbers -- $19 million and $39 million, respectively -- and if history is any predictor, they would have seen a spike after their clips and stars got Globes airtime. Ditto for There Will Be Blood, which is just beginning to widen.
Lauded performers who wouldn't normally be high on awards season or entertainment media radars such as Casey Affleck (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford) and Marion Cotillard (La Vie en Rose) could have seen career boosts from red-carpet exposure.
A number of possibilities, including the total cancellation of NBC's telecast or a postponement of the show and ceremony, had been considered before the hybrid gambit, with a frantic set of negotiations among the four interested parties (NBC, the HFPA, the Writers Guild of America and telecast producer Dick Clark Prods.) nearly leading to an agreement in the days leading up to the ceremony.
In the end, the guild said no, and NBC said it would go ahead with a minimal telecast reimagined as a news division program in the hope that it could generate at least respectable viewership and pacify advertisers. Late in the week, the network's Los Angeles outpost KNBC said it would telecast the East Coast feed at 6 p.m. PST (which is the actual time the event takes place); there's no need to delay a show for primetime if there really isn't a show to speak of.
Whether the scaled-back telecast will generate anything more than token interest in what is annually one of the more anticipated events on the Hollywood awards calendar is unclear. Given the sorry ratings of the People's Choice Awards earlier in the week on CBS, the outlook does not look bright.
Yet for all that pessimism, winners will be named Sunday and Globes will be handed out, facts that the drama (or meta-drama) around the show shouldn't entirely obscure.
The Globe nominations, announced December 13, came complete this year with the usual assortment of surprises courtesy of an association that relishes the opportunity to keep the town guessing.
On the feature film side, Sean Penn's Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage) got snubbed in all but the original score and song categories, as did the hits Knocked Up (Universal) and Superbad (Sony) among the comedy nominees.
The movie nominees also were, well, steeped in blood: Not only is that the title of one of the seven (seven!) nominees in the drama category, even a musical -- DreamWorks/Paramount's Sweeney Todd -- is serving up buckets of it. Considering that and There Will Be Blood (Paramount Vantage), the Coen brothers' criminal saga No Country for Old Men (Miramax), the Russian mobster flick Eastern Promises (Focus) and American Gangster (Universal), there's a violent strain to the contenders.
It also is a year marked by decidedly unconventional fare in the musical/comedy category, including the stage-inspired mayhem of Tim Burton's Sweeney Todd, the cult hit Across the Universe (Sony), the Tom Hanks-Julia Roberts seriocomic effort Charlie Wilson's War (Universal), the kitschy 1960s homage Hairspray (New Line) and the wry teen-pregnancy saga Juno (Fox Searchlight).
As for television, the Globes cited 22 different cable projects while commercial broadcast found only 13 programs receiving nominations.