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Golden Globes look to set pace for this year’s Oscar and Emmy races

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Say what you want about Ricky Gervais, but in the year’s since he lit into the Golden Globes (on their own show), the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has seemingly turned a corner. For the first time in a long time, this year’s nominees aren’t made up solely of actors who would look good on a red carpet. Tonight’s ceremony has an added air of legitimacy as many critics and analysts believe the winners could be better positioned for Oscar gold.

What it will come down on the film side to is whether or not “Gravity” will top “12 Years A Slave” and if “Wolf of Wall Street” will upset “American Hustle.” The winners of those races will get a huge boost when their Oscar campaigns fire up again after their inevitable nominations. According to the combined experts today at awards site Gold Derby, “Slave” and “Hustle” have the edge.

This morning’s final standings have nearly all the top critics choosing “Slave” and “Hustle” as the frontrunners (in their respective categories) as they’ve been for nearly the entire months of November and December. It’s not really a shock given the material is more in line with what the HFPA tends to favor.

Still the question is did a film like “Slave” peak to soon, leaving it vulnerable for something like “Gravity” to swoop in and take the prize. After all, “Gravity,” like “Life of Pi,” “Hugo” and “Avatar” is a technological achievement which means it’s better suited to succeed at the Oscars, then the Globes.

It’s also worth noting that with the exception of “Dallas Buyers Club” and “Saving Mr. Banks” (and possibly an outlier or two) all of the major players for Best Picture find themselves represented in the Globes’ two Best Picture races. Let’s also be honest, both of the above are classic Oscar-bait movies and shouldn’t have a problem securing a nomination next week. But for this discussion, they aren’t a factor.

On the TV side, critics are more split. While “Breaking Bad” is seen as the odds-on favorite to sweep the Emmys, HFPA voters hasn’t been as keen to reward the Vince Gilligan masterpiece. Including tonight, “Bad” has been nominated for 7 Golden Globes and has yet to win a single category. As a result, you’d assume voters would want to honor the show in its final year as tip of the hat, but the Globes are bigger on being the first to crown a winner, not the latest.

With that in mind, today’s final rankings from Gold Derby’s TV pundits, show “Bad” battling both “House of Cards” and “Masters of Sex.” “Cards” for obvious reasons is the industry’s shiny new toy and a win makes it the first online/streaming series to capture that achievement. It’s going to be hard for HFPA voters to pass up being associated with that accolade.

With “Sex,” the Showtime drama seems poised to breakout at next year’s Emmys and because of that, its odds have gone up considerately. Although voters could conceivably have their cake and eat it too by giving “Cards” the win, but still being on record as recognizing “Sex” as the next big thing.

Regardless, don’t count out CBS’ “The Good Wife” which has had a resurgence year and a victory here would be a shot across the bow at the Emmys. While Emmy voters championed the show in the beginning, it has slipped out of the Best Drama race the past two years despite strong seasons.

Lastly on the comedy side, it’s literally anybody’s race as there is no clear cut favorite among Gold Derby experts. Today’s final poll has “Big Bang Theory” and “Girls” neck and neck, with underdog “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” gaining ground. It’s entirely possible “Theory” and “Girls” split the vote and the first year FOX comedy sneaks in.

No matter what happens tonight, this was a big turning point for the Globes, who were universally praised for this year’s group of nominations, which is rarely the case.

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