Gift boxes, not gift bags. An exceptionally crowded red carpet, but no Dick Clark.
The Golden Globes may be heading toward its 62nd trophy-distribution effort Sunday at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, but the old show has some new, pardon the un-Hollywood expression, wrinkles.
Here's a preview of the award-show action in all its Botox-free glory:
Howard Hughes, Merlot and Mork
The Aviator, the scrubbed-clean portrait of germophobic billionaire Hughes, is the consensus pick of oddsmakers and pundits to capture the Globe for Best Motion Picture, Drama; Sideways, a writer's bittersweet journey through wine country, is the favorite for Best Motion Picture, Comedy.
Martin Scorsese is considered the best bet to claim his second Globe of the last two years as Best Director for The Aviator.
Robin Williams, meanwhile, is the evening's lone lock.
The 53-year-old actor and his id are set to be honored with the Globes' Cecil B. DeMille Award for career achievement, presumably excluding the time he cameoed in Shakes the Clown.
Big Night for a Swanky Foxx and/or a Foxy Swank?
Hilary Swank, whose career proved fitful after her 2000 Oscar win for Boys Don't Cry, is back in the ring with Million Dollar Baby, and the favorite of both bookies and the critics surveyed by award-show site GoldDerby.com to land the Globe for Best Actress, Drama.
Jamie Foxx, up for three Globes, will go home with at least one, experts say--Best Actor, Musical or Comedy for Ray.
In other top categories, Annette Bening is the universal pick to win Best Actress, Musical or Comedy for the backstage comedy Being Julia; Leonardo DiCaprio is the favorite to prevail in the Best Actor, Drama race in the virtual eyes of the offshore gaming site BetWWTS.com; The Sea Inside's Javier Bardem is the man to defeat DiCaprio, according to GoldDerby.com.
Halle, Meryl and Charlize Party On
Per usual, the Globes telecast, airing on NBC from 8-11 p.m. (ET/PT), will be host-free, leaving it to big-name presenters to lend star power to the so-called "Hollywood Party of the Year."
Confirmed trophy-hander-outers include: Patricia Arquette, Halle Berry, Will Ferrell, Samuel L. Jackson, Diane Keaton, Megan Mullally, Al Pacino, Tim Robbins, Meryl Streep, Charlize Theron, Naomi Watts and Renée Zellweger.
Dick Clark, usually seen talking to winners as they exit the stage, will be absent. The TV impresario--he's executive producing the show--remains in a hospital rehabbing from a stroke suffered Dec. 6.
Lending a Helping Gown
Sunday's Globes will be rivaled, and arguably surpassed, on the A-list list by Saturday's NBC telethon for victims of the southern Asian tsunamis. Actors down for both events include Robbins, Watts and Zellweger.
Kate Winslet, a Best Actress, Musical or Comedy nominee for Finding Neverland, meanwhile, will be among the stars donating their red-carpet finery to a Jan. 17-30 online auction at clothesoffourback.org to benefit a United Nations fund for tsunami relief.
Other Globe attendees to hand over their Sunday bests for the auction include: Desperate Housewives stars Marcia Cross and Felicity Huffman, Boston Legal's William Shatner and Two and a Half Men's Charlie Sheen.
This year's presenter gift bags are actually gift boxes are actually "customized wicker ottman[s]."
Inside these customized wicker ottomans will be $38,390 worth of urban shawls.
Sorry, make that one $900 Missoni shawl, and more than two dozen luxury goodies, from a $16,000 V.I.P. travel package to Australia to a $2,250 bicoastal membership at the Sports Club/LA to a $400 pet carrier by Janet Lee of PETote.
Apparently so as to not make the boxes seem too unseemly in the wake of such things as the tsunamis, Globe organizers are encouraging attendees to participate in the Clothes Off Our Back event.
We know where the auctioneer can get some shawls...
Red Carpet Gridlock
Star Jones Reynolds will be the star of, and comic Kathy Griffin a special correspondent for, E! Entertainment Television's Live from the Red Carpet coverage, airing 6-8 p.m. (ET/PT). For the first time, the show's final hour will air minus commercial interruptions. (E! Online is a division of E! Networks.)
Jones Reynolds will share red-carpet real estate with former E! personalities Joan Rivers and Melissa Rivers, making their debut on award-show duty for the TV Guide Channel. And then there's NBC, which will have its own arrivals show, airing from 7-8 p.m (ET/PT).
E!'s Globes programming on Sunday is scheduled to kick off at noon (ET/PT), with Live Countdown, and wind down with Live Post-Show covering the party scene starting at 11 p.m. (ET/PT).