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When the nominees for the 71st annual Golden Globes are announced Dec. 12 at 8:30 a.m. ET, award season aficionados may finally get an indication of which films and actors are headed for podium glory.
Ahead of the Globes reveal - Zoe Saldana, Olivia Wilde and Aziz Ansari are set to announce this year's nominees during the live broadcast - assorted critics groups, guilds and voting boards failed to offer up a general consensus on what films would, or should, be named when the nominees are revealed.
While it's still anyone's guess as to whether "12 Years a Slave" or "August: Osage County" will take an early lead when the best picture category field is read aloud Thursday, there are a few relatively safe bets already emerging in the acting groups.
Bruce Dern's role as a Korean War veteran searching for meaning in the road-movie "Nebraska" has received widespread acclaim and nods from the Los Angeles Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Circle and the Screen Actors Guild. It would be a shock if the Hollywood Foreign Press (the organization behind the Golden Globes) did not include Dern.
Likewise, "American Hustle's" Jennifer Lawrence and Jared Leto of "Dallas Buyers Club" should be named to the supporting actor categories following earlier nods from SAG and the NY Film Critics Circle. Cate Blanchett's portrayal of a doomed socialite in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" is also likely garner a nomination. Blanchett has already picked up a SAG berth and awards from both the L.A. and N.Y. film critics.
On Monday, the American Film Institute issued its short list of the best of 2013, naming American Hustle," "Captain Phillips," "Fruitvale Station," "Gravity," "Her," "Inside Llewyn Davis," "Nebraska," "Saving Mr. Banks, " "12 Years a Slave" and "The Wolf of Wall Street" as must-sees.
Surprisingly, Martin Scorsese's "The Wolf of Wall Street" - a fraud caper starring Leonardo DiCaprio - was a complete shut-out when the SAG Award nominations were handed down.
The Los Angeles Film Critics showered love on not one but two films when it came to crowning the year's best with "Her" and "Gravity" receiving nods. On the eastern seaboard, the New York Film Critics Circle named David O'Russell's fictionalized 1970s con caper "American Hustle" best film.
Like the SAG Awards, the Golden Globes also honors the best of television and streaming.
"Breaking Bad" and "30 Rock," both coming off strong, ratings-winning final season will likely be in the Globes nomination mix. So should "Game of Thrones," "Modern Family," "The Big Bang Theory," "Boardwalk Empire," "Veep" and "Downton Abbey."
In a notable exclusion, "Mad Men" was completely shut out of ensemble and individual categories by the Screen Actors Guild Wednesday. The show's dark and sometimes depressing sixth season was loved and loathed equally by audiences.
Also shut out Wednesday were comedy stalwart "Parks and Recreation" and Lena Dunham's quirky take on New York City-based twenty-somethings "Girls."
In October the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced that "Parks and Recreation's" Amy Poehler and former "30 Rock" star Tina Fey will return to emcee the awards ceremony following their ratings-winning appearance in 2013. Viewership was up 17% on the previous year and critics hailed the "SNL" alums for their tongue-in-cheek approach and ability to effortlessly move the ceremony along.
"I go to a ranch for two weeks," Poehler joked to Ellen DeGeneres of how she will prepare for the big night this time around. "No talking. No food, just juice. And then I consult my astrologer. Then I go into a cave and I just lie on the ground and I have people just shout jokes into the cave."
"And I just let the wind take it and if it lands it's good and if it doesn't it goes away," she went on. "Then I just drive my solid-gold Porsche right into a brick wall and I prank call Sandra Bullock and I get started."
Aspiring actress Sosie Bacon, the daughter of Globe winners Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick, was named Miss Golden Globe 2014. Chosen each year by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, Miss Golden Globe assists with the Globes ceremony and is typically the daughter of Hollywood celebrities.
The 71st Annual Golden Globes will be presented Jan. 12 and will air live on NBC.