BEVERLY HILLS (Reuters) - Draped in gowns and decked out in tuxedos, Hollywood's biggest stars turned out on Sunday for the Golden Globes, the show that kicks off the film industry's awards season.
On the red carpet under cloudy skies, nominees like Emily Blunt and Rosamund Pike, both up for best actress awards, braved a winter chill in white dresses.
Actors Kathy Bates, Joshua Jackson and Diane Kruger held up signs and smartphones with "Je Suis Charlie" to show support for victims of the deadly attack on a satirical newspaper in Paris last week. George Clooney, who will receive a lifetime achievement award, wore a lapel pin with the same phrase.
While a Golden Globe lacks the prestige of an Academy Award - the industry's highest honour - the party put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) can be a rowdy affair, especially in the hands of third-time hosts Amy Poehler and Tina Fey.
Hanging over the room will be the hacking at Sony Pictures, which had the town atwitter after leaked e-mails revealed embarrassing tidbits about some of Hollywood's biggest names - likely fodder for the comedic pair. "When an entertainment story becomes a national and an international news story, you can't ignore it and they won't," said Dave Karger, chief correspondent and awards expert at Fandango.
Sony Pictures chief executive officer Michael Lynton, who will be absent, said in an interview that he is a "a bit of a homebody and my sticking my head above the parapet is not normal for me".
A film that satirises show business, Birdman, leads all nominees with seven nods and is the favourite to win best comedy/musical film. Star Michael Keaton, embodying the comeback in film and real life, could win best comedy/musical actor.
Sunday will be a major test for a small film that has wowed critics, Boyhood, the favourite to win the more coveted best drama Globe. A bold endeavour made over 12 years with the same actors tells the simple tale of a boy growing up.
Two biopics are also vying for attention: The Imitation Game, about a heroic World War II British codebreaker persecuted for being homosexual, and the portrait of Martin Luther King Jr in Selma, a 1960s drama that resonates in the current American debate over race.
Eddie Redmayne has an edge on best drama actor as physicist Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything. The outcome of the 72nd Globes will not influence the Academy Awards slate, since voting for next week's nominees announcement is closed. But it can give crucial momentum to the Feb 22 Oscars.
The 90-member HFPA also hands out television awards and could anoint new programmes delivered on streaming sites Netflix Inc and Amazon Inc.
Clooney will receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the HFPA and showed up with his new wife, Amal, who wore a one-shoulder black gown. "I am just really proud of what we are celebrating tonight," she said. "It is my first time at the Golden Globes and I am sorry that I brought the British weather with me."