Golden Globe Awards Underway in Hollywood

Posted January 15th, 2012 at 9:50 pm (UTC-5)
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Movie and television stars have gathered in Los Angeles for the annual Golden Globes, a high-profile Hollywood award that recognizes the year's best achievements in film and television.

Comedian Ricky Gervais is hosting the gala event Sunday, which will be broadcast live in more than 160 countries. It is the third year hosting for the star, known for his caustic humor that often takes jabs at fellow celebrities.

The first prize of the evening, for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture, went to Christopher Plummer for his role as the father in the American romantic-comedy The Beginners.

Soon after, Downton Abbey, a popular British television series about an aristocratic family and their servants in the years leading up to World War I, has won the prize for Best Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television. The show has been nominated for four awards, more than any other television show this year.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which presents the awards, has nominated historical pieces like Downton Abbey for many of its top prizes.

The film with the most nominations this year is The Artist, which pays tribute to the silent movie era. The French movie received six nods in many of the most prestigious categories, including Best Comedy or Musical, Best Actor for a Comedy or Musical , and Best Director .

The Help, which tells the story of African-American servants in the pre-civil rights era in the U.S. South, earned five nominations, including Best Drama.

The Descendants, about a land baron who struggles to keep his family together, also earned five nominations.

The Golden Globes are considered second in prestige to the Academy Awards and are often viewed as a barometer for movies and actors who will be favored to win Oscars.

The non-profit Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of 90 members who cover the entertainment industry throughout the world.

The organization uses the awards as a fundraising event for entertainment-related charities. Last year, the awards enabled the association to donate $1.2 million dollars to fund scholarships and other programs.