Golden Globes 2009: Back in business

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[caption id="" align="alignleft" width="167" caption="Mary-Louise Parker at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards"]Mary Louise Parker at the 2004 Golden Globe Awards[/caption]

What's fancy, drunk and ultimately kinda pointless? No, not a New York socialite—it's the Golden Globe Awards! After being reduced to a press conference last year due to the writers' strike, the entertainment industry's loopiest awards show returns in full regalia, Sunday 11 at 8pm on NBC.

Put on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the show is often giddier than the Academy Awards, and stars have looser tongues—Mary-Louise Parker, left, once thanked "my newborn son for how good my boobs look in this dress." For the television invitees, the Golden Globes are a somewhat random highlight between annual Emmy Awards. Full nominations are here, but these are our picks for the TV Golden Globes:

Don't bet against: Mad Men
The show was nominated for Best Television Series—Drama, with acting nods for Jon Hamm and January Jones. The show won the first two awards last year, but it couldn't take a curtain call due to the canceled ceremony. Mad Men isn't the cool new kid on the block anymore, but without a compelling upstart challenger, the show could pull off a trifecta.

Seriously, it's a recession, so definitely don't bet against: Tina Fey
She's the hottest thing in glasses since Lisa Loeb, and she's up against the likes of Debra Messing in The Starter Wife for Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series—Musical or Comedy. Fey won the award last year even before she mangled her first Wasilla-ism, and we're pretty sure she placed at least third in the November presidential election. Lock!

If the award says miniseries, it's gotta be: John Adams
Judi Dench wearing a bonnet in a PBS movie. Shirley MacLaine playing Coco Chanel. Ralph Fiennes as a butler. An award-winning Broadway play (Raisin in the Sun) starring P. Diddy and Mrs. Huxtable. All will probably fall like dominoes in the face of HBO's John Adams biopic, in which Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney finally give the Rodney Dangerfield of the founding fathers some respect.

Don't hold your breath for: Jeremy Piven
While the foulmouthed Ari Gold has won Piven several award—last year's in this category and three successive Emmys—Entourage has cooled of late. If voters heard about his bizarre mercury poisoning before they voted, they could shy away from him.

Cross your fingers for: Neil Patrick Harris
The erstwhile Doogie Howser has charmed Broadway and Internet audiences since growing up, the latter with 2008's Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. His role on sitcom How I Met Your Mother is showy and laden with catchphrases—sure, it's not the biggest show on TV today, but the HFPA members like them some offbeat funnymen. They may jump to be the first to anoint the actor. (Want some guaranteed NPH laughs? He'll host Saturday Night Live on Saturday 10, 11:30pm on NBC.)

Dig out your E.T. action figure for: Steven Spielberg
It's hard to believe he hasn't received the honor yet, but Spielberg is being handed the lifetime-achievement Cecil B. DeMille award this year. So we already know who we'll be hearing all night—composer John Williams. (Try to find Spielberg films that Williams hasn't contributed to. Seriously, try.)

Start picketing for: Lost, Battlestar Galactica, Friday Night Lights, Breaking Bad, Flight of the Conchords, The Wire, Pushing Daisies, The Shield...
Apparently, the HFPA members all have televisions that show In Treatment and Entourage rerun marathons, punctuated by the occasional Mad Men and Dexter episode. Live a little and get thee to a Netflix queue, guys!

And why isn't the HFPA inviting reality shows to the party? Give 'em free booze, and the casts of Project Runway and Survivor will probably mistake the awards podium for a confessional microphone and deliver some excellent acceptance speeches.

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