With new owners, a change of TV network and a radically overhauled membership, the Golden Globes will hope for a clean break from years of notoriety as they unveil nominations on Monday for this year's best in film and television.
But even as the scandal-wracked show seeks to reclaim its position as the fun, rowdy and celebrity-packed kickstarter to Hollywood's movie awards season, critics warn that its reforms could bring a new batch of ethical problems.
For decades, the Globes were owned, run and voted for by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) -- an eclectic group of around 100 entertainment journalists, writing for international outlets, who were often derided in the industry for their alleged amateurism and obscurity.
Those criticisms erupted in 2021, when a Los Angeles Times expose revealed the HFPA had no Black members, prompting a Hollywood boycott.
The Globes have been scrambling to survive ever since.
In June, the awards were purchased by a group of private investors including US billionaire Todd Boehly, the HFPA itself was disbanded, and a new plan was set out to restore the Globes' luster.
Under the deal, the erstwhile HFPA's members were taken on as salaried employees of the new Golden Globes company, essentially now paid to watch movies, vote, and contribute articles for the awards' website.
That has prompted questions about potential conflicts of interest.
Muddying the waters further, the awards' new owners include Penske Media -- which runs the production company behind the Globes telecast, as well as trade outlets Variety and The Hollywood Reporter -- and Eldridge, which has a stake in film studio and regular Globes contender A24.
"There's something unseemly about a Globes voter getting paid to write for the Globes website about an actor that they may end up nominating for a Golden Globe award to be given out on the stage of a show owned by the company they work for," noted a Los Angeles Times editorial this year.
"Will the company executives urge voters to nominate high-profile stars and directors in hopes that they will show up? The new model appears to be one giant public relations machine."
But the Globes' new owners have defended the changes.
They argue that paying Hollywood-based voters a $75,000 salary ends a flawed ecosystem under which impoverished, often freelance journalists accepted lavish press trips they could not fund themselves, and collected expensive freebies from studios to help make ends meet.
Seeking to improve the awards' credibility and diversity, the group has added more than 200 non-member (and unpaid) voters based around the world, and appointed a new board including respected industry figures such as former Variety editor-in-chief Tim Gray.
"Major changes are already underway at the Golden Globes and I think people in Hollywood, and around the world, will be pleased when they see integrity restored while the sense of fun remains," said Gray, now executive vice president of the Golden Globes, in August.
- Barbenheimer -
The new-look Golden Globes gala will take place on January 7. CBS will broadcast the event.
The network takes over from NBC, and has handed the show a coveted time slot, immediately after the final round of regular-season NFL games.
CBS bosses will be hoping for vastly improved ratings, after the 2023 Globes slumped to a new low of just 6.3 million viewers, even as other shows such as the Oscars recovered from pandemic viewership nadirs.
As recently as 2020, the Globes had drawn more than 18 million.
Offering hope for the future, industry titans such as Steven Spielberg and Eddie Murphy returned to the most recent gala, even if other prominent winners such as Cate Blanchett stayed away.
Cedric The Entertainer and Wilmer Valderrama will announce the nominees for the 81st Golden Globes on "CBS Mornings" from 1330 GMT Monday.
Christopher Nolan's "Oppenheimer" is likely to be among the contenders for best drama, while the best comedy category is likely to feature the other half of this year's viral box office sensation -- "Barbie."
New categories have been added for "best cinematic or box office achievement" and "best stand-up comedian," in a bid to feature more household names.
Stars such as Leonardo DiCaprio ("Killers of the Flower Moon"), Emma Stone ("Poor Things"), Robert Downey Jr ("Oppenheimer") and Ryan Gosling ("Barbie") are all widely expected to score nominations.
Organizers will be fervently hoping they accept their invitations to the party.