Golden Globe Predictions: Will Heath Ledger, Beyonce And Brangelina Get Nods?

As awards season kicks off this week, we look at the frontrunners on the road to the Oscars.

The 2008 awards season will kick into overdrive early Thursday morning with the announcement of nominees for the 66th Annual Golden Globe Awards. And, as in years past, MTV will be your home for news on who will get a shot at gold (thus becoming front-runners in the Oscar race as well).

An eventful dozen months have blessed us with several instant-classic films, and depending on whether their hype is confirmed by a Globe nomination, several huge stories could emerge: Will [movieperson id="233661"]Heath[/movieperson] be set up to take home the first posthumous Oscar in 32 years? Could [artist id="1236911"]Beyoncé[/artist] finally follow in [artist id="2481017"]Jennifer Hudson[/artist]'s footsteps? Will Brangelina become the first name-smushed Hollywood couple to both win in the same year? As the contestants crouch at the starting line waiting for the Globes pistol to go off, here are a few intriguing story lines we'll be watching closely:

The Joker Gets the Last Laugh

Without a doubt, the saddest moment for film lovers this past year was the sudden death of Oscar nominee Heath Ledger. Out of that tragedy, however, arose a phenomenon surrounding the performance he left behind in "The Dark Knight." A Golden Globe nod would indicate that Heath could receive the second posthumous Oscar (after Peter Finch's "Network" win). He'd also be breaking boundaries by winning such acclaim for a role in a summer blockbuster comic book movie.

Beyoncé Wins ... At Last

Beyoncé seems to be looking back on her "Dreamgirls" experience playing second fiddle to Jennifer Hudson and singing a familiar song to awards voters: "If you like it, then you shoulda put an Oscar on it." Now, she's got a second chance after playing Etta James in "Cadillac Records," and she's determined to make sure we all remember that she's still destiny's child.

Brangelina Are Eager to Adopt Two More Tiny People

[movieperson id="50260"]Brad Pitt[/movieperson] has spent the better part of his career trying to get people to move past his good looks and recognize his acting skills. [movieperson id="31834"]Angelina Jolie[/movieperson] has had no such problem, snatching a 1999 Oscar ("Girl, Interrupted") and three Globes. But can the world's most beautiful couple dominate awards season together as effectively as they do the tabloids? Pitt looks like a Best Actor certainty at both the Globes and Oscars with his decades-spanning performance in "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," and even if Jolie's "The Changeling" seems to be fading fast from memory, we've learned never to count out Hollywood's tattooed temptress.

The Comeback Kids

Mickey Rourke, [movieperson id="93819"]Sean Penn[/movieperson] and [movieperson id="17609"]Robert Downey Jr.[/movieperson] were brawling, boozing and rebelling against whatever Hollywood threw their way for decades. Now, they've reached the apex of their 21st-century career reinventions with unlikely roles as a battle-ravaged warrior (Rourke's "The Wrestler"), a jive-talking method actor (Downey's "Tropic Thunder") and a gay-rights pioneer (Penn's "Milk"). Whether their days of misbehaving are behind them is anyone's guess, but this much is certain: Awards voters love providing such personal tales with a happy ending.

A "Titanic" Possibility

If everyone knows that Kate Winslet is one of the top actresses of our time, then why the hell hasn't she ever won anything? The 33-year-old English thespian has given us "Little Children," "Eternal Sunshine" and so much more, and all we've given her in return is five failed Oscar nights and an equal number of losses at the Globes. In 2008, Kate's coming on strong yet again with "Revolutionary Road" and "The Reader," two December films boasting some of the year's best reviews. And, if the stars are in proper alignment, Winslet and "Road" co-star [movieperson id="16710"]Leonardo DiCaprio[/movieperson] (another likely nominee) could once again become king and queen of the world.

Be sure to check back Thursday morning for news and analysis on the nominations.

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