The Oscars may still be almost two months away, but Hollywood is already in the grip of awards fever.

The Golden Globe Awards will be handed out Sunday, four days before the Oscar nominations are announced, in a week in which the focus of so much Hollywood effort will either be richly rewarded or shunned.

Serious film types often dismiss the Globes as largely irrelevant to the inner workings of Hollywood, since the awards are chosen by a small and self-selected group of foreign film journalists, few of whom are credentialed to major media organizations.

But that hasn't stopped the awards show from becoming one of the best-known Hollywood events of the year, which succeeds in attracting all the major stars and which is capable of giving winning movies a powerful boost with audiences.

Since 1956, the Globes have been honoring the best of television as well as film, unlike the Oscars, which focus only on movies.

In the past, the Golden Globes have had a haphazard record at predicting Oscar success. That is unlikely to change this year.

But with critics acclaiming this year's crop of movies as one of the most award-worthy in recent memory, there's bound to be a significant overlap.

That augurs well for "12 Years a Slave" and "American Hustle," the two movies which came out on top of the nominations, earning seven nods apiece.

Unlike the Oscars, the Golden Globes split their choice in two -- choosing separate pictures for best drama and best comedy or musical.

That means that Steve McQueen's haunting tale of a free black man kidnapped into slavery in pre-civil war America is the clear favorite to win the award for best drama, while David O Russell's finely crafted caper about an FBI corruption sting operation is just as sure to win for best comedy or musical.

The odds are best reflected in a closely watched poll of experts conducted by entertainment awards site GoldDerby.com. Of the 19 experts it asked, 18 predicted victory for "American Hustle," with just a single dissenter going for the poignant tale "Nebraska."

The other nominees are "Her," about a man who falls in love with his computer, "Inside Llewyn Davis," set in the folk music scene of 1960s New York, and "The Wolf of Wall Street," Martin Scorsese's keenly observed critique of the excesses of the finance industry.

Similarly, 14 of GoldDerby's experts chose "12 Years a Slave" as the best drama, with the other five going for Alfonso Cuaron's brilliantly made space thriller "Gravity." The other nominees are maritime thriller "Captain Phillips," Formula 1 epic "Rush," and "Philomena," about a woman's quest to track down the baby she gave away for adoption.

If such equations take much of the suspense out of the show, there are still plenty of other reasons to tune in to the broadcast. Last year, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler earned some of the strongest raves ever for hosts of an awards show with their charming, down-to-earth and often hilarious stint as the co-hosts.

In contrast to other recent Oscar and Golden Globe hosts, they seemed to be enjoying themselves as much as many in the audience, and had no need to descend into vulgarities or character assassinations in an effort to induce laughter. Fey and Poehler are returning Sunday night.

Film fans also will not want to miss the cavalcade of glamorous stars who will be strutting the red carpet, and enjoying the endless supply of fancy champagne and a gourmet dinner made with local California ingredients.

This year' faces will include Cate Blanchett, Sandra Bullock, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, who are up for best actress in a comedy or musical, as well as Amy Adams, Julie Delpy, Greta Gerwig, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Meryl Streep, who are competing for the best dramatic actress prize.

Among the men, Christian Bale, Bruce Dern, Leonardo DiCaprio, Oscar Isaac and Joaquin Phoenix are the nominees for the best actor in a comedy or musical, while Chiwetel Ejiofor, Idris Elba, Tom Hanks, Matthew McConaughey and Robert Redford are vying for the dramatic acting award. Redford has never been nominated for an acting Golden Globe, so now, at the age of 77, it may finally be his time to shine.

Key nominations

The following is a list of nominations in some of the major Golden Globe categories:

BEST MOVIE -- DRAMA

"12 Years a Slave"
"Captain Phillips"
"Gravity"
"Philomena"
"Rush"

BEST MOVIE -- COMEDY OR MUSICAL

"American Hustle"
"Her"
"Inside Llewyn Davis"
"Nebraska"
"The Wolf of Wall Street"

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS -- DRAMA

Cate Blanchett -- "Blue Jasmine"
Sandra Bullock -- "Gravity"
Judi Dench -- "Philomena"
Emma Thompson -- "Saving Mr. Banks"
Kate Winslet -- "Labor Day"

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR -- DRAMA

Chiwetel Ejiofor -- "12 Years a Slave"
Idris Elba -- "Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom"
Tom Hanks -- "Captain Phillips"
Matthew McConaughey -- "Dallas Buyers Club"
Robert Redford -- "All Is Lost"

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS -- COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Amy Adams -- "American Hustle"
Julie Delpy -- "Before Midnight"
Greta Gerwig -- "Frances Ha"
Julia Louis-Dreyfus -- "Enough Said"
Meryl Streep -- "August: Osage County"

BEST PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR -- COMEDY OR MUSICAL

Christian Bale -- "American Hustle"
Bruce Dern -- "Nebraska"
Leonardo DiCaprio -- "The Wolf of Wall Street"
Oscar Isaac -- "Inside Llewyn Davis"
Joaquin Phoenix -- "Her"

BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FILM

"The Croods"
"Despicable Me 2"
"Frozen"

BEST FOREIGN LANGUAGE FILM

"Blue Is the Warmest Color" (France)
"The Great Beauty" (Italy)
"The Hunt" (Denmark)
"The Past" (Iran)
"The Wind Rises" (Japan)

ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Sally Hawkins -- "Blue Jasmine"
Jennifer Lawrence -- "American Hustle"
Lupita Nyong'o -- "12 Years a Slave"
Julia Roberts -- "August: Osage County"
June Squibb -- "Nebraska"

ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE

Barkhad Abdi -- "Captain Phillips"
Daniel Bruehl -- "Rush"
Bradley Cooper -- "American Hustle"
Michael Fassbender -- "12 Years a Slave"
Jared Leto -- "Dallas Buyers Club"

BEST DIRECTOR

Alfonso Cuaron -- "Gravity"
Paul Greengrass -- "Captain Phillips"
Steve McQueen -- "12 Years a Slave"
Alexander Payne -- "Nebraska"
David O. Russell -- "American Hustle"

BEST SCREENPLAY

Spike Jonze -- "Her"
Bob Nelson -- "Nebraska"
Jeff Pope, Steve Coogan -- "Philomena"
John Ridley -- "12 Years a Slave"
Eric Warren Singer, David O. Russell -- "American Hustle"

BEST TELEVISION SERIES -- DRAMA

"Breaking Bad"
"Downton Abbey"
"The Good Wife"
"House of Cards"
"Masters of Sex"

BEST TELEVISION SERIES -- COMEDY OR MUSICAL

"The Big Bang"
"Brooklyn Nine-Nine"
"Girls"
"Modern Family"
"Parks and Recreation"

TeleVISION

What: "The Countdown is on! The 71st Annual Golden Globe Awards"
When: 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: NBC