Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
Stephen M. Silverman
January 10, 2009 01:50 PM

With a newly revamped trophy (streamlined), nominated couples (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) and an eye-pleasing roster of presenters (Zac Efron, Jennifer Lopez, Jake Gyllenhaal and Hayden Panettiere), this year’s 66th Golden Globe Awards ceremony promises to shine – and perhaps even lift spirits left sagging by the economy.

One thing is already certain: Sunday’s Hollywood Foreign Press Association festivities, once again being held in the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton Hotel and broadcast on NBC at 8 p.m., will be a marked improvement over last year’s ratings-deprived shadow ceremony, at which winners were MIA due to the then-ongoing Writers Guild strike.

This year, the stars will turn out. “My mom is my date to the Golden Globes,” Rachel Gets Married nominee Anne Hathaway told PEOPLE this week.

The only no-show will be John Travolta, who canceled his appearance as he copes with the death of his son Jett. Travolta’s animated film Bolt got a best song nomination for his duet with Miley Cyrus on “I Thought I Lost You.”

While the Sunday telecast’s executive producer Barry Adelman says, “We’re making this year bigger and better than ever,” the Globes have never pretended to portend the Academy Award nominations and winners – something the Directors, Producers, Writers and Screen Actors Guild awards do much better.

What the Globes do accomplish, however, is to allow members of the industry to dress up, kick back, show a lot of film clips and pop open several bottles of champagne.

(Statistically speaking, the last movie to win both the Golden Globes’ best drama and best picture at the Oscars was 2003’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. Last year’s top Globe drama trophy went to Atonement, which left the Oscars empty-handed. This year’s Oscar nominations will be announced Jan. 22.)

Trophy Nip/Tuck

This year’s event will also roll out brand new-looking Globes, including the special Cecil B. DeMille Award, which will be given to Steven Spielberg, for his “outstanding contribution to the entertainment field.” The trophy consists of an angel standing on top of a Golden Globe with a black crystal vase.

Though two years were spent de-designing the Globe, Hollywood Foreign Press Association President Jorge Camara says, “There is really not much change in the design, only small details to improve the design, and it’s basically the same Globe with strip of film around it.”

Movie and TV Awards

In terms of the main event – the TV and movie nominees – The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Doubt and Frost/Nixon lead the big-screen list, with five each, while in the small-screen division, Emmy winners such as the AMC drama Mad Men and the NBC comedy 30 Rock both have their chances to shine again.

Also, because the Globes draw a distinction between movie dramas and movie comedies and/or musicals, Meryl Streep is vying for best actress in the somber Doubt and in the songfest Mama Mia! The other double nominee, Kate WInslet, has two chances to win a Globe: as leading dramatic actress in Revolutionary Road and/or as supporting dramatic actress in The Reader.

For the complete list of nominations, click here.

With additional reporting by OLIVER JONES

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