Winter means action for the film industry: The season brings a glut of Oscar hopefuls, film festivals and awards shows that keeps stars, producers, agents, managers and stylists on their toes.

After warm-ups like the New York Film Critics Circle in December and the National Board of Review just after New Year’s, the Golden Globes will be held January 13.

Most Globe-watchers will be looking at the crowded category of Best Musical/Comedy. Following in the high heels of last year’s big winner, Dreamgirls, are expected to be Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, Once, Across the Universe and the nonmusical Juno, a comedy being touted as this year’s Little Miss Sunshine.

Just a week after January’s Globes, industry bigwigs will be packing parkas and boarding private jets for Park City, Utah, to search for little films with big box-office potential. The 30th iteration of the Sundance Film Festival starts January 17 and, with a writers’ strike bringing new productions to a standstill, the pressure to find finished films for release may be bigger than ever.  

As the awards campaigns rise and fall, with spin and strategy fit for a political race, Europe hosts its winter film festival starting February 7: the Berlinale.

Back to jockeying for Oscar in the States, leading men likely to be nominated in a category packed with heavy hitters include Denzel Washington (American Gangster), George Clooney (Michael Clayton) and Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises).

But the Academy doesn’t always go for the blockbusters. Newcomer James McAvoy is one to watch for his performance alongside Keira Knightley in Atonement. Another newbie with high hopes is chanteuse Norah Jones, who makes her big-screen debut in Wong Kar Wai’s Cannes triumph My Blueberry Nights.

Oscar always loves bestowing awards that acknowledge an entire career, making Julie Christie likely for a best actress nod for Away From Her, and Sydney Lumet a good bet in the best director category for indie Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead.

Either way, one guy who already knows he will be at the Kodak Theatre on February 24 no matter what is Jon Stewart: The Daily Show funnyman reprises his role as host after a two-year hiatus.

Golden Globes
Jan. 13
Beverly Hilton
Los Angeles

Sundance Film Festival
Jan. 17–27
Park City, Utah

Feb. 7–17

Academy Awards
Feb. 24
Kodak Theatre
Los Angeles

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