Providing an extra 10 acting slots, and a chance for musicals and comedies to step out of drama’s shadow, the Golden Globes’ musical/comedy category is generally seen as a good thing.

‘Everyone likes the fact that there are more acting slots,’ says one studio executive. ‘Against dramas, comedies and musicals usually have no chance.’

The Hfpa’s Jorge Camara adds: ‘There is a difference in the performance of an actor in a comedy or drama. Usually if there’s a drama on hand then drama dominates, but there are some wonderful performances in musicals and comedies. We like to recognise those.’

Consider Sacha Baron Cohen, who took home the best actor in a musical/comedy award last year for his performance in Borat, but was not even nominated for an Oscar. Other winners last year included Dreamgirls, for best picture; Meryl Streep, for The Devil Wears Prada, beating Renee Zellweger for Miss Potter; Annette Bening for Running With Scissors; Beyonce Knowles for Dreamgirls, and Toni Collette for Little Miss Sunshine.

This year, films in the running include Hairspray, Sweeney Todd, Across The Universe, Knocked Up, Enchanted, Hot Fuzz, The Darjeeling Ltd and La Vie En Rose. Although many in the industry welcome the focus on these genres, the Globes have been subject to criticism for what they have chosen to call a comedy or musical in years past.

Says one publicist: ‘Their idea of what is a comedy is controversial, to say the least. They considered Pulp Fiction a drama; The Squid And The Whale a comedy and Ray a musical. They really stretch to breaking point what a comedy is.’