Other than Kim Kardashian’s wedding or a random Lakers game, there are few occasions that so many of Hollywood’s finest gather for the world to see. Because without the magnetic pull of Kim’s lavish … party favors, or the chance to take selfies with T-Swift in plastic bleachers, why would they venture out of their champagne-infused whirlpools? Like fish, entertainment stars need bait: a red carpet, a sea of photographers and most importantly, the chance to be acknowledged by a highly prestigious board of judges.

Each year, there are two esteemed awards shows for the best of Hollywood: the Golden Globes in January, followed by the (questionably) more prestigious Academy Awards in February. The shows differ in some ways, but they’re alike in the basics — entertaining hosts, nominees, winners and acceptance speeches, actors droning on too long, Jennifer Aniston posing with her famous hairstyles, Meryl Streep winning and Leo DiCaprio losing again. So what makes a Golden Globe different from an Oscar? And why, really, does there even need to be two awards shows, if the same films, actors and actresses are often nominated in both?

It’s all for the fun, baby — because the Golden Globes are just one big party. Where the Academy Awards are often long-winded (really, who watches the whole thing?) and catered towards the more intricate aspects of film (i.e. sound editing), the Golden Globes are capped at three hours, with awards divided into Comedy/Musical and Drama categories for both film and television. And even better? The hosts are required to be funny (preferably Tina Fey and Amy Poehler) and there is an endless supply of booze on the stars’ linen tables, which ultimately means a night of slurred speeches, rowdy commentary and bona fide celebration of the year’s biggest screen sensations.

The 2015 Golden Globes were dominated by “Birdman” (seven nominations), “Boyhood” (five) and “The Imitation Game” (five). It was “Boyhood,” the coming-of-age film following a seven-year-old boy through to his college years, a 12-year production feat, that swept up the awards for Best Drama Motion Picture, Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette, “Medium”) and Best Director (Richard Linklater, “School of Rock”). “Birdman,” a dark comedy about a washed-up actor who struggles to find his identity while still haunted by his former role as superhero, won Best Actor for a Comedy/Musical (Michael Keaton, “Batman”) as well as Best Screenplay, snatching the title from Gillian Flynn’s adaptation of her own best-selling novel, “Gone Girl,” about a woman’s twisted scheme to seek vengeance against her unfaithful husband.

Another big winner was “The Theory of Everything,” an account of the miraculous life of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, based on the biographical memoir by Hawking’s ex-wife, Jane. The film arrived with four nominations and walked away with both the Best Actor for Drama (Eddie Redmayne, “Les Miserables”) and the Best Original Score. Awards for Best Supporting Actress/Actor went to underdog films “Big Eyes” and “Whiplash,” accepted by the adorable Amy Adams (“American Hustle”) for her portrayal of Margaret Keene, the 1960s-era artist behind the coveted saucer-eyed paintings, and by J.K. Simmons (“Spider-Man”) for his brilliant role as Terence Fletcher, an abusive jazz conductor who’s intent on making his band great by any means necessary — his jarring aggressiveness alone is enough to give anyone whiplash.

Heads turned for this year’s television awards as well, dominated by “Fargo,” a dark comedy-crime mini-series,“Transparent,” an Amazon online comedy-drama about a family who has just discovered that their father is transgender, and “The Affair,” about a steamy extra-marital relationship in New York; each series collected two Globes each.

Stars weren’t the only ones winning at the awards — in fact, some of the best moments had nothing to do with cinematic feats, but rather with Fey and Poehler’s crack at Bill Cosby, or Kristin Wiig and Bill Hader’s skit about “famous lines” in movies: “Guys, just relax,” said Jack in “Titanic.” Kick back, pop the champagne — it’s the Golden Globes, after all.

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