Tonight, baby!! (Don’t call me when it is on!!)

Not so long ago, the Golden Globes were not only the biggest Hollywood party of the year – they were our best chance to see celebrities let their hair down, get loaded and do embarrassing, unscripted things on- and offstage.
As the Hollywood Foreign Press Association awards ceremony, airing on NBC tonight, has come to be taken more seriously as an Oscar predictor, that’s become way less likely.
But hope springs eternal, so we’ll still sit rapt in front of the TV waiting for a boozy insult, a nip slip or, best of all, a Jack Nicholson sighting.
In the meantime, we present everything you need to know about the Globes and this year’s nominees, from what’s for dinner to what’s on Jake Gyllenhaal’s mind (he thinks the cowboys are straight!).
Don’t worry, there won’t be a quiz at the end – since everyone will forget who won when the Oscars are announced March 5, anyway.
1 What’s trickier than filming in New York without a permit? Try the Middle East. While filming a scene with camel riders in “Syriana,” director Stephen Gaghan and his crew accidentally crossed the border from the United Arab Emirates into Oman. The Omani army forced them to turn back.
2 Talk about faith in a script: Heath Ledger agreed to play the role of Ennis Del Mar in “Brokeback Mountain” before ever meeting or speaking to director Ang Lee.
3 Apparently, nobody’s geeky enough to play Chris Rock. The comedian says Tyler James Williams, the child actor who plays him in “Everybody Hates Chris,” is far from a perfect match: “He’s a cute kid,” Rock says. “My teeth were all messed up.”
4 Apparently, thinking you’re doomed is funny. The cast and creators of “Scrubs” felt so uncertain of their standing at NBC – the network wouldn’t say when the situation comedy would return to the air – that they stopped thinking about being appropriate and did whatever they wanted.
5 No wonder Brits have a snobby rep. “Match Point” director Woody Allen gushed over his U.K. cast members, saying even the most banal dialogue seemed smarter and wittier coming out of an English mouth.
6 BROOKLYN IN THEHOUSE: Glam couple Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams bought their Boerum Hill townhouse from New York bon vivant and “Rocky Horror Picture Show” star Nell Campbell.
7 If you want to get Burt Reynolds’ attention, just make fun of him. After “My Name Is Earl” did a sharp parody of the “Smokey and the Bandit” blooper reel, Reynolds agreed to make an upcoming appearance on the show.
8 SMOKIN’ HOT: Even before she became America’s favorite pot dealer, Mary Louise Parker knew how to inspire tribute. The Counting Crows wrote the song “Butterfly in Reverse” for her in 2002.
9 Turns out that annoying Hollywood suits weren’t the only inspiration for Ari, the viciously funny agent of HBO’s “Entourage.” The part was created specifically with actor Jeremy Piven in mind.
10 Proving that the wall between TV and film continues to crumble: Felicity Huffman scored nominations for Best Actress in a Film Drama (“Transamerica”) and TV Musical/Comedy (“Desperate Housewives”).
11 Ironically, Halle “Catwoman” Berry was late for the red carpet last year because she had lost her cat.
12 Tenacious “Crash” director Paul Haggis suffered a heart attack during shooting, but wouldn’t let anyone take over his duties. He managed to return to the director’s chair only two weeks later.
13 Obviously a kid in search of a father figure: Noah Baumbach, director of the autobiographical film “The Squid and the Whale,” had actor Jeff Daniels wear his dad’s clothes so he’d be more in tune with the part.
14 “Grey’s Anatomy” was originally set in Chicago. But creator Shonda Rhimes realized the Windy City might be a little crowded in viewer’s minds, what with “ER” and “Chicago Hope” having resided there as well – so it was relocated to Seattle.
15 The real scene is off-camera: Roughly 1,300 people are expected to eat dinner at the event, but three times that will show up for viewing and after-parties at the hotel.
16 But the stars who bother to show up will eat well – at least the ones who aren’t trying to fit into a size-0 ball gown. The first course on this year’s dinner menu is a green papaya and Asian pear salad with Indochina-spiced jumbo shrimp and chili-lime-cilantro dressing.
17 We all know about Hollywood ageism, but this seems a little extreme: Of all five drama and six comedy TV series nominees, only one has been on for longer than two seasons: HBO’s “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
18 STUMBLE INTO LIQUID: “Lost” may win a Globe, but the cast has been less than lucky in criminal matters. Josh Holloway was robbed at gunpoint in his home in Oahu. And castaways Cynthia Watros and Michelle Rodriguez (right) were both arrested for drunken driving.
19 “Brokeback Mountain” director Ang Lee hasn’t always had a way with westerns. His 1999 Civil War drama “Ride With the Devil,” which features a shoot-’em-up raid on Kansas, was his first critical and commercial misstep since his breakthrough “The Wedding Banquet.”
20 “Capote” star Philip Seymour Hoffman is hardly the first one to portray Truman Capote. Less accurate versions have popped up in “To Kill a Mockingbird” – novelist Harper Lee based Dill, the strange little boy next door, on her writer friend – and in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” George Peppard plays a straight, normal-looking version of the odd author.
21 STRAIGHT MAN: Denial ain’t just for presidential press conferences: “Broke-back Mountain” star Jake Gyllenhaal (right) once said he thought the two main characters werestraight.
22 Back to Hoffman, according to gambling Web sites, he’s a 1-to-3 favorite to win best actor in a drama, ahead of a packed field that includes Heath Ledger (9-to-5), Russell Crowe(9-to-2), Terrence Howard (8-to-1) and David Strathairn (9-to-1).
23 THE SKINNY: “King Kong” director Peter Jackson lost a stunning 70 pounds on what he dubbed the “Skull Island Diet.” That’s only 15 pounds less than an entire Olsen twin.
24 At 12-plus years, S. Epatha Merkerson’s “Law & Order” character Lt. Anita Van Buren is the longest-running African American character in an American television drama.
25 PLAYING DOCTOR: Hunky Patrick Dempsy of “Grey’s Anatomy” has no problem with generation gaps. He married his best-friend Corey Parker’s mother, Rocky, in 1987 when he was just 21. That made Corey, who is nearly a full year older than him, his stepson.
26 What were Globes voters smoking in 1951? That was a low point for the show’s Oscar-predicting accuracy: Only one in five winners went on to get an Academy Award.
27 Don’t call it a comeback: Mel Brooks, nominated for best original song for “The Producers,” was also nominated in 1969 for best screenplay for the original version of that movie.
28 The first nationally televised Golden Globes show was broadcast in 1964 on “The Andy Williams Show.” But it didn’t become a household name until NBC picked up the contract in the mid-’90s.
29 Times were simpler then: The first Golden Globes ceremony, in 1943, included only five categories – Best Picture, Actor, Actress, Supporting Actor and Actress – and the winners received a scroll, not a statuette.
30 Hold the phone – notoriously volatile Russell Crowe is the only one up for “Best Actor: Drama” who’s been previously nominated. Perhaps they’re afraid of what he’ll do if he doesn’t get a nod.
31 Foreshadowing many a hearty hangover, 67 cases (or 402 magnums) of Moet & Chandon champagne will be on hand for the event this year. Plus, there’s another 3,552 tiny champagne bottles that convert into flutes available for the red carpet and throughout the evening.
32 TV creator Gregory Thomas Garcia’s last show, “Yes, Dear” was blasted by critics – but they love his new show, “My Name Is Earl.”
33 Just how important is Maria Bello in “A History of Violence”? The actress is nominated for Best Dramatic Actress for her role in “A History of Violence” – but the New York Film Critics Circle awarded her best supporting actress for the same role.
34 Jim Carrey and Adam Sandler were both considered for the part of Willy Wonka in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” before Johnny Depp signed on for the role.
35 During breaks in shooting “Pride & Prejudice,” Keira Knightley would sneak off dressed in ball gowns and corsets to practice nunchucks for her bounty-hunter role in “Domino.”
36 NO ACE UP HIS SLEEVE: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who plays a tennis pro in “Match Point,” says he is actually an embarrassingly bad tennis player in real life.
37 “Memoirs of a Geisha” star Ziyi Zhang is a graduate of the Beijing Dance Academy and considered the second-most popular celebrity in China – behind NBA player Yao Ming.
38 In 1982, Pia Zadora received a Best New Star of the Year award after her husband, Meshulam Riklis, flew every member of the HFPA to Las Vegas for a luxurious press junket.
39 CANDID CAMERA: “Constant Gardener” director Fernando Meirelles followed Rachel Weisz around the slums of Nairobi, hidden from view, with just a hand-held camera to capture her authentic reactions to Kenyans.
40 Web site has voted red-carpet doyenne Joan Rivers the “third scariest-looking celebrity,” after Jocelyn Wildenstein and Bruce Jenner.
41 Before his death, Johnny Cash picked Joaquin Phoenix as his choice to play him in the biopic, despite the fact that Phoenix had never sung professionally and couldn’t play a lick on guitar.
42 Patrick Dempsey’s nickname on the set of “Grey’s Anatomy” is Dr. McDreamy.
43 HUGGING IT OUT: Jeremy Piven is best friends, and used to be roommates, with John Cusack, who got all the good parts. Then Piven’s big break as obnoxious agent Ari on “Entourage” evened the score.
44 When the Golden Globe nominations were announced this year, “A History of Violence” director David Cronenberg looked for them online, but found a list of likely nominees instead. “History” hadn’t made that hypothetical list, so he was surprised when told his film was nominated for Best Picture.
45 One’s a hero, the other’s a zero: “Scrubs” star Zach Braff went to high school with Ahmed Best, the voice of infamous “Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace” character Jar Jar Binks.
46 Matthew Fox’s character on “Lost” was supposed to die in the pilot – harkening back to “Hill Street Blues,” where Hill and Renko (played by Michael Warren and Charles Haid) were supposed to be killed in that pilot.
47 The second course on the dinner menu this year is sautÇed Chilean sea bass and grilled tenderloin, served with an array of asparagus, spinach, shallots and baby carrots in a red-wine tarragon sauce that should temper even the most vociferous vegetarians.
48 More than 10,000 silverware and plate settings will be used for the awards’ official events.
49 Dessert is a golden chocolate globe filled with macadamia-nut mousse and yellow sponge cake served on a raspberry “red carpet.” (Isn’t that cute?)
50 Larry McMurtry and Diana Ossana wrote the screenplay for “Brokeback Mountain” in less than three months, but it took them seven years to get the movie made.
51 It takes two makeup artists four hours to apply Wentworth Miller’s decal tattoo for “Prison Break.”
52 Allegations of celebrity bribes have dogged the Globes for years. In 1999, Sharon Stone sent expensive Coach watches to each member of the HFPA before the nomination process began. They were returned, but she snagged a Best Actress nomination for box-office bomb “The Muse,” anyway.
53 Bolstering the claim that they’re not quite as invested in showbiz as Academy members, many HFPA members write only part-time and have other jobs, too – such as car salesman and teacher.
54 In the TV movie “Warm Springs,” Cynthia Nixon plays Eleanor Roosevelt, long thought to be bisexual or lesbian, having had a long-term relationship with journalist Lorena Hickok. Coincidentally, Nixon herself recently went public with her relationship with Christine Marinoni.
55 During the making and promotion of “Brokeback Mountain,” Jake Gyllenhaal repeatedly proclaimed that he, like most people, had gone through a stage where he wondered if he was attracted to people of the same sex.
56 MEDIA CIRCUS: You wouldn’t think it to watch his intensely serious portrayal of Edwin R. Murrow in “Good Night, and Good Luck,” but David Strathairn (far right) once attended Ringling Bros. Clown College and spent six months making funny in a traveling circus.
57 Ever wonder why celebs wear sunglasses and employ “handlers”? For starters, 58 camera crews, 65 still photographers and more than 100 journalists will be scrapping for interviews along the red carpet.
58 The more than 30,000 square feet of red carpet being laid down at the Beverly Hilton would cover 80 acres.
59 BATTLE OF THE NETWORK ‘STACHE: Jason Lee – a world class skateboarder in his previous life – had to fight tooth and nail to keep his facial hair in “My Name Is Earl.” “Trust me,” he told NBCexecs, “I’m funnier with the moustache.”
60 “Pride & Prejudice” shot two endings, one for American audiences and one for the U.K. Both show Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy together at the finale. But the American version shows them kissing, while the U.K. version remained faithful to the book’s more chaste ending.
61 There’s so much swag being handed out to this year’s presenters that the gift bags have been upgraded to trunks. Valued at $62,000, they’re packed with lavish toys, like a $500 BlackBerry 8700c and a $375 pair of Salt Optics sunglasses – not to mention a tasty gift certificate for $300 worth of ice-cream quarts from Cold Stone Creamery.
62 To go with their handsome trunks, presenters are showered with free vacations. They get a two-week sea excursion around Tasmania and New Zealand valued at $22,000 and a $15,000 getaway to the Canadian Northwest Territories with optional diamond-cutting and polishing lessons.
63 Internet wagering sites list Felicity Huffman as a 2 to 5 favorite to win best actress in a drama. Maria Bello from “A History of Violence” is the longshot at 10 to 1.
64 Man, that Viggo Mortenson likes rough sex! While shooting the love scene on the stairs in “History,” Maria Bello got bruises all over her back, which had to be covered with makeup.
65 She’s not just another pretty English face: Emma Thompson did an uncredited rewrite of the “Pride & Prejudice” script – she’s thanked in the end credits.
66 We all love sharing love: Ari Gold’s “Entourage” catchphrase, “Let’s hug it out, bitch!” was voted No. 6 in TV Guide’s list of “TV’s Top 20 Catchphrases.”
67 “Entourage” jokingly suited up its main character to play the lesser superhero Aquaman – but now the amphibious do-gooder has resurfaced, first in a cameo on “Smallville,” then getting his own spinoff from that role.
68 In order to be a member of the HFPA, applicants have to be proposed by two existing members. And prospective members need to be sure they don’t have any outstanding feuds with peers. Any member has the power to blackball a journalist who’s applying.
69 Sort of like “Co-stanza”? The theme music for “Curb Your Enthusiasm” is based on a commercial jingle that got stuck in creator Larry David’s head.
70 Everything you saw, he owes to spaghetti: George Clooney gained 35 pounds for his role in “Syriana,” mainly on a pasta diet.
71 Gwyneth Paltrow played the role of Catherine to rave reviews in London’s West End stage production of “Proof.”
72 On the set of his movies, “Brokeback Mountain” director Ang Lee performs a Chinese good luck ceremony with the cast and crew, which involves lighting incense and bowing to the four corners of the room.
73 For the nude cliff-jumping scene in “Brokeback Mountain,” it was rumored that Jake Gyllenhaal used a body double – a claim he denied in an interview with Details magazine late last year.
74 WARDROBE FUNCTION: Part of Reese Witherspoon’s preparation for “Walk the Line” included looking through the recently deceased June Carter Cash’s closet for inspiration.
75 Russell Crowe dislocated his shoulder during his boxing training for “Cinderella Man” and production had to be delayed for two months. Too bad he wasn’t injured during his stay at the Mercer Hotel.
76 This year’s Miss Golden Globes will be Dakota Johnson, daughter of Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson – who can be seen in a small role in the 1999 movie “Crazy in Alabama.”
77 To match the all-Brit cast, Kate Winslet was originally picked for Scarlett Johansson’s role in “Match Point.” But the “Titanic” star dropped out to spend more time with her husband and kids.
78 Despite Emmy-winning work on acclaimed TV movies like “Sarah, Plain and Tall,” and “Something About Amelia,” Glenn Close says “The Shield” was the first TV series to seek her out.
79 World’s most endearing married couple, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, who scored supporting-actor nominations for the miniseries “Empire Falls,” first worked together back in 1958, in the movies “The Long Hot Summer” and “Rally Round The Flag, Boys!”
80 Like father, like son, sort of: “House” star Hugh Laurie’s dad was a real doctor.
81 It’s a big year for Sutherlands. Donald and Kiefer are celebrating multiple father-and-son nominations: Kiefer for “24” and Donald for the TV movie “Human Trafficking” and his sly turn on “The West Wing.”
82 Continuing in the family vein: Felicity Huffman’s real-life husband, actor William H. Macy, was nominated for Golden Globes for TV’s “Door to Door” in 2002, and “Seabiscuit” a year later.
83 Talk about a cushy job: Hollywood Foreign Press Association members only have to publish four paid articles a year to hold onto their active standing in the organization.
84 Not that we’re saying it could have any influence on them or anything, but the Golden Globes will be broadcast five days before the polls close for Oscar voting. (No wonder Globes winners also win Oscars 65 percent of the time.)
85 There’s a five-way tie for the Globes’ most honored films. “Doctor Zhivago,” “Love Story,” “The Godfather,” “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and “A Star Is Born” all received five awards.
86 “Cuckoo’s Nest” is the only picture to ever sweep all five top categories: Motion Picture, Actor, Actress, Director and Screenplay.
87 Two of the biggest Globes losers were 1967’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and 1991’s “The Godfather Part III.” Each was nominated in seven Globes categories, but failed to win even one.
88 Most entertaining Globes guest ever? It’s gotta be Jack Nicholson, who mooned the audience in 1999.
89 While television went crazy with no less than six versions of the Jane Austen classic, 2005’s “Pride & Prejudice” with Keira Knightley is the first feature-film of the novel in 65 years.
90 UMA? NO ULLA? Statuesque Uma Thurman wasn’t the producers’ first choice for “The Producers.” They originally cast Nicole Kidman to play Swedish bombshell Ulla. But before the petite star even read the script, she withdrew due to “scheduling conflicts.”
91 sounds too good to be true, it is: Actress Scarlett Johansson has a good-looking twin – but, guys, before you get too excited, he’s named Hunter. The actor scored a bit part in her 1996 film “Manny & Lo.”
92 This year, Paramount Television and UPN sent members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Polaroid DVD players to promote “Everybody Hates Chris” – but they returned them because it violated their rules on accepting promotional items.
93 Proving that human skin can be stretched tighter than Saran wrap, TV Guide channel pre-show host Joan Rivers is 72 years young.
94 Since 1990, the Globes have had solid success predicting Oscars for Best Picture (69%), Director (69%), Song (69%), Screenplay (75%) and Actress (81%). They have fared less well at predicting Oscars for Best Foreign Film (44%), Score (50%) and Supporting Actor/Actress (50/54%).
95 Maybe it was some crazy elf magic, but “The Girl in the Caf√á” star Bill Nighy (left) got an early break as the voice of Sam Gamgee for BBC radio’s adaptation of “The Lord of the Rings.” It became one of the most popular radio miniseries ever.
96 If only we could get a repeat of 1958, when Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr. and Frank Sinatra got fed up with the bland presenting style – the HFPA journos gave out the awards themselves – and took over the proceedings. Ever since, stars have done the duties.
97 While many in the media have been skeptical of the Globes’ importance, celebs themselves are usually hesitant to bite the hand that feeds them. Director Rob Reiner has referred to the Golden Globes as “unkosher” – but still does press conferences for them.
98 Only pretty people in front of the camera, please: HFPA members attend the Golden Globes, but are seated upstairs and to the side of the stage.
99 In a classic historical conflict, HBO’s “Rome” and ABC’s “Empire” were both filming simultaneously in Italy, fighting for every available toga, sandal and stand-in the country had to offer. But now the victor has been named. “Empire” was a critical and commercial flop. “Rome” is coming back for a second season and is nominated for Best Drama.
The 63rd Annual Golden Globe Awards airs tonight on NBC from 8-11 p.m. EST