LOS ANGELES, Jan 7 (Reuters) - The Golden Globes kick off Hollywood's countdown to the Oscars on Sunday, but the focus is expected to be less on who walks away with the top movie and television prizes than who says (and wears) what.
Magical love story "The Shape of Water" goes into the televised ceremony in Beverly Hills with a leading seven nominations, including best movie drama. It is followed by Steven Spielberg's passionate ode to press freedom "The Post," and dark indie comedy "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" with six apiece. All three movies are from the Twentieth Century Fox stable of studios.
But with a sexual harassment scandal roiling Hollywood, the most anticipated moments are on the red carpet and from host Seth Meyers, who will open the show.
"Lady Bird" star Saoirse Ronan, "I, Tonya" skating movie nominee Allison Janney, and actress and singer Mary J. Blige are among dozens of stars who say they will wear black on Sunday after throwing their support behind the Times Up campaign to fight sexual harassment in the workplace.
First-time Globes host Meyers has said he will address the sexual misconduct issue, but acknowledges that delivering jokes on the issue to Hollywood's A-list talent will prove a challenge.
"Fingers crossed we meet the right tone, but that's certainly our goal," Meyers said ahead of the three-hour show. "I'm looking forward to seeing what people do as much as you are."
Oprah Winfrey, one of the most powerful black women in entertainment, is expected to make waves when she accepts this year's lifetime achievement award.
Multiple allegations against actors, filmmakers and Hollywood agents since October 2017 have led to many of the accused being fired, forced to step down, or dropped from creative projects.
Others stand to benefit. Director Ridley Scott, Michelle Williams and Christopher Plummer were all Golden Globe-nominated after Sony Pictures' thriller "All the Money in the World" was hastily reshot with Plummer taking the place of Kevin Spacey, who has been accused by more than 30 men of sexual impropriety.
Spacey apologized for the first reported incident. Reuters is unable to verify the allegations.
The Golden Globes, organized by the small Hollywood Foreign Press Association, hands out separate awards for drama and comedy films and the race for those top prizes is seen as wide open.
Pundits say "The Post," Warner Bros.' war movie "Dunkirk" and "Three Billboards" all stand a good chance of winning best movie drama, while indie studio A24's mother-daughter film "Lady Bird" and its James Franco cult movie tribute "The Disaster Artist" are the likely frontrunners for best comedy or musical.
"I am very gung-ho on 'The Post.' I think it is a movie that makes a statement," said Pete Hammond, awards columnist at Hollywood industry website Deadline.com.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Richard Chang