Arrivals streaming into the Beverly Hilton for the Golden Globe had to navigate one unlikely obstacle - a part of the red carpet was drenched when a lighting rig set off a sprinkler a few hours before show time.
Crews used wet dry vacuums to clean it up.
Amy Adams arrived sporting a red dress with a plunging neckline reminiscent of her attire in the 1970s-set American Hustle.
"I was kind of influenced by my character," Adams said on NBC's red carpet broadcast.
The surest bet at the Globes? Hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.
For the second year in a row, the duo will lead the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's annual glitzy banquet, where stars gather for a boozy dress rehearsal to the Academy Awards.
Poehler and Fey last year brought the Globes telecast to a six-year ratings high of 19.7 million, winning universal praise along the way for their irreverent cracks that playfully punctured Hollywood's veneer.
With Fey and Poehler signed up for next year, too, the 71st Globes show finds itself on the up. While the more prestigious Academy Awards ceremony wrestles awkwardly with updating its brand, the Globes telecast has thrived as a more comic, unpredictable affair.
The favourites this year are David O Russell's con-artist caper American Hustle and Steve McQueen's unflinching epic 12 Years A Slave.
The films and their much-nominated ensemble casts lead with seven nominations each, but they will be kept mostly separated by the Globes' split between comedy-musical and drama categories.
Alfonso Cuaron's space odyssey Gravity, a worldwide hit starring Sandra Bullock, is just as much a frontrunner, only with a more limited cast.
When Oscar nominations are announced on Thursday, Gravity, nominated for four Globes, will probably clean up in the technical achievement categories that the Globes do not honour.
Support is also strong for the Coen brothers' 1960s Greenwich Village folk tale Inside Llewyn Davis (three nominations), Alexander Payne's father-son road trip Nebraska (five nominations), Spike Jonze's futuristic romance Her (three nominations) and Paul Greengrass' pirate thriller Captain Phillips (four nominations).
All have found various honours in an awards season that has seen critics' groups and guild organisations often make divergent choices.
Those films and others will bring a room full of famous faces to the Globes show, including nominees Tom Hanks, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Matthew McConaughey, Cate Blanchett, Bruce Dern and many others.
One celebrity not likely to attend is Woody Allen, the recipient of the Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award. The director famously disdains award shows and his Annie Hall star Diane Keaton is expected to accept on his behalf.
The television side could shape up as a battle between HBO and new challenger, Netflix. Tied for a leading four nominations are HBO's Liberace drama Behind The Candelabra and Netflix's first major foray into original programming, the political thriller House Of Cards.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of about 85 mostly freelance foreign journalists, has recently undergone a change in leadership and, perhaps, a shift toward respectability.
While the Globes have in the past been known for curious nominees like The Tourist and Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, this year's nominees were seen as without such oddities.