Stars quake with fear as Ricky Gervais hosts Golden Globes

But will the British comic repeat his celeb-baiting act, or tone it down a little this year?

LAST UPDATED AT 11:03 ON Sun 15 Jan 2012

THE GOLDEN globes will be handed out in LA tonight and, with Ricky Gervais hosting the awards ceremony, the glitterati can look forward to receiving the now-traditional helping of abuse from the British comic alongside their statuettes.

Gervais is compering for the third time, despite many predictions that he would not be invited back after last year when he was felt by some to have pushed it too far, poking fun at Robert Downey Jr's days in rehab, Charlie Sheen's breakdown and Angelina Jolie's wooden acting.

Gervais says he only agreed to host the event this year to prove the critics who thought he wouldn't return wrong, The Observer reports.

As for likely targets, speculation is rife with a few key suspects being tipped for abuse across the board. Heading the list is Alec Baldwin, the 30 Rock star thrown off an American Airlines flight last year for refusing to stop playing a game on his iPhone. It's hard to imagine Gervias resisting a sitter like that.

Also ripe for teasing is Aston Kutcher. Presenting an award this year, the former Mr Demi Moore "won't be able to escape", says the International Business Times. And his alleged infidelities should provide all the ammunition Gervais needs.

The Atlantic, meanwhile, predicts a rough ride for Drive actor Ryan Gosling: "Gervais likes to aim big, and Gosling makes for an appealingly big target." Gervais may take the chance to poke fun at the double-nominee's on-screen omnipresence (he starred in three major films last year) or his legions of fervent fans who are campaigning online for him to be given People magazine's 'Sexiest Man Alive' award.

But, whoever he targets, will Gervais make this year's ribbing as savage as 2011's? He seems unsure, observing last week: "Maybe I'll be a bit more chilled about it this year. Or not. Whatever. I don't care."

But according to The Observer, which thinks Gervais protests too much that he is immune to Hollywood's opprobrium, he does care what people think. The newspaper recalls an interview from several years ago, where Gervais said:

"Fame makes you more self-analytical, because now you're worried about not how people perceive you but how people who don't know you perceive you, which seems unfair because your reputation is everything."

Perhaps this year the arch-controversialist will tone it down a little… · 

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