Issue: Winter 2014-15

It's Awards Season!

It's snow season around the rest of the country, but in Hollywood, its Awards Season... a time to be merry and joyful even if we can't play in the cold white fluffy stuff. During the month of December, several films will be released in limited engagements "for Academy Award Consideration" so they are eligible for 2014 voting. As we become more aware of the major contenders, it's always fun to start watching to see how many awards shows there are to celebrate them, each in their different way… all leading up to the "Big Daddy", the Academy Awards.

The season has always kicked off at the beginning of the year with the Golden Globes and People's Choice Awards. However, it seems that awards shows are such popular TV fare, you don't have to wait until January anymore. After 17 years as a private affair, the Hollywood Film Awards was televised live on November 14th for the first time on CBS with Queen Latifah as the host. Broadcast live from the Hollywood Palladium, the show was called the "Official Launch of the Award Season." Besides offering awards for films seen in 2014, it also featured "previews of coming attractions"--clips shown of films to be during November and December.

Other early contenders to preview the films that may do well through the 2014-2015 awards season, but that were not broadcast, included the Gotham Independent Film Awards hosted by Uma Thurman, considered to be the "First Ceremony of Awards Season", and the untelevised New York Film Critics Circle awards announced on November 30th.

These entities all recognized Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Birdman The Imitation Game, and Still Alice and performances by actors Julianne Moore, Michael Keaton and Timothy Spall with their awards.

According to Wikipedia, there are a total of 40 film industry awards shows in the United States every year. While some of them, like Producers Guild of America Awards, Directors Guild of America Awards, Writers Guild, Art Directors Guild, ACE Eddie Awards (film editors) or Costume Designers Guild Awards are interesting and informative, they relate directly to their industry guild member audiences.

Most of the televised award shows are purely film-based, but the Peoples Choice Awards on January 7th includes music and television as well as film. As one of the few shows that bases its voting solely on public opinion, its popularity has grown from 62 million 5 years ago to 700 million last year according to its executive producer Mark Burnett. This year's hosts Anna Faris and Allison Janney should also add to its viewer base.

Close on its heels on Sunday, January 11th comes the Golden Globe Awards which has been around since 1947. Nominated films and television programs are voted on by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and presented at a star-studded gala at the Beverly Hilton since 1961. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler are slated to host the show for the third time and by now the frenzy is in full swing.

The 20th Annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards caps off a busy week when it airs live from the Hollywood Palladium on Thursday, January 15 th. Previously on the CW, the film and television critics associations have formed a partnership to air their Movie and TV awards shows separately on the A&E Network. In this case, critics and writers vote on films in the different categories so it is said to be one of the most accurate Oscar predictors.

The SAG, or Screen Actors Guild Awards airs Sunday, January 25th on TBS and TNT. Only members of acting guild SAG-AFTRA may vote, so all winners are decided by more than 100,000 guild members. It is the only televised awards show that exclusively honors performers in both film and television. The awards focus on both individual performances as well as on the work of the entire ensemble of a drama series and comedy series, and the cast of a motion picture. This year's Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to Debbie Reyolds. The award is for fostering the highest ideals of the acting profession. The evening is a very special night in Hollywood, indeed.

The 57th Grammy Awards is a music-based show, although some awards are film or video-related. In 2015, the show is scheduled for Sunday February 8 th to air from Staples Center on CBS. This is the time of year, when Hollywood is awash in red carpet and its streets filled with limousines scuttling across the city.

The popular Independent Spirit Awards takes place on February 21st, is a fun, celebrity filled but more casual event the day before the Academy Awards, and is a good predictor of the Oscars. However, they do have a twenty million dollar maximum budget limit for feature nominees which would leave out films such as Interstellar and Unbroken this year. Seth Rogen has made the show fun in the past but the host for this year has not been announced as of publishing.

The culmination of the Awards Season, the 87th Academy Awards "The Oscars" will air on ABC, Sunday, February 22 nd, 2015. The first Academy Awards were held in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and they have been televised since 1953.  The show takes place at The Dolby Theatre at the Hollywood & Highland Center in the heart of Hollywood.  Hollywood Boulevard is decked out in red carpet and golden statues.  The traffic gets snarled, but there's an aura of excitement that eminates from the central Hollywood location. The famed Awards honor achievements in film and are widely considered to be the most important awards in Hollywood and probably the world.

During Award Season, while the spotlight might be on the glitz and glamour of our homegrown industry, when production crews surround the Shrine Auditorium or Beverly Hilton, or Hollywood Boulevard is shut down for the Oscars, Angelinos may complain about the traffic, but the families of all those lighting, sound, transportation, rigging and all the rest of the crew on production for the events and television studios are very thankful for the financial support that all this activity is providing. The ripple effects are far reaching, for the bump in each film or TV show that is nominated will increase revenues that help the studios, which helps all employees and vendors that are related to those studios. Not to mention the TV stations' production, programming and talent, plus the hotels and restaurants where the after-parties are happening, etc. With an the concern about "runaway production"-film and television produced outside of California, this time of year there's no doubt how important the industry is to our economy as well as our psyche.

Any way we look at it, it's a win-win-win.  We all love the movies and the television shows, the red carpets and the stars, the palm trees and the So-Cal Winter Sun. And the icing on the cake is that the Awards Season is good for the economy of Hollywood and our working families can look forward to a  Happy New Year too!