Every year the Academy Awards bring an end to one of the busiest times in the media industries calendar, known as ‘awards season.’ During the period of just a few months from December to February every year, the top performers in music, television, and film are celebrated and honored at a variety of ceremonies and events including the Golden Globes, the Screen Actor’s Guild Awards, the BAFTA Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards, the People’s Choice Awards, and the Oscars.
The People’s Choice Awards
The People’s Choice Awards kicked off this year’s awards season. One of the most relaxed and laidback ceremonies of the season, the People’s Choice Awards celebrates performers in music, film, and television. Winners are chosen by the general public using Internet voting.
The final chapter of the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 was this year’s big movie winner at the People’s Choice Awards, taking home the awards for Favorite Movie, Favorite Action Movie, and Favorite Ensemble Movie Cast. Johnny Depp and Emma Stone were crowned as Favorite Actor and Favorite Actress while fan-favorite Hugh Jackman took home the award for Favorite Action Movie Star. The box office sensation Bridesmaids won the People’s Choice Award for Favorite Comedy Movie.
The Golden Globes
On Sunday, January 15, the biggest ceremony, second-only to the Oscars, the 69th Golden Globe Awards took place at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Hosted for the third consecutive time by controversial comedian Ricky Gervais, the Golden Globes are given out by the 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for achievements in film and television. The Golden Globes are usually seen as a strong indicator of which films are likely to succeed at the Oscars.
The Golden Globe Awards separates their Best Motion Picture between two categories. This year The Descendants won in the Drama category while The Artist won in the Musical or Comedy category. George Clooney (The Descendants) and Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady) took home the awards for Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Drama. Jean Dujardin (The Artist) and Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn) were both awarded Golden Globes for Best Performance in a Motion Picture – Comedy or Musical.
The Steven Speilberg /Peter Jackson blockbuster The Adventures of Tintin won the Golden Globe for Best Animated Feature Film.
Also taking place in January and usually also seen as a strong indicator of Oscar success are the Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAGs), the Producers Guild Awards (PGA), and the Directors Guild Awards (DAG). Each guild is made up of thousands of professionals working in their specific fields, in this case acting, directing, and producing. These awards are voted on by industry peers.
The Screen Actors Guild Awards has the highest profile of the three. This year’s ceremony took place at the Shrine Exposition Centre in Los Angeles, California, on Sunday, January 29. The Help was the star of this year’s SAG Awards with three wins including Best Actress (Viola Davis) and Best Cast. The Artist’s Jean Dujardin was crowned with Best Actor.
Across the Atlantic in London, England, the 65th British Academy Film Awards, also known as the BAFTAs, took place Sunday, February 12, the week before the Academy Awards. The BAFTAs are organized by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, hence the name, and celebrate the best of British and mainstream international cinema.
The Artist won the BAFTA for Best Film while espionage thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy walked away with the award for Outstanding British Film. Meryl Streep continued her winning streak once again receiving the award for Leading Actress, this time, however not without a little onstage drama. As she approached the podium, Streep lost one of her shoes towards the top of the stairs. Presenter Colin Firth ran back, picked up her shoe, and placed it back on Streep’s foot, creating one of the night’s most memorable moments.
Film Independent Spirit Awards
Rounding out the awards ceremonies on the road to the Oscars was the Film Independent Spirit Awards. Held this year on the day before the Academy Awards, the Film Independent Spirit Awards honor the best of independent cinema. Independent films are defined as being produced independently of the major film studios like Warner Brothers, Sony, and Disney. To be eligible for Film Independent Spirit Awards, films also have to have a budget of less than $20 million.
Once again, The Artist won Best Feature, Best Male Actor and Best Director. Michelle Williams took away the award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn. The Descendants also picked up two gongs – Best Screenplay and Best Supporting Actress (Shailene Woodley).