Road to the Oscars: Here’s an essential guide to the movie awards season | Hollywood - Hindustan Times
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Road to the Oscars: Here’s an essential guide to the movie awards season

Feb 13, 2024 05:10 PM IST

Winning an Oscar can have numerous lasting advantages on the career trajectory of the winner. Here's what Narendra Banad has to say about the awards season.

The holiday season has ended, but the most wonderful time of the year for movie lovers is just beginning with the advent of awards season. Just like the financial year doesn’t necessarily follow the calendar year, the movie industry also follows its own calendar that ends with the crowning celebration, that is, the Academy Awards. This year, the Oscars are set to take place on March 10 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. The who’s who of Hollywood will walk the red carpet and vie for a chance to be cemented as the best in their respective fields, taking home that shiny gold man. (Also Read | Golden Globe Awards 2024: When to watch, what's new, who all are presenting and more)

Shortlists for 96th Oscars revealed across ten categories(Getty Images via AP)
Shortlists for 96th Oscars revealed across ten categories(Getty Images via AP)

Why awards matter

Winning an Oscar is not just the equivalent of being awarded a gold star in class, it can have numerous lasting advantages on the career trajectory of the winner. The same is true of just being nominated, albeit to a lesser extent. Firstly, when that awards light shines on a movie, it can help increase the overall revenue of that movie. Studios can charge a premium for the streaming rights, or licensing rights on various other platforms (TV, airlines, etc.). Secondly, it helps raise the overall profile of the winner - they will now turn up on wish lists for more projects, and can go out and audition or pitch their projects with the quality seal of “Academy Award Nominee/Winner”.

What it takes to win an award

The road to the Oscars is not an easy or straightforward one. Just like there’s a vast difference in the skillsets required to make a movie (creativity, vision, etc.) versus making a movie a success (distribution, marketing, etc.), there’s an entirely new skillset required to win an award. There’s a whole thriving cottage industry of ‘awards’ consultants that specialize in positioning for, campaigning for, and delivering awards success. These firms work on a three-pronged strategy - public relations, marketing, and distribution. It’s a finely honed science that can start from the first test or festival screening, and kick into high gear during the awards season, with the hope of culminating into actual gold statuettes on the biggest night of them all.

The Golden Globes

While last year’s best movies have already started being recognised and appreciated with smaller awards ceremonies like the Gotham Awards and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards at the end of last year, the season begins in earnest with the Golden Globes, which is the first major televised awards event. The Globes, which take place on January 7th this year, is one of two major awards that cover both film and television, the other being the Screen Actors Guild Awards. The Golden Globes have undergone their own reckoning in the last few years with their governing body, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, coming under fire for unethical and discriminatory practices. The HFPA was disbanded last year, and this is the first year of the Globes under a new leadership.

The race is wide open

There’s already a broad consensus on the pool of movies that will comprise the big winners on Oscar night. But as the season progresses, the race will get more heated - frontrunners like Barbie and Oppenheimer could lose steam, late entrants like Saltburn and Maestro will try to jockey for mindshare, and there is always room for a surprise juggernaut like last year’s German-language All Quiet on the Western Front, which came out of nowhere to secure nine Oscar nominations and four wins. This year, the Spanish-language Society of the Snow is making a play for that spot.

While the voting body of the Globes has no overlap with that of the Academy, the results are still indicative of the preferences of the industry as a whole, showing which way the winds are blowing. The other precursor awards later in the season are mostly voted on by the individual guilds like the DGAs, PGAs, and WGAs representing the directors, producers, and writers, respectively). These will tend to be more representative of the Academy’s tastes, which has a huge overlap in membership with the respective guilds.

It’s still early days, grab your popcorn and join us as we make our way to the Oscars.

Key milestones

Sunday, January 7: Golden Globe Awards

Wednesday, January 10: Screen Actors Guild Awards nominations

Sunday, January 14: Critics Choice Awards

Thursday, January 18: BAFTA Film Awards nominations

Tuesday, January 23: Academy Awards nominations

Saturday, February 10: Directors Guild of America Awards

Monday, February 12: Oscars nominees luncheon

Sunday, February 18: BAFTA Film Awards

Wednesday, February 21: Writers Guild Awards nominations

Saturday, February 24: Screen Actors Guild Awards

Sunday, February 25: Film Independent Spirit Awards

Sunday, February 25: Producers Guild Awards

Sunday, March 10: Academy Awards

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