How Colliding Shows and Dueling Schedules Imperil the Awards Season

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A week before the 87th Oscars, Citizenfour nominated producers Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky will literally pick up a statuette for Best Documentary at one awards dinner, then rush across town from Century City to downtown Los Angeles, to catch another awards show, the 62nd Golden Reel Awards from the Motion Picture Sound Editors Guild.

Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie & Photo Says It All...

Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie & Photo Says It All…

On this same night, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are seated nearby, also in Century City, at the Hyatt Regency for Unbroken, whose cinematographer Roger Deakins is nominated at the 29th American Cinematographer Awards. Meanwhile, in New York, the star-studded 40th Saturday Night Live Anniversary Special, while not technically an awards show, will imitate the media footprint of the big shows, and nearly eclipse the news moment for all of the above. This clutch-time scramble sums up Awards Season 2015, where show dates physically overlap in a hectic mash-up of guilds, societies, and associations vying for limited weekend space.

In 2014, the push for Awards Season 2015 began on Nov. 15 with Governors Awards from AMPAS. Most notably, Harry Belafonte received the The Jean Hersholt Award from Susan Sarandon, in the form of an Oscar statuette, which is awarded to an “individual in the motion picture industry whose humanitarian efforts have brought credit to the industry.” Next on Dec. 1, both the Gotham Awards from IFP and the New York Film Critics Awards happened, with the Gotham’s claiming to be the “First Honors of the Awards Season.”

Susan Saraondon Presents Hersholt to Harry Belafonte

Susan Sarandon Presents Hersholt to Harry Belafonte

The next night, Dec. 2, the National Board of Review Awards are announced. There is a slight breather until Dec. 7, with the Los Angeles Film Critics Awards, which coincide with the British Independent Film Awards, except for the time zone change. By Dec. 8, AFI announces their awards. On Dec. 10 at 6:00 am, SAG announces their nominations, followed by the Golden Globe Nominations announcement. Both of these events churn up the news cycle, so that by Dec. 13, the European Film Awards, which are watched by insiders, go largely unmentioned in the wake of Golden Globe news. By Dec. 15, when the Critics’ Choice Movie Award nominations are revealed, Hollywood is pretty much gone for the holidays. The tally for entertainment events in Dec. 2014 is 10, on a short month, and that sets the stage for Awards Season 2015.

Jan. 2 kicked off a week of nominations announcements, from the ACE Eddie Awards, the PGA Awards, and the Art Director’s Guild. Nominations get just as much coverage as some award shows because they indicate trends among winners and nominees, thus these nom dates are included for their weight in the news-cycle. And then a spate of actual shows hit: National Board of Review Awards, Jan. 6; 41st People’s Choice Awards, Jan. 7; and the 72nd Golden Globe Awards on Jan. 11. Early on Jan. 15, at 5:30 am to be precise, AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chris Pine name Oscar nominees in a televised broadcast. That night, the 20th Critics’ Choice Movie Awards will step into the wake of that announcement with their annual show. Back-to-back on Jan. 24, and Jan. 25, respectively, the PGA will be followed by the SAG Awards. Next the Editors get into the act with ACE Eddie Awards on Jan. 30, with the Art Directors Guild Awards closing out the month on Jan. 31. The tally for entertainment events in Jan. 2015 is 12, actually 13 if you count the USC Scripter Awards.

On Feb. 2, the Oscar Nominees Luncheon can not be ignored because it attracts all the major talent and slams global headlines. Two days later, the Visual Effects Society (VES) Awards will try to redirect the coverage as a bellwether for VFX wins later. The DGA Awards on Feb. 7 are chased by the 68th British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) on Feb. 8, for world media attention. But the 57th GRAMMY Awards, also on Feb. 8, will literally suck the news oxygen right out of both events.

Lisa Kudrow About to Zing the WGA Show.

Lisa Kudrow About to Zing the WGA Show

By Feb. 14, the WGA Awards will compete with the 51st Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Awards, with the WGA besting the CAS show only by a surprise appearance by Keira Knightley and honoree Ben Affleck. Host Lisa Kudrow will put this whole award show dynamic in perspective. Kudrow’s opening monologue is priceless, if halting. “It’s the most important award show of the season… it’s the Oscars and the EMMYs,” for giving statues to both movies and television. “So It’s an award show times two, but divided by four, because none of you are famous. I’m looking out and I don’t recognize anybody, gee, just a bunch of writers… Is that a Keira Knightley impersonator? Yes? You’re doing a pretty good job, but no.” And then comes Feb. 15, the crescendo of the crowded season, with literally four shows in a media dovetail of the 19th Satellite Awards, the American Cinematographer Awards where Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are, to the Motion Picture Sound Editor Awards (MPSE) where Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky will race after the Satellite Awards, plus, across the country, the big bang buzz of the 40th SNL Anniversary Special will just smother anything else in the news window. And this collision of shows was followed on Feb. 17 by the Costume Designers Award, where Birdman, Into The Woods, and Grand Budapest Hotel took top honors.

Spirit Awards Announce Nominations.

Spirit Awards Announce Nominations

Next the Spirit Awards on Saturday, Feb. 21 will coattail the Oscars, held as usual on a Sunday, Feb. 22. With such award saturation for the season, few people will be compelled to stay tuned for Feb. 23 – Mar. 1, Canadian Screening Week, that culminates in the 66th Canadian Screen Awards (Genie Awards).

Woody Allen is famous for dismissing award shows as “silly,” and LA as a town where even the ‘award shows get awards.’ Although he did make an appearance in 2002 at the Oscars in support of New York as a shooting location in the devastation caused by 9/11, Allen encapsulated some truth about shows in the mid-1970’s. Oft-quoted during award season, Allen said “I think what you get in awards is favoritism. But the implication is that it’s the ‘best’ movie and I don’t think you can make that judgment.” “Except for track, Track and Field, where one guy runs and you see that he wins, then it’s okay. I won those when I was younger and those were nice because I knew I deserved them.”

Which brings us to the final tally for Feb. 2015, at 15 events packed into a 28-day month, and a smoldering conclusion. That conclusion? Either less shows, or more time. Meaning, Nov. and Dec. need to be reconsidered as award show dead zones, and seen as a necessary traffic break to loosen up the schedule. Of course, the hitch is that many studios and independents will wait until the end of Dec. to release titles they want to bring to the fore in the awards-consideration crush – and that, too, needs to go. Year-long releases should carry the same weight as December’s heavy hitters.


Patricia Arquette Radiant at The Golden Globes

Patricia Arquette Radiant at The Golden Globes

For 2015, you can see the strain of Awards Season’s unsustainable, overexposed pace on nominee Patricia Arquette, who has swept nearly every show, for Boyhood.

Arquette reflects the fatigue of media-burn that industry watchers have felt too, based on the bottle-neck of show dates and venues. After the Golden Globes win, Arquette told the New York Times “It’s still exciting and I have absolutely no reason nor do I have any intentions to become jaded and bored and supercilious.” A few weeks before The Oscars, the Best Supporting nominee looked and sounded exhausted on the red carpet. It was as if Patricia Arquette had spent 12 years on a press tour, instead in the making of Richard Linklater’s opus Boyhood.

Patricia Arquette A Week Before Oscars.

Patricia Arquette Soldiers on a Week Before Oscars


One very well-known actor in Hollywood once said it best, paraphrasing here, ‘a room full of nominees turns into a room full of losers.’ To mitigate the losses, the stress of the season, and to pay respect to the artists represented, better show date planning is required to process the winners and losers, uh, nominees.

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Here’s a quick recap of shows and dates:

DECEMBER Dec. 1 – Gotham Awards (IFP); Dec. 1 – New York Film Critics Awards; Dec. 2 – National Board of Review Awards Announced; Dec. 7 – Los Angeles Film Critics Awards; Dec. 7 – British Independent Film Awards; Dec. 8 – AFI Awards Announced; Dec. 10 – SAG Nominations Announced (6:00 AM); Dec. 11 – Golden Globe Nominations Announced; Dec. 13 – European Film Awards; Dec. 15 – Critics’ Choice Movies Award Nominations (Holidays shorten event cycle.)

JANUARY Jan. 2 – ACE Eddie Award Nominations Announced; Jan. 5 – 2015 PGA Award Nominations Announced; Jan. 5 – Art Directors Guild Nominations Announced; Jan. 6 – National Board of Review Awards for 2015; Jan. 7 – 41st People’s Choice Awards; Jan. 11 – Golden Globe Awards 2015; Jan. 15 – 87th Oscar Nominations Announced; Jan. 15 – 20th Critics’ Choice Movie Awards; Jan. 24 – PGA Awards for 2015; Jan. 25 – SAG Awards for 2015; Jan. 30 – ACE Eddie Awards for 2015; Jan. 31 – Art Directors Guild Awards for 2015; (also on Jan. 31 – USC Scripter Awards for 2015)

FEBRUARY Feb. 2 – Oscar Nominees Luncheon for 2015; Feb. 4 – Visual Effects Society Awards for 2015; Feb. 7 – DGA Awards for 2015; Feb. 8 – BAFTA Awards for 2015; Feb. 8 – 57th GRAMMY Awards; Feb. 14 – WGA Awards for 2015; Feb. 14 – 51st Cinema Audio Society (CAS) Awards; Feb. 15 – 19th Satellite Awards; Feb. 15 – American Cinematographer Awards for 2015; Feb. 15 – Motion Picture Sound Editor Awards (MPSE) for 2015; Feb. 15 – 40th SNL Anniversary Special*; Feb. 17 – Costume Designer Guild Awards; Feb. 21 – Independent Spirit Awards for 2015; Feb. 22 – 87th Annual Academy Awards (arrivals 4:00 PM); Feb. 23 – Mar. 1 – 66th Canadian Screen Awards (Genie Award) CBC

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