Award Season – The Oscars vs Golden Globes vs SAG.

12 mins read

I would like to thank..

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, The Screen Actors Guild and My Mother
Award Season has arrived! Virtually – but still in full swoon for the socially distanced celebration of film. With the Oscars right around the corner have you ever asked yourself, what is the real difference between all of the award shows?

Well there are many. But the main distinctions include:
1) Who Can Vote 2) Nominated Categories 3) Order of Occurrence

Let’s Begin with the Holy Grail:

The Oscars
Founded by Louis B Mayer, who was President of MGM studios in 1927, The Academy Awards first began on May 16th, 1929 at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. The intention was to advance the film industry as a non-profit organization that celebrated excellence in specific film categories: Actors, Directors, Writers, Producers, and Technicians.Considered to be the most prestigious of the award ceremonies, the Oscars usually take place last, held in late February/ Early March. Of course, due to recent events (Panorama) the famed glitz and glamour has been postponed to THIS SUNDAY April 25th, 2021. This will be a live broadcasted event with zero zoom options allowed for attendees as well as zero tie-dye or sweatpants options either *Cough Mr. Sudeikis *The timeline of the award ceremonies is dependent on the voting duration by each association. In order to have your film considered, you have to campaign throughout the film festival circuits the year before. BC (Before Covid) campaigning usually consisted of numerous galas, luncheons, press interviews, meet and greets, as well as charity events to get your project noticed and on the radar of voting members. If you have heard the term ‘Movie Politics,’ this is essentially where showing face to promote your movie is similar to pushing for President. However, you are on your campaign trail every year, not every four.

Categories & Voting
Voting generally ends early January with the Oscars voting period extended until early February. By this time, most winners of previous awards (Golden Globes, BAFTAs, SAG, PGA) have been announced and taken into account for the grand finale.

The Oscars celebrates film and only film. Whereas the Golden Globes celebrate film and TV – also having a double best picture category – best motion picture musical or comedy, and best motion picture drama. Whereas SAG celebrates individual & ensemble performances in Film, TV and TV movies/ miniseries.

he Oscars are voted by 9,921 AMPAS members over a dozen categories with focus of each specific cinema branch. For example, editors vote for editors, actors vote for the four best actor categories, and all members vote for best picture. A system known as ‘preferential voting’ is used where the voters simply rate their choices based on 1st preference to 10th. The counting is done by The Pricewaterhouse Cooper Accountants who have the most stressful job of tallying the numbers. Commencing with all 1st choices, if a film earns more than 50% of the votes, it becomes the winner. Due to the rarity of this outcome, however, this same accounting system is done with the 2nd and 3rd selections too until an overall consensus is met.

The duration of the Oscars is typically 2-3 hours as all 24 categories have to be presented during the live telecast. Unfortunately, this event doesn’t take place over dinner, but there have been numerous impromptu pizza orders from Ellen or GrubHub to keep celebrities fed throughout the show.
But the real dining experience takes place a la Globes –

The Golden Globes –
A shy fifteen years after the Oscar awards began, on January 20th1944, The Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association, now known as The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, hosted a banquet gala at 20th Century Fox. Dinner, dancing, and full celebration for film as well as television accolades, the Golden Globes were born. Known for the forever flow of champagne & black tie glam, The Globes began as an inclusion for both film mediums – Movies and Television, nationally and internationally. Over the years, the HFPA incorporated unique categories including the Trailblazer Award (First awarded to Walt Disney), and the Newcomer Award (Previously awarded to Timothy Hutton, Bette Midler, and Diana Ross). Its main distinction though was the inclusion of Television in 1961 and also splitting the best film, best actor, and best actress into two categories of drama, and musical comedy. Being an inclusion of every genre, in 2007 even a best animated film category was announced.

The Globes typically take place first to kick off award Season. Usually in early January (BC – Before Covid). Intentionally planned days prior to Oscar nomination voting ending, this is for the obvious plan to influence winners and launch globe recipients forward into Oscar consideration. Winning a Golden Globe also helps to be considered for the rest of award season – which is of extreme benefit to your film’s campaign to that Oscar.

Voting is completed by 90 international journalists of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, based in Southern California. These members write entertainment news to about 55 countries and vote via ballot method where they must submit their selection to the studio rating choices from 1-5. The ballots are counted and tallied by Ernst & Young Accounting Firm, only announcing the nominees after all members have privately submitted their vote.
Known as the ‘better party,’ The Golden Globes have triumphed with some leading comical moments. Beware of the open bar, in 2013 Quentin Tarantino infamously spat out a mouthful of champagne when Halle Barry announced Ben Affleck as the winner for best director. But bless Tom Hanks for delivering a tray of martinis to his table and Emma Thompson for shamelessly presenting shoeless after tossing her Louis Vuitton’s over her shoulder. Never a dull moment, but there is still one stunt missing.

The Screen Actor Guild Awards –
Kicking off on February 25th, 1995 the Screen Actors Guild Awards first aired from Stage 12 at Universal Studios. Focusing primarily on performers, both individual and in an ensemble, the SAG awards set themselves apart by implementing recognition to the collaboration of acting.
“We were the first to institute ensemble awards, and it goes to the heart of what the union is. The people who are working in television and film aren’t working alone, they are working as a team,” Kathy Connell – SAG Awards executive producer.

Keeping a simplistic style, celebrating thirteen categories both in TV and film, it wasn’t until the 14th annual SAG Awards in 2008, where stunt performers were finally recognized.
Being a crucial component of movie making, stunt performers had not yet received a specific category in any other major award show. Consistent protest from SAG’s 2500 members, who are in the stunt community, have asked there to be a Best Stunt Award for the Oscars. Currently, the honorable merit for outstanding performance by a stunt ensemble in a motion picture still remains an exclusive award only allocated by the union.

Voting for the SAG Awards is done by active members of SAG-AFTRA. But what is AFTRA?? The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. The two unions merged in 2012 and have members in all realms of entertainment including dancers, Djs, broadcasters, voiceover artists, stunt performers, etc etc .
The nominees are selected via a two-part program. Also, done by a balloting system, there are two committees – one for Motion Picture, and one for Television. Fifteen categories are selected and announced in December, then opening up all active SAG-AFTRA members to participate in deciding the winners. Many industry goers would argue that this is the ‘fairest,’ way to vote as you have working film professionals, who don’t sit on a board of a union or are a part of an exclusive group, that also get the opportunity to share their opinion and cast their input. Essentially your peers are the ones voting for you.

The SAG awards are also known as the predictors of who wins the Academy. Taking place right before the Oscars, the SAG awards notoriously are the special forecasters as to who will win the ultimate prestige. From Reese Witherspoon’s triple clean up at the Globes, SAGs, and Oscars for “Walk the Line”, to Viola Davis also winning all three awards for “Fences”, it is more common that not that actors win for the same performance. The foursome of Gary Oldman (“Darkest Hour”), Frances McDormand (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,”) Sam Rockwell (Three Billboards Outside of Ebbing, Missouri.”) and Allison Janney (“I, Tonya.”) became the first cuatro of acting winners to take home all three Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild and Oscars.
To summarize, whether you are looking for a party, prestige, or prediction, each award ceremony serves a different purpose. Many may have different categories of recognition, but all come together to signify the monumental marvel of making story.

– Written by Therés Amee

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