Contrary to popular belief, Hollywood awards shows are not all the same! If awards shows were a family, the Academy Awards would be the stuffy and conservative father, the Golden Globes are the unpredictable drunk uncle, the Independent Spirit Awards are the vegan cousin who uses crystal deodorant, and the Screen Actors Guild awards would be the insufferable daughter who’s taken two semesters of psych and thinks she knows it all. Deciding which award show to watch this year? Read our handy guide of what to expect at each one.
Most likely to feature an unsolicited political statement—The Academy Awards
The Oscars have always been a hotbed of activism, from Brando boycotting the 1973 awards because of the film industry’s treatment of Native Americans (an Apache woman named Sacheen Littlefeather accepted his Best Actor award on his behalf), all the way to Michael Moore’s anti-Iraq-war rant at the 2003 show. Producers of the telecast have been known to disinvite or intimidate actors they felt were most likely to stir up trouble. Looking at you, Susan Sarandon.
The Globes are a sit-down dinner, complete with plenty of champagne and other imbibables. Whether to celebrate a win or to forget about a loss, some celebs nip a little too much, resulting in some outrageous—and highly entertaining—behavior, such as Paz de la Huerta’s 2011 meltdown, where she was so drunky-drunk she had a nip slip, fell down, and wasn’t allowed into any after-parties.
These days, stars’ wardrobes for big events are micromanaged by stylists, so there aren’t very many “swan dress” moments. But the Spirit awards are fairly low-key, so the audience gets to see some pretty interesting sartorial choices, such as Anna Kendrick dressed as a ’90s bordello vixen.
Even the statuette is sanctimonious. Since the SAG awards are chosen by other actors, many performers feel the need to go on lengthy diatribes about their “craft” or their “method,” saying how the SAG award is the only one that’s truly meaningful, because it came from the actors. Hey actors, this is boring.
Most viewers don’t know Edith Head from Thelma Schoonmaker. Did you know that winners in technical (read: non-famous) categories get a shorter time allotment to make their speeches? It’s true. Gotta reserve those precious minutes for Jack Nicholson.
Streep has been nominated for twenty-five Globes and won seven, giving her a hefty 28 percent win rate. For the Oscars, her win rate is only 18 percent, and she’s fared even poorer at the SAG awards, where she’s won only 13 percent of the awards she’s been nominated for. If you want to see Streep accept an award in a blowsy and gracious manner, tune in to the Globes.
The only films eligible for Spirit awards are those with budgets of $20 million or less which demonstrate original, provocative subject matter and a unique vision. That eliminates most movies you’ve actually heard of, leaving those that only showed on ten screens for one weekend in August. But you’ll still know many of the stars in attendance, even if you’ve never heard of some of the movies they’re nominated for.
The Globes are bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is an organization of ninety foreign film critics who banded together in the 1940s. They wanted more clout in Hollywood, so they figured that sponsoring an awards show could get them better perks and access to stars. They were right. Studios bend over backward for the HFPA (because a Globes nomination is the first step to an Oscar nomination), wining and dining them and feting them at festivals, and NBC pays millions of dollars per year to broadcast the show. Being the film critic for Bulgaria Weekly is actually a pretty sweet gig.