Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Awards Season is building momentum

“And the winner is … “ Throughout January and February that phrase will be read out on countless occasions as the season for award giving and acceptance speech reading hots up. Yes it is that time where stick thin actresses fret over which designer label they’ll be wearing and practising their speeches with inevitable floods of tears to boot.

The awards ceremonies all have one thing in common – they are a dress rehearsal for the biggest night in the movie calendar, The Academy Awards (informally known as the Oscars). Ceremonies that we’ll look into such as the Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild all offer a good indication as to who might walk away with a prized golden statuette in their grasp come Oscar night.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is responsible for deciding which films and TV shows get put up for nomination for the Golden Globe awards. It has been covering the awards ceremony for over 66 years and has been well established as the event to watch to get a good idea of what will happen at the Kodak Theatre on Oscar night.

The nominations are a mixed bunch this year but there are a usual handful of movies leading the way. The King’s Speech (Colin Firth as King George VI in Tom Hooper’s historical epic) with seven nominations. The Social Network (David Fincher’s powerful true story of the rise and fall of Mark Zuckerberg and the creation of Facebook) grabbed six nods as did The Fighter (Mark Wahlberg in the biopic of tough boxer “Irish” Mickey Ward.) Other films following with four nominations were Inception, The Kids Are All Right and Black Swan. Some surprise entries included the weak Alice in Wonderland and the below par The Tourist.  Winners to be announced on Sunday 16th January.

The Screen Actors Guild Awards, which made its debut in 1995, has become one of the industry’s most prized honours. The only televised awards shows to exclusively honour performers; it presents thirteen awards for acting in film and television. The Fighter and The King’s Speech led the way with four nominations apiece (both included in the Outstanding performance by a cast in a motion picture category). The Kids Are All Right and Black Swan followed closely with three nominations each (leading actresses Annette Bening and Natalie Portman being recognized respectively for their roles). Lagging behind is The Coen Brother’s version of the adaptation of True Grit and The Social Network with two nods each. Winners to be announced on Sunday 30th January.

But first of all the Annual Critics Choice Awards will be headlining the awards season. Darren Aronofsky’s twisted ballet drama Black Swan snagged 12 nominations including Best Picture, Best Actress and Best Director. The King’s Speech and True Grit each received 11 nominations. Christopher Nolan’s Inception got 10 nods and The Social Network was liked nine times by the Broadcast Film Critics Association. The 16th Annual Critics Choice Awards will be announced on Friday 12th January. 

 It is quite evident that there is a trend developing with more than five pictures battling it out for the big prizes. Black Swan, The King’s Speech, The Fighter, The Social Network, Inception and 127 Hours going head-to-head. However lets not begin to dismiss much smaller yet just as powerful films that may surprise a few people as the season progresses such as Winter’s Bone and The Kids Are All Right being highly praised also in some of the major categories. 

Written by Michael Cunneen

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