The film studios love award ceremonies. All that positive publicity
gives the impression that they are turning out quality products,
not mindless entertainment. And it's not just the Oscars they want
to win. Earlier ceremonies, like the Golden Globes, are seen as
an indication of who will take away the Oscars, and so can be just
The American Academy, who hand out the Oscars, frowns on blatant
campaigning for votes, but other organisations may have fewer scruples.
Some awards are voted for by quite a small number of people, and
can be easily influenced. The Golden Globes are awarded by the Hollywood
Foreign Press Association (HFPA), a group of about 90 journalists
from around the world. Studios put pressure on them by giving them
chances to meet the stars personally and be photographed with them,
a great opportunity for a star-struck scribbler from some small
The stars are quite happy to take part in all this. After all, winning
an award can show that what they make is art, not mere entertainment.
They'll gladly turn up to receive any old award, and then react
as if it's the greatest thing that's ever happened to them.
With all this fuss going on, it's easy to forget what the purpose
of film awards is meant to be. They are supposed to be given for
examples of excellence, films and performances that move us and
make us think. Nowadays it often seems that a decision is made as
to what is the big blockbuster film of the year, which then goes
on to clean up at the major awards. The leading actors are automatically
rewarded, with little thought about whether they really gave the
best performances of the year.
We may be cynical about the decision-making process, but we should
remember that there is a positive side to all this, and it isn't
only the big film studios that do well. The promise of big audiences
means that television companies will pay large sums for the rights
to cover award ceremonies. The award-giving organisations decide
what to do with the money, which includes donating to charities.
The Golden Globes is a good example. As it becomes better known,
it generates more income, and over the past few years the HFPA has
given millions of dollars to film-related charities.