Awards season is a time when the industry is abuzz about film with a heightened sense of fervor and excitement. It’s a time when movies are lauded and when little known indies are shown more love and appreciation than major studio films. It’s a time when those behind the scenes, like writers, get well-deserved recognition, and when films that have been showing in limited release garner a lot of attention on the biggest stage of all. This is the main reason why I enjoy this time of year in film. Awards season can give small films and unknown actors a major boost and make little and fantastic films known to wider audiences. I think about The Wrestler, The Visitor and Boys Don’t Cry, three great indies that generated serious buzz from awards season and got audiences of all kinds – not just cinephiles – curious, interested and clamouring to see them. When an indie film gets attention, its acting talent usually does too, and I just love comeback stories like that of Mickey Rourke who, with The Wrestler, re-emerged from the has-been forest to deliver a stellar performance for Darren Aronofsky in an incredible film.
For unknown actors who’ve been working in relative anonymity for years, the impact is even greater. With one Golden Globe or Oscar nominated role, they and their work can be seen by millions. The exposure that awards season gives to little films and lesser known actors is remarkable. Unfortunately, awards season is exclusive in recognizing only a select group of films to the exclusion of many others. The same films usually remain in the rotation and are nominated repeatedly throughout awards season (although a one-off nomination has been known to happen), but when an indie film or an unknown actor grabs the gold, I think it’s a triumph for independent cinema as a whole. It’s a reminder that great cinema doesn’t just exist on a mainstream level backed by huge studios, padded by large budgets and casted with big names. It proves that modest filmmaking, marketed by word-of-mouth, featuring great up and coming talent is happening out there and the results are good films deserving of our time and attention.
Another aspect that I appreciate about awards season is that it gets people talking about all things film. The debates, the analyses, the articles, the blogs - it all amps up with a unique kind of passion and interest and, whether you love or despise awards season, it's difficult to not have an opinion either way about it. So with that said, tell me, how do you feel about awards season?