The Awards Are Coming

British Independent Film Award winner and nominee, Ralph Fiennes, in Coriolanus

The film industry’s awards season is in January and February, right?  Well, yes, but actually it lasts longer than that and, in fact, kicks off next month.  So you can look forward to three whole months of “The Road To The Oscars”-type headlines.

Outside of Hollywood, the European Film Awards are first out of the blocks, with their trophies being handed out on 3rd December.  Tilda Swinton, as we know, is up for the Best Actress Award for her searing turn in We Need To Talk About Kevin.

The following evening sees the presentation of the British Independent Film Awards.  Two honorary prizes have already been announced: Ralph Fiennes picks up the Award For Outstanding Contribution To Film By An Actor, while Kenneth Branagh receives the a special award for helping to “focus the international spotlight on the UK”.  Fiennes is also in the running for another gong, Debut Director, for his work on Coriolanus, which opens in the UK in the New Year.  However, this year’s main contenders are Steve McQueen’s Shame, Paddy Considine’s Tyrannosaur and Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, all of which scooped seven nominations each, with We Need To Talk About Kevin a whisker behind on six.

BAFTA doesn’t present its awards until 12th February but, while we’re waiting, there’s plenty of action in Tinsel Town, with the Critics’ Choice Awards on 12th January, the Golden Globes on 15th January and the Screen Actors’ Guild Awards on 29th January.  And, in case you’re suffering from withdrawl symptoms before then, they all announce their nominations in mid-December.

The Academy Awards ceremony is on 26th February, with nominations announced in late January – but two other sets of awards are handed out the day before.  The antidote to the Oscars, The Golden Raspberry Awards – aka The Razzies – mark the worst in moviemaking during 2011 on the 25th while, at the same time, the indie film industry is celebrated through the Independent Spirit Awards.

And who’s in the running for all these trophies?  There’s plenty of speculation already but, for me, it’s a touch too early to say, especially as some of the films have yet to be released over here.  The Globes and the Screen Actors’ Guild are usually good indicators, so I’ll be looking at possible contenders in a few weeks’ time.

At the moment, my money’s still on Tilda for the Best Actress Oscar: the media would have you believe the front runner is Meryl Streep’s performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady.  Portrayals of real people have found favour with the Academy in recent years – think Helen Mirren (The Queen), Colin Firth (The King’s Speech) and Sean Penn (Milk) – but the early favourite doesn’t always capture the little gold man.  Remember the 2007 awards season? Julie Christie appeared to be sweeping the board with her performance in Away From Her – until she got to the BAFTAs.  Marion Cotillard pipped her to it – and the Oscar.

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