People's Choice Awards: The red-headed stepchild of award shows?

Jan 6, 2013 at 3:00 p.m. ET

The people have spoken. And that's what's so fun about the People’s Choice Awards. They aren’t about a highbrow organization that sits in its ivory tower and tells the rest of us what movies we like and why. The People’s Choice Awards is all about fan favorites. But what does Oscar think of all this?

People's Choice AwardsGiving the public a voice

We buy the movie and concert tickets, so why shouldn’t we decide who should get the awards? The People’s Choice Awards agree. Throughout the year, entertainment enthusiasts can log on to to enter contests, answer polls and express their opinion. Oddly enough, there is not much crossover between Oscar nominations and People’s Choice nominations. For example, none of us will likely live long enough to see “Favorite Celebrity Judge” on a list of Oscar nominations. Yet television talent competitions enjoy a weekly viewership of tens of millions of people.

What makes these globes golden

The Golden Globes are awards chosen by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, a group of about 90 members, comprised of international movie and television journalists. Surprised? It's interesting that the HFPA is such a small group whose opinion carries such weight, especially when you consider that the Golden Globes are often indicative of who will garner an Oscar nomination. Unlike the Oscars, the Golden Globes recognize television as well. If award shows were to be classified, the Oscars would be on the A list, and the Golden Globes on the A- list.

If it pleases the Academy

The Bentley of award shows, recipients of the much-coveted Oscar are determined by “The Academy” (sounds a bit menacing, doesn’t it?). The Academy is a body of 6000 members who are movie artists and professionals. The qualifications for belonging to such a lofty group are described as follows by

“To qualify for membership, you must be a film artist or craftsperson working in one or more of the art form’s key creative areas. And your work must represent an unusually high level of quality and distinction.

"If you are a writer, producer, or director, you should have at least two screen credits on films that reflect the Academy’s highest standards. If you are an actor, you should have performed scripted roles in at least three such films.”

Well lah-dee-frickin'-dah. Your work must represent an unusually high level of quality and distinction, so if your work represents just a high level of quality, you can consider yourself an Academy wannabe. This is good, though, because within any art or wine community there should be experts and enthusiasts setting the bar.

The only SAG you’ll find in Hollywood

The SAG (Screen Actors Guild) Awards is a hybrid between the Oscars and the People’s Choice Awards. While SAG members are directly tied to the entertainment industry, it is a membership of 100,000 people. Nominations are decided by 2100 SAG members, and voting cards are sent to all members. While this would appear to be a lovefest of Hollywood insiders, its vast membership may provide a compromise between commercial success and “art.”

So there you have it. The Oscars is known for being a bit of a snob-fest and the People’s Choice Awards is known as the blue-collar awards shows. Both bring something to the table: the People’s Choice Awards recognize our favorites in entertainment, and the Oscar nominations force us to watch great movies we would likely not watch if left to our own devices.

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