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Phyllis Stuart Headshot

Embracing What Film Award Shows Miss

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I have a front row seat to the awards show race since I produce The WIN Awards for Women's Image Network (WIN). So it's no surprise that every season, award shows completely overlook deserving actors, films or shows, and these glaring omissions don't simply startle fans who want their favorite actors, films and shows to be embraced. In fact, the missing nominations crush and dishearten even the most seasoned film and show publicists and executives, who truly earn their pay nearly killing themselves during the awards show season.

Yet even if a show that studios want to push is not nominated, many studios and networks attempt to prevail in light of their new dark-horse status. This awards show season the Golden Globes, SAG Awards and (yes, even our little-engine-that-could awards show), The WIN Awards, all have made glaring nomination oversights. While I don't know the Globes' and SAG Awards' specific submission guidelines, The WIN Awards' policies don't allow us to reach into the world to nominate work that our WIN jury favors. The WIN Awards' entry guidelines dictate that only films and shows which are submitted to our show become eligible for nominations. In fact, while 2010 marks our twelfth WIN Awards show, for the first time we scheduled our show in the crowded January calendar so that The WIN Awards could serve as media platform for Oscars, Globes and SAG Awards races.

Calling ourselves to task our show's missing nominations this year include The Kids Are Alright, I Am Love and The Fighter. And because these films simply were not submitted they missed out on our promotional support to applaud the outstanding performances by Annette Bening, Tilda Swinton, Melissa Leo and Amy Adams, among others.

That said, even the big boys missed a few exceptional and deserving actresses who were nominated at The WIN Awards 2010, but were overlooked by the Golden Globes and SAG Awards. For instance we invite audiences to see Helena Bonham Carter play a delicious Red Queen in Alice In Wonderland. (Sure Johnny Depp had more screen time in this film, and maybe the Globes jurors overlooked her kill as the queen because jurors want to spread the awards around since Helena received a nomination for her role in The King's Speech). We also favored Secretariat with Diane Lane whose 1960s gal role shows how a woman, despite prevailing social restrictions and expectations, made brave decisions that changed the course of history.

Don't count out this year's dark horse contenders for the Oscars yet. In fact, one of the most outstanding award show season omissions is a little jewel from England, Made In Dagenham, starring the very plucky Golden Globe winner, Sally Hawkins, (Happy-Go-Lucky). Consider that Nigel Cole's film, Made In Dagenham, tells the tale of one very reluctant heroine, who changed not only the corporate culture of a behemoth like Ford Motor corporation, but whose fight for equal pay for equal work altered the laws across Great Britain and in much of the world. For a historical perspective, by 1939 Ginger Rogers had performed nine musicals with Fred Astaire, and never won an Oscar for her many in-reverse, in-high-heels performances. But she refused to stop dancing, until this much-maligned, dark horse ultimately did garner a win an Oscar (her sole career nomination), for being Kitty in Kitty Foyle.

While it is glamorous to walk a red carpet, The WIN Awards are less about awards and more about media advocacy. That said, our diverse 2010 nominee list shows that women are able to express richness and depth at any age and that their value transcends their "beauty" or the number of candles on their birthday cake. This year, The WIN Awards uniquely demonstrate that Girls Are Great From Nine To Ninety as our youngest nominee, Joey King was nine-years-old when filming Ramona And Beezus, and as our most senior female, our Lifetime Achievement Honoree, Suzanne Roberts, is nearly 90-years-old.

Everybody knows that a film's promotional budget helps secure awards and the studios that buy more trade paper ads, hold more screenings and/or place more DVD screeners in voter's hands, usually do win awards more often than do their better funded and/or more ambitious rivals. But naive as this may sound I invite voters to focus on a show's impact, depth and execution. And if some serious error and/or omission was commuted and you were overlooked this awards season, be like Ginger Rogers, strap on a pair, and I don't mean pumps.