Awards season is a phrase that makes it sound as though everyone is armed with shotguns, combing an empty cornfield in hopes of flushing statuettes from the brush. It implies a hunt, a focused pursuit whose sole goal is to return with an armful of trophies.
Awards season is also one of the reasons I'm glad not to work for a newspaper, or any organization that takes that phrase -- "awards season" -- seriously.
Toward the end of my tenure as a staff writer at a daily paper, "awards season" meant that period from the beginning of January until mid-to-late March, when the Oscars are awarded. It meant finding something every week -- now it would be every day -- to write about the Oscar race. That meant thinking of something new to write about movies I'd written full reviews of anywhere from three to six months earlier (when, presumably, I said all I had to say).
These days, awards season is a year-round thing. Even as my colleagues spend the next eight weeks writing about the Academy Awards, they'll also be writing about each of the weekly -- soon to be daily, no doubt -- awards shows that serve as a run-up to (and deflater of) the Oscars.
Nothing they write, of course, has any effect on the outcome. And all of it, unfortunately, serves to minimize the movies themselves, in favor of the horse race.
This commentary continues on my website.