Whether you're into movies or not, when film award season rolls around every year, there's usually something that catches everyone's attention; be it a plethora of new talk show interviews for the celebrity lovers, thousands of different red carpet looks for the fashion folk or even actors commenting on social issues for the politics people. But when it comes to the actual accolades, do they really matter and are they indicative of a film's brilliance or success?
It's no secret that movie fans devour award-related news from the arguably less prestigious Golden Globes to the Academy Awards. But for all the fun that comes out of the season, the best thing is undoubtedly that it brings audience attention to films that may not have so widely well received if not for those accolades.
Many such pictures come to mind this year, like Barry Jenkins' Moonlight, about a young black man who struggles to come to terms with his sexuality and Kenneth Lonergan's Manchester By The Sea which explores themes such as grief and loss. Two fantastic films that have might have flown under the radar in our blockbuster-saturated world, but thanks to award acclaim, they've not gone unnoticed. Heck, even outings such as Damien Chazelle's La La Land - which seems very mainstream on the surface, with stars Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone at the forefront - might have got lost with its unconventional, old Hollywood style.
With that considered, awards buzz will obviously help a movie make more money at the box-office, even if it's just a small influence - it still makes one. Typical "award-worthy" movies tend to be more ambitious in terms of visuals, script or originality and if studios make a significant amount of money on said pictures, they're more likely to take further risks in the future which is always a good thing.
But those benefits can be achieved with just a nomination; those films don't necessarily have to go on and win and considering most accolades are dished out by a team of industry professionals rather than the much more diverse general public, it's not always indicative that the winner is ultimately better than its competition.
Actors themselves don't necessarily hold the whole concept of awards in high regard either. Whenever stars are asked during interviews whether they're looking forward to an upcoming ceremony or they're keen to bag an Academy Award, the answer is normally something along the overly polite lines of 'not really'. But then again, they could just be downplaying it so as to avoid disappointment if they turn out to be the one walking away empty-handed.
Back in 2012, Oscar-nominated actor Benedict Cumberbatch stated to TVLine: " What we do for a profession is an absolute gift of a job; it's a blessing. So then awards on top of that? They're sort of fantasy icing on the cake." His comments suggested that awards were regarded as more of a bonus by people in the industry rather than motivation in the craft - an opinion that many actors seem to share.
"Do awards change careers? Well, I haven't heard of many stories where that's the case," he went on. "It's a fun excuse to meet colleagues and celebrate people who've done well that year in certain people's eyes, and it's nothing more than that."
In some instances, he's spot on. There have been actors in the past such as The Artist's Jean Dujardin, Million Dollar Baby's Hilary Swank and Lincoln's Daniel Day-Lewis who have scooped up Oscars, only to not really do anything that significant afterwards. But that's not always the case; just look at the the likes of Octavia Spencer, Eddie Redmayne and Jennifer Lawrence whose careers truly started when they took home the little golden men.
Basically, as with so many things, there are benefits to awards; there are negatives and there are also arguments that it wouldn't really make a difference either way. But at the end of the day (and at the start of each year), award season manages to propel truly deserving pieces of cinema into the limelight while simultaneously providing serious acting talents with the stepping stones for a fruitful career and for that alone, they're worth it.