As much as I enjoy the craziness of awards season, right now is the part of the season that I enjoy the most. This is the time right before all the big nominations start rolling in, and speculation (rather than expectation) is the driving sentiment for those who care about these things. Everyone might be leaning heavily on the year's obvious choices, but they're also making bold predictions and praying for that one film or performance to get some formal recognition. And underlying all this is still a sense of anticipation and uncertainty, no matter how certain you are. There's a sense of excitement before nominations start being announced, and I'm referring to everything leading up to the Oscars announcement. Okay, maybe not the Golden Globes, but everything else!
And what I like most about this 'calm before the storm' period is that the field is still very open. Everyone's curiosity crawls to an expanded margin and there's an eagerness to check out everything. Not that this eagerness disappears once the nominations come in, but the excitement narrows down to a smaller group of films that actually 'made it'. One could argue that films in contention of being nominated already fall into a narrow category to begin with, and I would have to agree. But in most cases, this slightly bigger category is still one that is indicative of quality. Regardless of how political the awards process is, a lot of really good films get worked up for the awards circuit, and as a fan of cinema, it's exciting to breathe all of this in. But once most of the nominations are solidified, the conversations become even more narrow and it starts feeling more like a race, not a scenic ride.
Take this year for example. It's obvious that La La Land is going to do well. This writer is particularly bias about this if you haven't heard already. And there are a bunch of other shoo-ins, but there's also lots of mystery behind just how good Silence will be (because it will be good for sure), whether the acting is unanimously strong in Fences (outside of the buzz surrounding Viola Davis), or if Moonlightwill actually get the recognition it deserves in a sub-culture that generated the hashtag '#oscarssowhite'. Once we have the answer to all these questions - and there are a lot more on that list - the excitement changes to one that focuses more on winning, rather than celebrating. At least that's my sense of things as a viewer who has no real connection to the film industry itself, but is heavily immersed in the awards circuit dialogue. So I'm just cherishing the next week or so when the veil has yet to be lifted, and my dream of Midnight Special picking up a few nominations is still well and alive.