This week, let's talk beginnings and breakthroughs.
The annual Hollywood Awards, which announced their awards and nominees on Friday (previously noted), aren't typically considered part of the Oscar race. Unofficially-officially the National Board of Review's early December announcement is still the kick-off though the Gotham Awards (late November) have been rising as an alternative "first stop" in power. Still, the Hollywood Awards are glance at in order to see which publicity teams are working overtime to gather kindling for awards fire. Of particular interest, I think, is the plethora of "breakthrough" awards that they hand out. Breakthrough Awards are nearly always more PR driven than other categories by their very nature regardless of worthiness of whoever is honored. That's not a judgement but a neutral statement.
If breakthrough awards didn't exist, it would be much harder for young talents to be competitive in an awards race. They don't come into any contest with the advantages of pre-sold media interest, critical reputation, or habitual preferencing. The only advantage newbies have each year is nascent; people of all shapes, sizes, and ages (including Oscar voters) like receiving shiny new toys to play with at Christmas. Make of this what you will but this lone advantage is quite potent for actresses and often inconsequential for actors.
But you made me feel...
Yeah you made me feel shiny and new
Like a virgin
If you stop to think about it from a publicity perspective, Breakthrough Awards are very much like those old Vanity Fair Hollywood covers. Yes, there were probably teams of editors or creative directors selecting the 9 to 13 cover beauties, but those same beauties were essentially culled from whichever young "up and coming" stars had management teams that were able to bend Conde Nast's ears in the first place.
The Hollywood Awards are but the first organization of many to come to name their favorite shiny new toys of 2011. They offer up not one, not two, not three, not four but FIVE (whew) for us to play with. CONSIDER...