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As the film industry grows, so too does the list of film festivals and awards ceremonies across the globe. From the Academy Awards in Los Angeles to the Cannes Film Festival in France, there is an awards ceremony for various types of films. But what matters even more than the festivals and ceremonies are the awards.
There are awards distributed by critics, the festival and industry professionals as well as the general public. Due to their longevity, media appeal or fan appreciation, some of these awards are considered much more important than other.
In this list, we take a look at the most prestigious movie awards in the world.
10. Golden Lion – Venice Film Festival
This is the first major film festival in the world, being around since 1932, and it is appreciated due to its large diversity among the chosen titles. You’ll see Asian, European and American features films bearing the same chances of winning awards. The Golden Lion was introduced in 1949 as the Golden Lion of St. Mark, a symbol of Venice, and is one of the most distinguished awards in the film industry. As with the Golden Bear I’ll get to later, they also award an honorary version of the prize for the persons that made important contributions to the film industry.
9. Golden Globes
The award is given by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association during an annual ceremony and dinner that held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel since 1961. The first award was given in 1943. It has since become a significant element of the film industry since the ceremony was first broadcast in 167 countries in the world, making it the third most watched awards show after the Grammy Awards and the Oscars. Actress Meryl Streep is the only person to receive eight Golden Globes and Barbra Streisand has nine if you include the honorary awards.
8. Grand Jury Prize – the Sundance Film Festival
The Sundance Film Festival is organized by the Sundance Institute and it takes place each year in Utah. It is the largest independent film festival in the U.S. and is the main event where independent filmmakers can showcase their work. The competitive part of the festival is for dramatic and documentary films with the most important award being the Grand Jury Prize for both categories.
The festival began in 1978 when Sterling Van Wagenen, the head of Robert Redford’s Wildwood company, started the festival to attract more filmmakers to Utah. In 1984, the festival was taken over by the Sundance Institute and its name was changed to the Sundance Film Festival in honor of the film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. The Grand Jury Award is one of the best ways for independent filmmakers to boost their reputation.
7. The Golden Leopard – Locarno International Film Festival
The festival is held each year in August and takes place in Locarno, Switzerland. The main event is the open-air screening at the Piazza Grande and the awarding of the Golden Leopard. There are other awards such as the Leopard of Honor for an outstanding career and the Prix du Public which is the people’s choice award. The festival launched the careers of some of the most important directors and actors like Terry Gilliam, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich, Quentin Tarantino, Tim Roth, and Edward Norton. The Golden Leopard is awarded to directors and the winning films are chosen by a jury.
6. Film of the Year – European Film Awards
The European Film Academy uses these formerly called Felix Awards to recognize excellence in European cinema. The event is held in various cities across the continent. The most important award is the Film of the Year and it was first awarded in 1988. The films have to be European features intended for theatrical release and they must have had the first screening after July 1st of the previous year. The members of the EFA vote for nominations from a selection of 40 films and the winners are announced at the ceremony held in December.
5. Filmfare Awards
The Filmfare Awards is the oldest ceremony appreciating the Hindi film industry and it started in 1954. The event is organized by The Times Group and the voting system is dual in nature – the public and a committee of experts determine who is awarded. There are currently 31 awards.
Despite the questions concerning the way in which the winners are selected, the event is one of the most important ones and the only one in our list to celebrate the achievements of Indian cinematography, exclusively.
4. The Golden Bear – The Berlin International Film Festival
The event is also known as the Berlinale and is a part of the “Big Three” film festivals including those in Venice, Italy and in Cannes, France. If we consider attendance rates, than this is the largest festival in the world.
The figure of a bear for the award was chosen because it is the heraldic animal of Berlin and can be found on the coat of arms and on the city’s flag. It was first awarded in 1951. The festival was accredited by the FIAPF in 1956 with an international jury deciding the winners.
3. BAFTA Awards
The award ceremony is hosted by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts which was founded in 1947. The first awards were given two years later. In 1958, the Academy merged with the Guild of Television Producers and Directors and their purpose was to “support, develop and promote the art forms of the moving image by identifying and rewarding excellence, inspiring practitioners and benefiting the public.” The award is a theatrical mask designed by Mitzi Cunliffe and the ceremony usually takes place in February, before the Oscars.
2. Palme d’Or – The Cannes International Film Festival
Introduced in 1955 as the highest prize of the festival, it was replaced in 1964 by the Grand Prix du Festival. It was ultimately brought back in 1974. The idea was to have a different sculpture each year from a contemporary artist. The first one was designed by the jeweler Lucienne Lazon. The most recent design of the award, untouched since 1997 when it was designed by Caroline Scheufele, features a single crystal piece and a 24-carat gold palm hand cast into a wax mold. The prize is given to the director of the best feature film. There is a policy during the festival forbidding the winner of the prize to receive any additional awards.
1. Oscars – The Academy Awards
The Oscars, as they are popularly known, is the most renowned and awaited film ceremony every year, watched live in over 200 countries. The official name of the prize is the Academy Award of Merit and it was first presented in 1929 with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences overseeing the process.
The ceremony takes place in the first quarter of the year and honors the achievements of the previous year. The statuette is made of gold-plated britannium with a black metal base and depicts an Art Deco representation of a knight with a sword standing on a reel of film with five spokes, each one suggesting the branches of the Academy – the actors, writers, directors, producers and technicians.
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