Awards season is slowly bearing down on us. We already saw the BAFTA LA Britannia Awards last week and now the Hollywood Film Awards 2017 are upon us. Like the Oscars, these award honour the best in film of the year. However, unlike the Oscars, a judging panel chooses nominees individually. This means there’s no preselected list of nominees.

The only criteria is that the honourees must have had a film released in the same year as that particular award show. So, anyone whose films came out in 2016 or are due in 2018 are ineligible.

The official explanation on the Hollywood Film Awards website is as follows:

“Potential winners are evaluated based on their body of work and/or film(s) to be released during the calendar year designated. With participating Hollywood insiders, our Advisory Team identifies and selects the recipients of our honors. Our winners are pre-selected to receive our awards. Our selection is based on their outstanding achievement and contribution to the art of cinema. They are not “nominees.””

The advisory board who choose the winners consists of film industry insiders and experts. These include agents, critics, directors, managers, producers, publicists, screenwriters and studio executives. The board see films multiple times, at pre-press screenings, press screenings, and festival screenings. Once they’ve viewed the year’s noteworthy films plenty of times, they undertake addition research to find those most worthy of winning.

Selections are chosen for their outstanding achievement and contribution to the art of cinema. Essentially, these are the choices that will go down in history.

It’s also worth noting that the Hollywood Film Awards are often seen as a precursor to the Oscars. If you’re honoured at the former, chances are you’ll be nominated for the latter.

How are the Hollywood Film Awards 2017 different to the Oscars?

However, while it all might sound fairly similar to the Oscars, the Hollywood Film Awards lack of nominees makes things a bit different.

The Academy’s voting system sees a ballot sent out to every member. Members can nominate five films or people in their respective field. For example, the acting branch of the Academy can only nominate actors etc. Anyone can vote for Best Picture.

The nominations are counted and those with the most nominations become the official nominees.

The Academy’s members then receive another ballot where they choose from the list of nominees. They can vote in any category but are encouraged not to vote outside of their field of expertise. And that’s where the chances of unfairness come in. If none of the films a member has seen that year make it into the list of official nominees, they might be encouraged to vote for things they haven’t even watched. Thus, voters might be more susceptible to lobbying from studio executives.

As the Hollywood Film Awards doesn’t count this second round of nominees, they’re in less danger of being lobbied. Which means, overall, the Hollywood Film Awards are potentially fairer than the Oscars.

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Who is receiving an award at this year’s Hollywood Film Awards 2017?

Actor Award – Jake Gyllenhaal

Gyllenhaal’s honour is for his performance in Stronger. He plays Jeff Bauman, a survivor of the Boston Marathon Bombings who had both legs amputated but identified the bomber. The film deals with Jeff’s PTSD and his survival in the aftermath of losing his limbs.

Supporting Actor Award – Sam Rockwell

After a storied career, Rockwell will receive an honour for his role in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. In the film he plays Office Dixon, a loose cannon junior police officer. After a local woman demands the police take further responsibility for catching the man who raped and murdered her daughter, Dixon retaliates with violence and anger. Ultimately though, his character finds redemption.

Actress Award – Kate Winslet

Winslet will receive an honour at the Hollywood Film Awards 2017 for her role in Wonder Wheel. The new film from Woody Allen sees Winslet as Ginny. She is the wife of a boring carousel operator whose life perks up when she meets a handsome lifeguard. Unfortunately, her estranged step-daughter is pursuing the same man.

Supporting Actress Award – Allison Janney

Janney is receiving an honour for her turn as LaVona Golden, the sharp-tongued mother of Tonya Harding in “I, Tonya”. The film tells the story of figure skater Tonya Harding who, along with her ex-husband, conspired to break an opponents leg to stop a competitor from performing.

Comedy Award – Adam Sandler

After dozens and dozens of films, Sandler is finally winning a major award for The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected). He plays Danny Meyerowitz, one of a group of siblings contending with their father’s legacy.

Breakout Performance Actor Award – Timothée Chalamet

Sure to be one of the first major awards of his career, Chalamet’s award is based on his performance in Call Me By Your Name. He plays Elio, an American-Italian youth who spends his summers in the North Italian countryside. One summer, his father brings a research assistant called Oliver to stay with them. A tender romance soon blossoms between the young men.

Breakout Performance Actress Award – Mary J. Blige

After a glistening music career, Mary J. Blige broke into acting in a major way with the Oscar-tipped Mudbound. The film shows the racial tensions on a Mississippi Delta farm, after the second world war. Things are thrown up in the air when two young men return from the war to work the land. One of them is related to the white owners of the farm, the other is eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm. Blige plays the matriarch of the latter’s family and received critical acclaim for her role.

New Actor Award – Jamie Bell

Bell is receiving his award for his performance as Peter Turner in Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool. The film is set in 1981. Decades after she rose to fame in Hollywood, the Academy Award-winning star Gloria Grahame (Bening) is treading the boards in a modest theatre production when she collapses in a Lancaster hotel. Her health failing, she reaches out to former lover, Liverpudlian actor Peter Turner. When Peter takes her back to his family home, to the care of his sympathetic mother, memories of their grand affair soon come flooding back.

Ensemble Award – I, Tonya

Tonya Harding rises through the ranks of competitive figure skating only to find disgrace when her husband tries to eliminate her rival.

Comedy Ensemble Award – The Big Sick

Kumail is a Pakistani comic who meets an American graduate student named Emily at one of his stand-up shows. As their relationship blossoms, he soon becomes worried about what his traditional Muslim parents will think of her. When Emily suddenly comes down with an illness that leaves her in a coma, Kumail finds himself developing a bond with her deeply concerned mother and father.

Breakout Ensemble Award – Mudbound

Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband’s Mississippi Delta farm, a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family’s struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura’s brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not – charming and handsome, but he is haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, now battles the prejudice in the Jim Crow South.

Song Award – Common, Andra Day, Diane Warren – ‘Stand Up For Something’ from the Marshall soundtrack

Animation Award – Coco

Despite his family’s frustrating generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of Anthony Gonzalez) is inspired by his idol, the late, great musician  Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt)—and dreams of nothing else. Following a mysterious and otherworldly chain of events, Miguel meets charming trickster Héctor (voice of Gael García Bernal), and, together, they set off on an adventure of music and mystery, resulting in the most unusual family reunion.

Director Award – Joe Wright

Joe Wright will receive the prestigious Director Award for his work on Darkest Hour, a film about the forces that led to Winston Churchill’s premiership during WWII. The film has received great acclaim at film festivals and many audiences are thrilled finally watch it in cinemas in late November.

Producer Award – Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson and Cynthia Sikes Yorkin

This team of all-star producers will be taking home the Producer Award for their work on Blade Runner 49, the much anticipated sequel to Ridley Scott’s classic, Blade Runner.

Screenwriter Award – Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber

Neustadter and Weber are winning the Screenwriter Award for their work on The Disaster Artist. The critically-acclaimed film depicts the meeting and early friendship of Greg Sestero and Tommy Wiseau, the actors behind the 2003 cult film The Room, a film often hailed as the Citizen Kane of bad movies, the troubled making of it, and their respective careers after the surprising success of the film.

Career Achievement Award – Gary Oldman

Finally, Gary Oldman will receive a Career Achievement Award for his lifetime’s work. The particular film that won him the award is the aforementioned Darkest Hour where he plays Winston Churchill. Critics have already called it the greatest performance of his already-storied career. Safe to say, this award is exceedingly well-deserved.