For Actresses, the SAG Awards Are the Only Ones That Count

Published on January 13, 2020

The nominees for the 92nd annual Academy Awards were announced today, and as usual, there were some pretty serious snubs as well as disconcerting issues regarding lack of diversity and sexism.

And the Golden Globes presented earlier this month weren’t all that much of an improvement.

It always gets you thinking, doesn’t it?

Who exactly is it that votes on these things?

And why should we care?

When it comes to award shows that honor achievement in acting, the only ceremony that holds any weight whatsoever, is the Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Here’s why the others don’t even remotely matter.

#1 —The Golden Globes Are Run By the Press, Not the Public

Let’s start with the Golden Globe Awards, which are voted on by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HPA). The HPA is a non-profit organization comprised of journalists and photographers who report on entertainment industry activity and interests in the U.S. for media predominantly outside the U.S.

But what I am unsure of is why any entertainment professional should place any value in what the media thinks. I am allowed to say that, by the way, because I am both an actress and a journalist. And I feel confident in saying the two things are profoundly different entities.

And while the compliment is nice, it doesn’t mean that the media should feel as if they have any place validating the talent of an actor or filmmaker.

When there are awards for journalists and/or photographers, voted on by actors, then we can talk.

#2 —The Academy Awards Are Run By a Membership Committee, Not the Public

The Academy Award winners are all decided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voting membership committee.

To score membership into the Academy, you have to get a highly coveted, top-secret invitation from the Board of Governors — but what we know for sure is that the roster is made up of “motion picture professionals,” because that’s super specific and reassuring.

What we also know is that up until 2016, the Academy was essentially ALL WHITE MEN. Shocker. A 2012 study revealed that the Academy’s members were:

  • 94% white,
  • 77% male,
  • 86% ages 50 or older, and
  • Median age of 62.

See the problem here? Among the 43 board of governors, only six of them were female.

After numerous complaints, the Academy decided to make a change within their roster and diversity statistics has risen substantially.

But — why should the Academy have required complaints to be inclusive? I’m still not impressed, given that the bulk of Oscar nominees continue to be predominantly white and male, year after year.

#3 —The SAG Awards Are Arguably the Only Level-Playing Field

The Screen Actors Guild Awards (SAG), however, are a different animal, because these “animals” are all rooting for each other.

The winners of the SAG Awards, which will be aired in just a few days on January 19th, are voted on by actors, and ONLY actors. Anyone who has made it to the professional acting level that earns them a “SAG-AFTRA” card is eligible to vote for their fellow actors in each category.

Everyone who votes has gone through the same trials and tribulations as the actors that are nominated. They have likely been through similar training and grueling audition processes. 

Everyone in the room at the SAG Awards each year has truly earned their right to be there, and when an actor accepts an award from their fellow artists of the same medium, it means something.

Not a bad idea to maybe implement a level-playing field, because as it stands, these award shows really aren’t for the general public…it’s for the internal glorification of Hollywood.

Alexi Melvin is the Senior Entertainment Writer at Grit Daily. Based in San Francisco, she covers entertainment, events, and their intersection of tech. She is a voice actress, known for her work in the Star Wars franchise films. She is also fluent in both English and Sarcasm.

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