I remember the days of dial-up internet connections. And not having the internet at all for a while. Not sure of the circumstances now, but one time I had to listen to mediocre coverage of the Oscars on the radio on the night Crash won Best Picture – and then watch the show in full later. So that year, and other before it, I found it just easier to go to the central library where I was able to read the weekly editions of Variety and Screen International magazines. But more importantly during the awards season I got to see the For Your Consideration trade ads.
Once back online (and rejoining the land of the living) I would find as many trade ads as I could find, and save them to my computer. Sometimes you could find an updated collection of them on one site, like Oscarwatch / Awardsdaily, which was much more convenient – plus I was unable to get copies of The Hollywood Reporter here in the UK.
For those of you not familiar with the FYC ads, they are designed to quite literally throw the movies and their potential categories at you. They are a great awards campaigning tool. Voters read these publications, and see an actor given special page space, a couple of positive quotes from critics you’ve heard of. Implanting in your head a voting choice. Advertising. The world is very digital now, so you see these endorsements all over the internet now, not just on pages of magazines.
For a movie freak like me these were not just trade ads, they were special edition posters, they were as important as photos from a great holiday. They were an in-your-face reminder to me that awards season was well and truly here – and these were the actresses, the movies, the composers, the screenwriters etc etc that were in contention.
I’ve always said, or at least since the Dances With Wolves year when I started taking the Oscars and movies very seriously, that this whole awards season was like Christmas to me. It builds up and up over the months, and you wonder who will be nominated and who will win. I was no longer a child and had long since grown out of toys, I was a teenage movie buff who was ready and willing to replace Star Wars figures with little gold statuettes. And all that came with it. I was sold to the movies, big time, before I have even set eyes on any FYC ad. I have not looked back since. Christmas is coming.