History and membership of key critics and professional groups
ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS & SCIENCES
Raison d’etre: Org promotes advancement of the arts and sciences of motion pictures and promotes recognition of outstanding achievements by conferring annual awards of merit (Oscars).
Genesis: Acad was founded in 1927; first awards presentation was in 1929.
Ranks: Org comprises 6,424 total membership, 5,748 of them with voting privileges. Membership branches include: actors, art directors, cinematographers, directors, executives, film editors, music, producers, public relations, short films, feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.
Criteria: Membership is by invitation of the board of governors and is limited to those who have achieved distinction in the arts and sciences of motion pictures.
Laurels: Film nominees and winners are selected by the voting membership of the branch applicable. Up to five nominations are made in most categories, with balloting for these noms restricted to members of the Academy branch concerned. Nominations for awards in the foreign-language and documentary categories are made by committees of members drawn from all branches. Picture nominations and final winners in most categories are determined by vote of the entire membership.
Key dates: Nomination ballots will be mailed Jan. 8. Ballots must be returned Feb. 1. Nominations will be announced Feb. 12. Picture screenings for members will begin Feb. 16 at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater. Final ballots will be mailed out Feb. 27. Final ballots must be returned by March 19. Academy Awards presentation will be March 24 at the Kodak Theater in Hollywood.
Topper: Frank Pierson, prexy
Contact: John Pavlik, director of communications; Leslie Unger, publicity coordinator, (310) 247-3000
Web site: http://www.oscars.org
AMERICAN CINEMA EDITORS
Raison d’etre: Org advances art and prestige of editing profession.
Genesis: Group was founded in 1950; awards first handed out in 1962.
Criteria: Membership requires 60 months of editing experience and an interview process.
Ranks: Group has 480 total members, 332 active, and 90 life and 48 affiliated members. Rolls comprise film and TV editors.
Laurels: Nominees and awards in competitive categories are determined by the entire membership. Lifetime achievement honors are determined by guild’s board of directors.
Key dates: First round of ballots will be mailed Jan. 7. Ballots are due Jan. 22. Nominees will be announced Jan. 25. Final ballots will be mailed Feb. 1 and are due Feb. 15. Awards ceremony will be Feb. 24 at the Beverly Hilton.
Toppers: Tina Hirsch, president; Jenni McCormick, managing director
Contact: Jenni McCormick, (818) 777-2900
Web Site: http://www.AmericanCinemaEditors.com
AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE
Raison d’etre: The National Endowment for the Arts established the American Film Institute as an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the heritage of film and television, identifying and training new talent, increasing recognition and understanding of the moving image as an art form.
Genesis: Institute was founded in 1967; first televised awards presentation will be Jan. 5.
Ranks: Membership consists of 4,000 national members from all areas of the entertainment industry, and is open to all members of the public who love movies and pay annual dues.
Criteria: Nominating committee for films will comprise three AFI trustees, three film artists, three historians/scholars, three film critics and a chair. TV committee will comprise three AFI trustees, three television artists, three historians/scholars, three television critics and a chair. All will determine nominations in 19 categories, as well as up to six “AFI Moments of Significance” that occurred during the previous calendar year in each medium. All committee members will remain confidential until the nominations are announced.
Laurels: AFI will select 100 film and television experts to comprise an awards jury, who will vote to determine each award recipient by a final vote.
Key dates: Nominations are announced in mid December. Voting deadline for the jury is Jan. 2. The AFI Awards presentation will be Jan. 5 at Beverly Hills Hotel.
Topper: Chairman, Jean Picker Firstenberg
Contact: Leah Krantzlar (323) 965-1990
Web site: http://www.afionline.org
AMERICAN SOCIETY OF CINEMATOGRAPHERS
Raison d’etre: Org is committed to advancing the art and science of cinematography.
Genesis: Group was founded in 1919; awards first handed out in 1986.
Criteria: Membership is by invitation and is based on a candidate’s body of work.
Ranks: Membership totals 235 active members worldwide, plus 115 associate members. Rolls comprise cinematographers in film and TV.
Laurels: Nominees and awards in competitive film category are decided by ballot among entire active membership. Recommendations for honorary awards are made by a select committee, with the board of governors making the final decision.
Key dates: Nomination ballots will be mailed Dec. 28. Ballots are due Jan. 18. Nominations will be announced Jan. 21. Final film ballots will be mailed Jan. 24. Film ballots are due Feb. 12. Nominees dinner will be Feb. 15. Awards ceremony will be Feb. 17 at Century Plaza Hotel.
Toppers: Jay Kemper, president
Contact: Patricia Armacost, (323) 969-4333
ART DIRECTORS GUILD
(IATSE Local 876)
Genesis: Group was formed in 1937 as a labor union representing craftsman in the field of art direction. Awards have been handed out since 1997.
Ranks: Org has over 961 active and inactive members. Rolls comprise production designers, art directors and assistant art directors.
Criteria: Members must be engaged by a nonunion company that then signs the
IATSE collective-bargaining agreement or by a union company, subject in certain instances to the prior approval of Local 876.
Laurels: Competitive awards are voted on by the entire active membership. Special awards (including lifetime achievement and outstanding contributions to cinematic imagery) are determined by committee and approved by the executive board.
Key dates: First round of ballots will be mailed out Dec. 14 and are due back Jan. 11. Nominees will be announced Jan. 15. Final ballots will be mailed out Jan. 15 and due back Feb. 19. Winners will be announced at an awards banquet at the Beverly Hilton on Feb. 23.
Toppers: Jack DeGovia, president; Scott Roth, executive director
Contact: Scott Roth, (818) 762-9995
BROADCAST FILM CRITICS ASSN.
Raison d’etre: BFCA, the largest film critics org in the U.S. and Canada, exists as a primary source of information for today’s entertainment consumers.
Genesis: Group was founded in 1995.
Criteria: Members have to be a film critic on a broadcast TV station, a regular film reviewer on 10 or more radio stations or on an L.A. or N.Y. station, or an online critic on a select basis.
Ranks: Membership comprises 155 television, radio and online critics in the U.S. and Canada.
Laurels: Its annual Critics Choice Awards honors the finest achievements in filmmaking. Members select up to 10 nominees in the picture category and assign them a 5-1 point value. The films with the most points are accorded a top 10 designation. All other categories selected on a 3-1 system.
Key dates: Ballots will be sent out Dec. 10 and must be returned by Dec. 17. Winners will be announced Jan. 11 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.
Topper: Joey Berlin, president
Contact: Joey Berlin, (310) 659-7284
Web site: http://www.bfca.org
DIRECTORS GUILD OF AMERICA
Raison d’etre: Org promotes and protects the economic and creative rights of directors and directorial team members.
Genesis: Founded in 1936 as the Screen Directors Guild, org merged with the Radio and Television Directors Guild in 1960. Awards were first given in 1948.
Criteria: Membership is based on employment with a DGA signatory, or in certain cases may be obtained by invitation. Unit production managers, and first and second assistant directors require additional prerequisites.
Ranks: With about 12,300 active members, rolls comprise film and TV directors, technical coordinators and other members of the directorial team.
Laurels: Nominees and winners in the film and docu categories are voted on by the general membership. Special awards are selected by various committees.
Key dates: Feature film nomination ballots will be mailed Jan. 2 and the deadline for their return is Jan. 18. Five nominees will be announced Jan. 22. Final ballots will be sent out Jan. 25. Membership screenings of five nominated films will take place Feb. 11-15. Deadline for returning all ballots is Feb. 22. Winners will be announced March 9 at the Century Plaza Hotel.
Toppers: Jack Shea, president; Jay D. Roth, national executive director
Contact: Laraine Savelle, (310) 289-2038
Web site: http://www.dga.org
HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASSN. (Golden Globes)
Raison d’etre: Promotes cultural relations between the U.S. and foreign nations via reportage and recognizes outstanding achievement in the film and TV industries.
Genesis: HFPA was founded in 1943; first awards handed out in 1944.
Ranks: Org comprises 84 active member journalists who report on the U.S. film and TV industries for foreign publications.
Criteria: To become a member, a candidate must be approved by the general membership.
Laurels: Film nominees and winners are selected by a vote of the membership (a foreign-language film committee compiles a list of eligible entries in that category). Career laurels — the Cecil B. DeMille Award — are selected by the board of directors.
Key dates: Nominations will be announced Dec. 20. Final ballots will be mailed by accounting firm Ernst & Young to all HFPA members on Jan. 4. Deadline for receipt of final ballots is Jan. 16. Winners will be announced at the 59th annual Golden Globes at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 20.
Toppers: Dagmar Dunlevy, president
Contact: Michael Russell, (310) 939-9024
IFP/WEST INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARDS
Raison d’etre: Nonprofit org puts the spotlight on American indie feature films and serves the needs of the indie filmmaking community.
Genesis: Founded in 1980; awards first handed out in 1986.
Criteria: Membership requires an annual fee.
Ranks: 9,000 members nationwide vote; rolls comprise indie filmmakers and film enthusiasts
Laurels: Nominees in competitive categories and special awards, such as the Someone to Watch and Truer Than Fiction laurels, are selected by a committee of indie film experts. Competitive winners are determined by general membership vote.
Key dates: Nominees will be announced Jan. 8. Ballots will be mailed out during the last week of January. Screenings for members will be held throughout February. Ballots due back the first week of March. Winners will be announced March 23 in Santa Monica.
Toppers: Dawn Hudson, executive director
Contact: Diana Zahn, (310) 475-4379
INTL. DOCUMENTARY ASSN.
Raison d’etre: Dedicated to the support and celebration of nonfiction film and video
Genesis: Founded in 1982; first awards in 1984
Ranks: Org comprises more than 2,500 members in 50 countries. The rolls include docu producers, directors, researchers and other individuals and organizations involved in docu filmmaking.
Criteria: IDA members may join by simple application.
Laurels: Members may volunteer for screening committees to select nominees. A blue-ribbon panel picks the final winners and also finalizes recipients of special achievement honors.
Key dates: Nominees were announced Nov. 1 with an awards gala to be held Dec. 7 at the Directors Guild of America.
Toppers: Michael Donaldson, president; Sandra Ruch, executive director
Contact: Sarah Patterson, awards coordinator, (213) 534-3600
Web site: http://www.documentary.org
LOS ANGELES FILM CRITICS ASSN.
Raison d’etre: Org is dedicated to recognizing film art through awards and special events.
Genesis: Group was founded in 1975; first awards handed out the same year.
Criteria: Members vote in applicants to the association.
Ranks: Group has 52 members; rolls comprise critics for Los Angeles-area periodicals, and TV and radio outlets.
Laurels: All awards are voted on by entire membership; committees for experimental/independent films and documentaries make recommendations to the general assembly.
Key dates: Voting takes place, and award winners are announced Dec. 15. Awards ceremony will be held Jan. 22 at the Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica.
Topper: Jean Oppenheimer, president
Contact: Jean Oppenheimer, (310) 932-0689
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NATIONAL BOARD OF REVIEW
Raison d’etre: New York-based org recognizes and touts quality in domestic and international cinema; publishes Films in Review journal.
Genesis: Group was founded in 1908 as the National Board of Censorship of Motion Pictures (an ancestor of the Motion Picture Assn. of America). In 1915, it shifted its focus to single out “morally right” pics. First published lists of “exceptional photoplays” came in 1920; awards officially began nine years later.
Criteria: Membership is by sponsorship of a current member.
Ranks: Group has approximately 200 members; rolls comprise critics, journalists and other individuals “involved with film.”
Laurels: Awards in the major categories, including the annual top 10 list of pics, are voted on by entire membership. Honorary awards (including career achievement and the Billy Wilder award for film direction) are decided by the board of directors based upon recommendations from the exceptional photoplay committee.
Key dates: Awards will be announced Dec. 5 and distributed at Tavern on the Green at a gala ceremony Jan. 7.
Topper: Leon Friedman, president
Contact: (212) 289-5165
NATIONAL SOCIETY OF FILM CRITICS
Raison d’etre: Org promotes the mutual interests of film criticism and filmmaking; also publishes movie-related books and holds a seat on the National Film Registry board.
Genesis: Group was founded in 1966; first awards given that year.
Criteria: Membership is by vote of the society.
Ranks: Org has 51 members; rolls comprise critics for newspapers, magazines and journals throughout the country.
Laurels: Awards are voted on by general membership during an assembly at Sardi’s restaurant. Committees make recommendations for the experimental and nonfiction awards.
Key dates: Awards will be announced Jan. 5.
Toppers: Peter Rainer, chairman; Elizabeth Weiss, executive director
Contact: Elizabeth Weiss, (212) 989-1767
NEW YORK FILM CRITICS CIRCLE
Raison d’etre: Org recognizes the best films and filmmakers of the year, and promotes the art of film criticism.
Genesis: Group was founded and gave out its first awards in 1935.
Criteria: Membership is by vote of the circle.
Ranks: Group has 36 members; rolls include critics for daily and weekly publications based in New York.
Laurels: All awards are voted on by the membership, at Sardi’s.
Key dates: Awards will be announced Dec. 13. and the gala will be Jan. 6 at the Russian Tea Room.
Toppers: John Anderson, chairman
Contact: Janice Roland, (212) 445-7100
PRODUCERS GUILD OF AMERICA
Raison d’etre: Org protects and enhances the creative and economic rights of film and TV producers.
Genesis: Forerunner Screen Producers Guild was founded in 1950 and then merged with the Television Producers Guild in 1966. It merged in March 2001 with the American Assn. of Producers. Awards were first handed out in 1989. Name of awards was also changed this year from Golden Laurel Awards to PGA Awards.
Criteria: Membership requires accumulated verifiable producer credits.
Ranks: With about 1,500 members, rolls include producers, exec producers and associate producers in the U.S. film and TV industries.
Laurels: Contenders for the competitive film producer awards (Darryl F. Zanuck Theatrical Motion Picture Producer of the Year) are picked by anonymous committees and submitted to a board of directors, who determine final nominees by secret ballot. Winners are selected by vote of the general membership. Honorary award recipients (including the David O. Selznick Lifetime Achievement Award) are selected in the same fashion as producer of the year nominees.
Key dates: Theatrical motion picture nomination ballots will be mailed Dec. 7 and must be returned by Jan. 7. Final ballots will be sent Feb. 12 and must be returned by Feb. 25. The award ceremony will take place March 3 at Century Plaza Hotel.
Toppers: Kathleen Kennedy and Tim Gibbons, co-presidents; Vance Van Petten, exec director
Contact person: Cherish Peterson, (323) 960-2590
SCREEN ACTORS GUILD
Raison d’etre: Org represents performers in film, TV, commercials and industrials.
Genesis: Org was formed in 1933; life achievement kudos date back to 1962, while the SAG Awards began in 1995.
Criteria: Membership requires either proof of employment in a principal or speaking role in a SAG production, proof of employment as a SAG-coveredbackground player at full guild rates for a minimum of three workdays or being a paid-up member of an affiliated performers union (e.g., AFTRA) for a year and having worked once as a principal performer in that union’s jurisdiction.
Ranks: With about 98,000 active members, rolls comprise actors, singers, dancers, stunt performers, voiceover and background performers, and puppeteers.
Laurels: Nominees for the film awards are chosen by a committee comprising randomly drawn active members. Winners are selected by the entire active membership. The life achievement honor is selected by the national awards committee, composed of board members.
Key dates: The submission for SAG Awards must be filed Nov. 28. Nomination ballots will be mailed out Jan. 3. and must be returned by Jan. 25. Nominees will be announced Jan. 29. Final ballots will be mailed Feb. 12 and must be returned by March 8. Awards will be presented March 10 at L.A.’s Shrine Expo Center.
Topper: Melissa Gilbert, president
Contact persons: Kathy Connell, (323) 549-6707
Web site: http://www.sag.org
WRITERS GUILD OF AMERICA
Raison d’etre: Group is sole collective-bargaining representative for writers in the film, TV and multimedia industries.
Genesis: Authors Guild was formed in 1912; WGA in current form was organized in 1933. Awards were first handed out in 1947.
Criteria: Membership requires an aggregate of 24 units of screenwriting credit, based upon work completed under contract or sold on spec to WGA signatories.
Ranks: Group has about 8,500 members. Rolls comprise screen, broadcast, cable and interactive writers in entertainment and news.
Laurels: Competitive awards for film scribes are selected by all current members in good standing. Nominees for honorary awards (including the Laurel Award for lifetime contribution to film screenwriting) are selected by previous recipients. Final honorees are chosen by the guild’s board of directors.
Key dates: Preliminary ballots will be mailed out Jan. 15. The deadline for preliminary ballots is Feb. 4. Nominees for films will be announced Feb. 7. Final ballots will be mailed Feb. 7. The deadline for final screen ballots is Feb. 26. Winners will be announced March 2 at the Beverly Hilton.
Toppers: Victoria Riskin, president
Contact person: Ryan DeKorte, (323) 782-4574
Web site: http://www.wga.org