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Annotated Awards Season Date Book

Academy Awards

Yup, it's starting all over again. We know you know the drill, but just to be sure, here's a reminder of a few of the key dates you don't want to miss

NOVEMBER

1: Cecil B. DeMille Award -- Not to be confused with the Harvard Lampoon's old Please-Don't-Put-Us-Through-DeMille-Again Award. No, this is the announcement of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's career achievement award, which, if nothing else, guarantees there will be a few moments of relative gravitas at the Golden Globe Awards.

22: Thanks For The Screeners -- It's Thanksgiving weekend, so it's time to start watching all those screeners that are piling up. First, though, take the kids to see Rise of the Guardians and
Life of Pi, which will have just opened in 3D. Then you can start working your way through those DVDs -- but you probably should wait until the grandparents go to bed before sticking Amour in the player.

26: Gotham Awards -- New Yorkers love to make sport of L.A.'s celebrity obsessions, but they are as starstruck as anyone. So while the Independent Filmmaker Project's Gotham Film Awards cast a welcome light on small, deserving films and performances, they also will pay fulsome tribute to stars like Matt Damon and Marion Cotillard.

DECEMBER

1: Governors Awards -- When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided to hand out its honorary Oscars at a private ceremony for the first time in 2009, everyone realized, "So this is what the Oscars were like before we had to put up with all those invasive TV cameras and impossibly short 45-second acceptance speeches." It quickly became a favorite event on the awards season calendar and a prime spot for discreet, under-the-radar campaigning. This year, the Academy will give its top honors to stuntman Hal Needham, documentarian D.A. Pennebaker and producer and arts advocate George Stevens Jr. while recognizing Jeffrey Katzenberg for his philanthropic efforts with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award.

2: Practice Name-Dropping -- Time to start brushing up on all the new faces you'll meet on the circuit. Better learn to spell Quvenzhane Wallis and master how to pronounce it -- it's kwa-VAN-zhan-ay -- because you're sure to see a lot of the enchanting young star of Beasts of the Southern Wild. Or just play it safe and call her by her nickname, Nazie.

3: Here Come the Critics -- Here Come the Critics Last year, the New York Film Critics Circle controversially moved its voting date way up to November to be the first kids on the block to seize the spotlight. This year, the group is waiting to vote so it can see more of the contenders (fancy that). The Los Angeles Film Critics Association will weigh in Dec. 9, and the National Society of Film Critics, which is actually waiting for all of 2012 to play out, will deliberate until Jan. 5.

10: Dirty Tricks, Phase 1 -- By now, the whisper campaigns should begin: Say, did you know Argo isn't 100 percent accurate? (No, but do you think Lincoln really sounded like that?)

13: Globe Nominations -- Those on the West Coast will have to set your alarms so you can be up before the crack of dawn -- unless, of course, you're expecting to be nominated. In that case, you can depend on your publicist to ring you up, and when she starts to roll those press calls, you can say, "I totally forgot the nominations were today!"

15: Satellite Awards - The Satellite awards celebrate artistic achievement in film, television, and digital entertainment, from the overlooked, but deserving films and programs to those with widespread critical acclaim. The show also honors some of the industry’s visionary icons for their contribution to the history and future of entertainment with the Mary Pickford and Nikola Tesla Awards.

JANUARY

3: Oscar Nomination Polls Close -- This is the date that is already making everyone crazy -- certainly, it's already giving plenty of Oscar strategists agita. Last year, the Academy's nominations poll didn't close until Jan. 13. But this year, the whole process is on speed. At least you don't have to worry about sending your ballot in by snail mail, though, because the Academy is offering the option of electronic voting. (Now, what button do I push?)

8: National Board of Review Gala -- Twenty-four hours later, no one will remember who took home the awards, but the party at New York's Cipriani 42nd Street is always kind of fun and loosey-goosey.

10: Oscar Nominations -- Or should we call it D-Day? Repeat instructions for Dec. 13, but this time sound really, really grateful. Just be sure you've booked your masseuse to make a house call so you can take a break once the Entertainment Tonight crew leaves because it's going to be a long, long day -- the Broadcast Film Critics Association holds its Critics' Choice Awards in the evening.

11: AFI Awards Luncheon -- No sweating this one because it's always civilized, relaxed and low-key. After all, it ends with what's described each year as a benediction.

13: Golden Globe Awards -- Yeah, we know. Everyone knocks the members of the HFPA for being unapologetic celebrity hounds. But, hey, this year the Globes have booked co-hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler. We can't wait to see what they do, or what former host Ricky Gervais tweets in return.

26: PGA Awards -- The Producers Guild Awards are good Oscar predictors: 16 of the past 23 best picture winners first won the PGA's top prize. Definitely worth stopping by.

27: SAG Awards -- The actors branch is the biggest in the Academy, so its overlap with Screen Actors Guild Awards voters is huge. But it's still possible for an esteemed performance (like the ones in Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was ruled ineligible by SAG) to score an Oscar without a SAG Award. So don't fill out that office Oscar pool ballot just yet.

28: Book That Getaway -- Quick, before it gets too late, make reservations for a little post-Oscar R&R at the recently opened Spa La Prairie, (310) 909-1681, at Hotel Bel-Air. Whether it's a straightforward deep-tissue massage or an over-the-top caviar firming facial, the Swiss import has you covered.

FEBRUARY

2: DGA Awards -- Now the banquets are coming fast and furious. And this one's always tense. Since 1948, only six Directors Guild Award winners have failed to win the best director Oscar -- and you don't want to be on the wrong side of history, do you?

4: Nominees Luncheon -- On Oscar night, nominees don't really feel it is an honor just to be nominated. But that sentiment does genuinely prevail at the Oscar Nominees Luncheon. Plus, you get to participate in the annual class photo. High school was never like this.

6: Dirty Tricks, Phase 2 --  With final Oscar ballots due Feb. 19, this is when the knives come out. What will it be this year? We don't even want to speculate.

10: BAFTA Awards -- You'll need the use of a corporate jet if you're planning to attend the British Academy Film Awards in comfort. As for the BAFTAs themselves, remember, they are probably the only awards more Anglophile than the Oscars. There was no way Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was going to win last year's adapted screenplay Oscar and no way it was going to lose the BAFTA.

17: WGA Awards -- The Writers Guild Awards always has some of the longest acceptance speeches on record, especially from the honorary winners, who bring with them meticulously composed addresses. But, hey, these guys and gals have a way with words, so they're often also smart and pointed.

23: Spirit Awards -- The Globes have a reputation as the party-heartiest awards show around, but Film Independent's Spirit Awards inspire just as much tipsy celebrating, and they are presented in the festive environment of a big tent by the ocean in Santa Monica on a Saturday afternoon. They're too late to influence the Oscars, but sometimes they can help you tell which way the awards winds are blowing.

24: 85th Academy Awards -- It's finally here! Gird yourself for the red-carpet melee. (Don't forget to bring some snacks and a couple of Advil.) Forget best picture. The big question of the night is whether Seth MacFarlane is up to the hosting gig. He certainly killed on Saturday Night Live in September. And with musical comedy specialists Craig Zadan and Neil Meron producing, there's sure to be a big production number: We're betting on an all-star parody version of the Les Mis first-act finale number "One Day More" -- or make that "One Oscar More."