Too Many Awards Shows? Emphatically Yes, Say Veteran Actors

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Jon Voight

Jon Voight, Martin Landau, James Cromwell and other seasoned screen stars weigh in on whether awards season has gotten completely out of hand.

BEVERLY HILLS – At the 24th annual Night of 100 Stars party, an unscientific survey of the veteran performers on hand for a black tie Oscar viewing party indicated considerable awards season fatigue. The reasons stated ranged from just too many awards shows to the impact of all that self-congratulations on the business and the actors and actresses themselves. Here is a sampling of what these stars, many of whom have been down the awards path themselves, had to say.

He went through the awards season back in 1991 when he received an Oscar nomination for his work in the Coen Brothers movie Barton Fink. He says there are now “way too many awards shows,” but his complaint isn’t just that they have proliferated.

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“Actors should not be competing against other actors,” says Lerner. “Actors are individuals. How do you compare me to Jack Palance (who beat him out for the Oscar the year he was nominated)? How do you compare Bruce Dern and Matthew McConaughey? How do you compare Kristen Stewart and Cate Blanchett? You can’t. I’m not saying I’m George C. Scott or Marlon Brando (who famously turned down Oscars). I would love to be nominated. I would love to win, but you have to keep everything in perspective.”

The actor, writer, director and producer of hit TV shows like Happy Days and recent movies including New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day is working on a revival of the TV show Odd Couple and preparing a new movie starring Kevin James to shoot in Florida later this year. Marshall says having so many award shows “takes away from the Oscars, which is the big awards show.”

Marshall said he was a presenter at the Hollywood Film Awards last November where they were giving an award to a movie that had not even come out yet. “I don’t think most people care about any of them except the Oscars. That is remembered forever.”

She won five primetime Emmys and a SAG award for her supporting role as the mother on the hit comedy Everybody Loves Raymond. She has no problem with the proliferation of award shows: “I don’t think it’s too much. They work very hard for those awards. That is part of what makes the industry successful. People get recognition because of that. So, no, I don’t think it’s too much.”

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The veteran character actor just returned from Tel Aviv, Israel where a play he wrote, A Medal For Murray, has been running for the past seven months. “There are too many,” says Richmond. “It’s a lot of shows. Every organization, every guild, wants to capitalize. Everyone today wants to do a show and give awards.”

Since making a splash as Sasha Baron Cohen’s sidekick in Borat -- which earned him a nomination for best fight at the MTV movie awards -- he has worked steadily in supporting roles. He has two movies coming out later this year, Sharkproof, starring Jon Lovitz; and Walk Of Shame, starring Elizabeth Banks.

“There are too many,” says Davitian, “because they single out one person as best actor, best this, best that. But you and I know that it takes 500 people to make one movie. They should give an award to everybody -- the grips, the catering guy. Everybody works their butts off.”

She won a Golden Globe for the 1986 movie Anna, which also earned her a best actress nomination at the 1987 Academy Awards. Her upcoming movies include Suburban Gothic and Buddy Hutchins, in which she plays Jamie Kennedy’s mother.

“There are too many at this point,” says Kirkland. “It’s a little too self-congratulatory for me. The major award shows are a good thing but there’s too much minor stuff. It seems like every time you turn around there is another awards show. It takes away from the preciousness of the Oscars, Golden Globes, the SAG awards, the Independent Spirit Awards and the New York and L.A Critics Awards. However, I won’t be where I am today without those award shows so I am eternally grateful to them.”

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She won a Golden Globe award early in her career for the 1976 mini-series Rich Man Poor Man but thought so little of it at the time that she didn’t bother to attend. “When I was young I thought I was a hippie,” recalls Blakely. “I thought the whole thing was sort of fun but I always thought there was a problem with competition. How can you possibly compare? The Academy does it and I support the Academy. But I think there are too many and it sort of disintegrates the power of it.”

She starred on the hit 60s comedy series Laugh In and has been a working character actress and personality ever since. “There are too many,” says Worley, “and what they do is devalue each other by having so many. Then each of them is not as important. Oscar was on top for years but now even it has been devalued because there are so many.”

The busy performer was nominated for a supporting actor Oscar in 1987 as the farmer in Babe and won an Emmy for his supporting work in American Horror Story in 2011.

“It’s not about the number of awards,” says Cromwell. “They aren’t very conscious about acknowledging the work that we do. Mostly they promote themselves at the expense of the people they claim to acknowledge -- the creative people who make it all possible.”

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He won a Golden Globes, an Oscar and other awards for his work in a supporting role in the 1994 movie Ed Wood. “There are too many but there also aren’t enough,” says Landau. “There aren’t enough good ones.”

Asked how he felt when he went through the awards season for Ed Wood, Landau says it made his arms tired. “I used my awards to curl,” he says, tongue in cheek. “They work very well. The SAG award and the Oscar. One is seven pounds and the other is ten pounds. I got great use out of them.”

He has been nominated for an Oscar four times and won once, in 1978 for Coming Home. He has also won three Golden Globes and been nominated for an Emmy twice.

Voight says the problem is that an actor caught up in awards season has to go to too many events: “Everybody wants one. The guilds all want their own show. It becomes quite a drain over the season. We’re at the end now, but they’ve run the gauntlet, and they’ve had a lot of fun and gotten to know each other along the way. It’s a certain kind of rite of passage. Then you finally get to the Oscars and it is the last hurrah. Then you are grateful for having been through it. That’s a happy time.”