The 4 Most Prestigious Film Awards Around the World

This year marked the 88th consecutive year for the popular Academy Awards. Even if you weren’t one of the 34.4 million people viewing the program, it is almost guaranteed that you still heard discussion of the nominated films around your office or Facebook feed.

Considering the Academy Awards have been popular enough to last 88 years and still garner tens of millions of viewers, it is reasonable to ask the question: How do the Oscars stack up against the rest of the film awards? After all, the film industry is a massive global endeavor that’s constantly growing. Is receiving an Oscar the crème de la crème, or are there more prestigious film awards that directors and actors are vying for? What awards do critics and viewers take seriously?

Let’s take a look at the most popular awards for movies and see how their prestige compares.

The Academy Awards

The 4 Most Prestigious Film Awards Around the World

We start with the aforementioned Academy Awards, also commonly known as the Oscars. This annual film ceremony hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciencesis incredibly popular,having been around since 1929 andaired livenow in over 200 countries. The popularity has made the golden statuette, commonly referred to as an Oscar, the most recognizable award in the world. The Academy’s biggest year was in 1998, when the craze surrounding the film Titanic brought the ceremony 55 million viewers, an astonishing number.

When it comes to descriptions directors and actors want to pin before their names, “Oscar-winning” is probably number one. The worldwide recognition of this award means that labels like “Oscar-winning Director” on a movie poster will draw greater numbers of viewers and critics. Winning a Best Picture or Best Actor Oscar for a dramatic film is taken incredibly seriously by critics and audience, making this arguably the most renowned movie award.

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However, the awards are determined by the Academy’s voting membership, which numbers at a little more than 5000 people invited by the Academy. Their views do not necessarily represent those of the general public, so many may disagree with the results. Due to their popularity and high numbers of viewership, the Academy Awards are also far more commercial than other movie awards, enough so that the time of year producers promote the nominated films is referred to as “Oscar season.” If you are one to believe that such heavy marketing compromises the artistic quality of film, then this factor may trump recognition and knock the Oscar down in prestige. There have also been accusations of bias over the past several years, so the prestige of the Academy Awards may be reaching a decline.

The Venice Film FestivalThe 4 Most Prestigious Film Awards Around the World venice film festival

While the Academy Awards is decidedly more focused on the American film industry, the Venice Film Festival is the first major film festival in the world and has an international focus, which is certainly a plus over our previous entry. Starting in 1932, this film festival has been around for almost as long as the Academy Awards. Due to the international nature of this festival, there is much more diversity in terms of nominated titles: Asian, European and American films have similar chances of winning an award. The Venice Film Festival is considered part of the world’s “Big Three” award festivals, besides Berlin and Cannes. The awards are considered by critics to be incredibly prestigious, and newspapers, magazines and websites from all over the world report on the event. Over 150 films are screened during the festival every year, and the attendance of the festival rivals the viewership of the Academy Awards, even surpassing it during the Oscars’ recent years: over 50,000 professionals and film lovers attend the festival every year.

The Venice Film Festival has not been consistently annual over the decades. In 1968, people protested the event based on the perceived commodification of art represented by the awards. Due to this, no awards were given between 1969-79 — a full ten years. The festival has been a burgeoning and consistent success since this however.

The festival’s biggest award is the Golden Lion, introduced in 1949 and representing Venice’s Golden Lion of St. Mark.Though the award is not nearly as recognizable as the Oscar, the Golden Lion is considered an award of incredible renown and desired by actors and directors all over the globe.

The Golden Globesthe golden globes awards world film streaming

The Golden Globes is another annual film ceremony with awards given by 93 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA). Starting in 1943, the ceremony rivals the popularity of the Oscars in terms of significance to Hollywood and the American film industry and just completed its 73rd live broadcast. However, although it is aired in over 160 countries around the world and ranks as the third most watched awards show, the Golden Globes also lack the international inclusion of an award like the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Unlike the Oscars, the Golden Globes also give awards for television shows as well, making it not a purely film-focused affair. This not necessarily dilute the quality of a Golden Globe, but it may not allow the same prestige for a cinephile concerned only with film.

This award ceremony is aired at the beginning of every year on NBC and receives an average viewership of 19.7 million, which doesn’t come close to even the worst year for the Academy Awards or the annual attendance of the Venice Film Festival. While the Golden Globes receive a lot of media attention and is anticipated by many movie lovers, the numbers and make-up of the award ceremony just do not grant it the same fame and prestige as the Academy Awards. But when it comes to television, the numbers do prove that this is one of the most sought after movie awards.

The Sundance Film Festivalthe sundance film festival awards

Another film festival making the list, the Sundance Film Festival has been held in Utah every year since 1978, making it another event more focused on the American film industry. However, one thing that makes Sundance quite unique is its focus on independent films. When it comes to independent filmmakers having a chance to showcase their work, this film festival is the biggest and most prestigious event they could hope for. The award-granting part of the festival features both dramatic and documentary films, each category vying for the Grand Jury Prize. In terms of prestige, receiving the Grand Jury Award is the biggest boost in reputation an independent filmmaker could receive.

The Sundance Film Festival screens and grants awards to both American and international films. With the highest attendance being 46,731people in 2012, the ever-growing festival is catching up with older, more internationally-renowned events such as the Venice Film Festival. Because Sundance does not feature blockbusters from major film studios, the overall prestige cannot compare to that granted by an Oscar or the Golden Lion, however in terms of independent films which often do not make it into their nominations, there is no greater prestigious award. If it wasn’t for Sundance, we might not have heard of many famous independent films, such as Garden State, Reservoir Dogs, and Clerks


  1. Why people still make use of to read news papers when in this technological world
    everything is accessible on web?

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