What Are the Hollywood Film Awards? They Kick Off Awards Season with a Focus on Celebrities

As a person obsessed with the world of Hollywood, I was shocked I hadn't heard of the Hollywood Film Awards before — but there's good reason for that. This year is the first that the awards, airing on CBS on Friday, Nov. 14 at 8 p.m., will be on TV. So what are the Hollywood Film Awards? Not surprisingly, it's a movie awards show, that claims it "honors excellence in filmmaking." Founded in 1997 by Carlos de Abreu and Janice Pennington, the show has literally (lit-ruh-lee!) trademarked that it's the "Official Launch of the Award Season." But besides being first, what makes it really different than, say, the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards, is the fact that it doesn't seem to have much clout. And at this point, the media is pretty critical of another awards show being added to the TV rotation.

There are a few ways to look at the Hollywood Film Awards. We can be all down on the fact that it means another Hollywood awards show. Daniel D’Addario of Time magazine feels that way, as he wrote that the HFAs are just awards season spinning out of control. Tim Gray of Variety also shared the skepticism, and delved into who actually is voting for winners. (Spoiler alert: it's not very clear.) So, what's the verdict? Is the airing of the HFAs a way to get celebrities gathered in front of us common folk, or a fun Hollywood awards show hosted by Queen Latifah that we finally have access to?

Well, the HFAs website's homepage is plastered with the celebrities who are scheduled to attend. The Academy Awards don't have to tell me the big-name stars who will be there, because I just know they're gonna be there. The HFAs main news articles just cover the stars who will be attending and who has attended in the past. And although the list is impressive (including Angelina Jolie, Amy Adams, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Channing Tatum), I wish there was a little more substance to the awards.

I mean, why do we turn to shows like the HFAs anyway? I often compare awards season to large sports events. Besides just enjoying them, there is the allure of seeing famous people doing things live. Anything could happen! (As Sarah Silverman proved at the Emmys.)

I also compare stars to the popular kids in high school. We are all aware of their comings and goings and sometimes gossip about them — even though we don't know them at all. And awards shows let us see them in another light. (Like, OMG, did you see Brad and Angelina share this tender moment?)

And the HFAs will definitely provide us with some interesting fodder, as shown by Sandra Bullock's speech last year at the ceremony. But the real reason I watch awards shows, besides my love of famous people, is for the actual movies. For the last three years, I've made an effort to see every movie nominated for an Academy Award before the show (which is really hard, since up to 10 movies can be nominated now!). So, the Hollywood Film Awards should try to promote the films (it is in the name after all) that they will be awarding — and not just the stars.

And with loose categories like Hollywood New Hollywood Award and Hollywood Career Achievement, we are bound to be entertained, even if not in the same class as the Oscars. But at this point, I think I can safely say the main purpose of the HFAs is just to watch celebrities schmooze each other. So if you love watching celebrities brush elbows and accept awkward awards (no shame, people), the HFAs are your show.

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