Although the only movie awards that Joe and Jane Public pay attention to are announced in Jan/Feb/March (just the Oscars and Globes, really), there are an almost endless number of film critic circles around the country that announce their "Best Of" lists in December. Generally they're reported and forgotten by everyone but the voters, though you can be sure that each award a film wins, no matter how small, will be referenced as part of an Oscar campaign.
You'll find this hard to believe, but just in the last few days alone, the Women Film Critics Circle, New York Film Critics Circle, Detroit Film Critics Society, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Boston Society of Film Critics, New York Film Critics Online, Broadcast Film Critics Association, Alliance of Women Film Journalists, American Film Institute, St. Louis Film Critics Association, Southeastern Film Critics Association, Indiana Film Critics, San Francisco Film Critics, San Diego Film Critics, Austin Film Critics Association, Toronto Film Critics Association, African-American Film Critics Association, Chicago Film Critics Association, and Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association have all announced their Best of 2009 award winners. And many more are on the way.
You might think is ridiculous. Heck, I think it's ridiculous. But then I wonder - where is the Twin Cities Film Critics Association?
The short answer is that it doesn't exist. So far as I know there is no organized group of "actual" film critics or even "wannabe critic" film bloggers (yours truly) in the Twin Cities. For a metropolitan area of this size, and for a mid-level film market of our caliber, and for a place that so strongly supports independent film, it's a little sad there is no official group to speak on behalf of the film crazies here. I mean no offense to the Hoosier state, but come on, Indiana has a film critics group?
Maybe it's just as well that Minneapolis-St. Paul lacks for one. People are pretty independent in their thinking around here and if the public opinion were represented at all, any movie with any kind of local connection - no matter how distant - would surely be an automatic winner (this year, A Serious Man, but also A Single Man). But it would still be fun to see what people "in the know" would vote for.
So I have mixed feelings about the situation. I'd be happy to be involved in a local voting group like this (in related news, stay tuned for the 2009 Muriel Awards, for which I am a voter), but I know it doesn't really account for much in the big picture. I suppose I could actually reach out to the critics and bloggers I know and try to organize just such an awards poll, but a.) that would require time I just don't have right now, and b.) I'm not even a film critic.