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The Definitive Ranking Of Awards Shows

There's much more to it than glamour and trophies.

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Awards season is an exciting time. Once the holidays are over, winter seems like a long stretch of gray and cold, and several Sundays throughout January and February, we have Hollywood things to look forward to! As we all race to the theaters to check Oscar-nominated movies off our lists, fashion fans are gifted seemingly endless red carpets to scrutinize. No matter what may or may not be true behind the scenes of sometimes "scandalous" shows, a few things are certain: celebs show up, they wear things and they love when people watch them win awards. Also, nothing makes a celeb seem “more like us” than a live show where anything can happen!

Here, I rank them because awards should win awards, too!

14. The BAFTA Awards


These are pretty much only on the radars of the awards-obsessed because they take place across the pond and aren’t televised in the US. They are important in the UK, though, and are another opportunity for celebs to dress to the nines. Because of this, they count, but not enough to register as very important on the scale.

Awards: reputable

Fashion: Almost Oscar-worthy, and lately much more interesting than the Oscars!

Buzz: almost nonexistent

Overall: meh, catch up on the fashion online

13. People's Choice Awards

Vince Bucci/Invision/Associated Press

In the days of yore, when I had full faith in the honesty of all Hollywood advertised, I used to love this awards show thinking the winners were really chosen by “the people.” In jaded adulthood, it seems more and more like an opportunity for the network to advertise its programming and to get some celebs back into conversation. Either way, lots of celebs of all kinds show up, and USUALLY (although it wasn’t this year) it’s the first awards show of the year, so nothing can deter me from being excited about that.

Awards: questionable and randomly assigned at best, but that makes it fun!

Fashion: lots of variety and a chance for a bit of fun

Buzz: moderate

Overall: if you have nothing else to watch on a Wednesday night in January....

12. The Grammys


I know listing one of the components of EGOT so low seems crazy, but hear me out. This is a music awards show that has fashion restrictions for the red carpet. Musicians are the craziest dressers! Free the musicians! Meanwhile, a lot of the musical performances are duos you didn’t ask for and drawn out spectacles that you wish you could fast forward. It's not great when the most famous point of reference is J.Lo's gown from the year 2000. Before this year, LL Cool J hosted for five straight years, which became hard to get excited about. Basically, it has all the makings of something that should be an exciting parade of eccentricity and live versions of your favorite music, but it’s given the toned down treatment you don’t get on cable and it feels like something to hold us over on a Sunday between the Super Bowl and the Oscars.

Awards: the most reputable in music, for sure

Fashion: you never know what to expect

Buzz: decent

Overall: Have it on in the background

11. The Academy Awards


I know this all around fave is expected to be higher on the list, but I just can’t get there. Although it’s the most popular and prestigious awards show in the US, that heavy reputation has taken the fun out of it. Fashion has become boring, both out of fear of landing on worst dressed lists and wanting to win in a dress that will produce iconic photos. Like Christmas, many pop culture fans are sick of the hearing about the movies and actors once the Oscars FINALLY roll around, and most of the nominees are so nervous that the vibe of the night feels muted. What used to be THE night is now the end of a long exhausting string of press appearances, red carpets, more fun awards and so many expectations.

Awards: the most prestigious, but often plagued with controversy

Fashion: glamorous but generally conservative as of late. It’s no longer a night for risk-taking

Buzz: always high, starting with film festival season in the fall before the awards

Overall: Watch with excitement but low expectations. Fill out a ballot!

10. Film Independent Spirit Awards


These are the Oscars' more fun younger sibling. They always take place the Saturday morning of Oscars weekend and they’re by the beach in Santa Monica! They are televised and usually get a fun, unexpected host. Normally there’s a lot of crossover in nominations with the Oscars, but because they are celebrating indie filmmaking, films that don’t get a lot of commercial love get recognized, which is nice to see. Often, they are great indicators of who is likely to take home an Oscar. Also, the beachside, daytime nature of the show makes the carpet more of a fun appetizer for the Oscars gourmet entree the next day.

Awards: reputable and thoughtful

Fashion: fun, often beachy and usually comes with sunglasses

Buzz: not a ton but it’s growing

Overall: worth a watch for the movie lover, since you’re probably still in bed at 2PM on Saturday in February anyway

9. Spike Guys Choice Awards


Although there are a lot of problematic things that come with something called “guys choice,” namely some blatant objectification of women disguised as respect, there is a lot of entertainment that comes with a less laced up show on cable. Female celebs who are fan favorites but aren’t normally included in traditional awards circuits get recognition (and show up) and everyone seems to have a great time. They’re funny and relaxed. It’s like a Howard Stern interview compared to a late night talk show interview on a network.

Awards: just for fun

Fashion: usually short, tight and the celebs look a lot more comfortable than other carpets

Buzz: not much more than some background noise, but worth a DVR (they’re pre-recorded)

Overall: Definitely fun summer weeknight watching. A nice change of pace in the awards world.

8. The ESPYs

Kevin Mazur / Getty Images

The ESPYs bring together celebs, athletes, and celebs of the sports world for a night honoring people who do amazing things. Celebs get criticized a lot of times for getting awarded for a high paying, "cushy" profession, but athletes put literal blood, sweat and tears into their success. Bringing these people together in a glamorous setting to honor their work feels right. They have thoughtful categories and often honor people who make breakthroughs in the industry and are true heroes and icons to millions of people. For those of you who aren’t sports people, this is an easy way to digest the biz.

Awards: mostly just for show/publicity but the nominations highlight deserving people and they are as legit as they can be

Fashion: Not what you come for. Weirdly, the men usually look much flashier than the women

Buzz: more than you’d think. It brings together different audiences

Overall: worth your time to get a year in sports Cliff’s Notes

7. MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs)

Frank Micelotta / Getty Images

Now we’re getting to the juicy stuff. The VMAs are everything you want the Grammys to be. Nutso fashion, insane stunts and people generally not giving a s*** what other people think. Remember Madonna and Britney kissing? What about Miley Cyrus’s nearly naked WTF performance? Both VMA treats. There are so few surprises left in this world, why not see what this show has to offer?!

Awards: negligible but decently thought out

Fashion: insanity

Buzz: not as much as in the aughts but enough to merit the possibilities

Overall: channel your inner TRL-loving teen and give it a watch

6. Critics' Choice Awards

Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic

Though not as exciting as other cable offerings, these are generally an answer to your “why do the same movies get nominated over and over?” frustrations. I always like to see what the critics think about the year’s releases, and many times movies that don’t get awards love are recognized here. It’s like Oscars “for the people." They’re more relatable and much less pretentious, although the quality of the productions they are honoring is just as good.

Awards: legit, although generally ignored by academy voters

Fashion: usually more interesting than the Oscars, but still elegant

Buzz: nearly nonexistent for the non-awards obsessed set

Overall: Tune in if you need movie recs for the winter

5. The Tonys

Theo Wargo / Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions

This is one of the most old school shows, but it delivers in so many ways. For the most of us who can’t just take a trip on down to Broadway, we get live performances of what is nominated for context. This shows us the underrated stage talent who deserve all the awards. The host tends to be multi-talented and the evening is all around entertaining. Broadway always deserves its day in the sun, and in June, it gets one.

Awards: extremely legit, if not a little riddled with the problems of the Oscars

Fashion: not the best, but refreshing to see what Broadway stars can bring to the carpet

Buzz: pretty much the only time Broadway gets any nationally except for Hamilton situations

Overall: devote a night to the great white way and feel inferiorly talented

4. The Emmys


"The Oscars of TV" are another great night, especially in the last 10-15 years of truly amazing TV that has given film more than a run for its money. Although frustrating now that there is so many good performances and so few categories, it’s always a fun night. TV stars show up in their Sunday best, but it doesn't feel as pressure-packed as at the Oscars.. The pretension that exists in the film industry isn’t there, and the actors seem to take everything a little less seriously this night. It’s the first “real” awards show since the Oscars in February, so people are READY for some red carpet glamour to hold them over until the Globes January.

Awards: The most legit in TV

Fashion: More fun than Oscars, but not the best carpet of the year

Buzz: lots, especially now that people care about TV

Overall: Must-watch

3. MTV Movie Awards

Getty / J. Merritt

Just like the VMAs, this show brings a lot of fun to celebrating movies, and a lot of times it’s the movies you want getting some love. Remember the Rachel McAdams/Ryan Gosling kiss the year they won “best kiss” for The Notebook. If not, search the clip immediately, it's great. Forever a greatest moment in awards show history, and all thanks to the MTV Movie Awards. It comes once awards season fatigue has worn off and we’re all craving another Hollywood gathering, but this one is casual. Big stars usually show up to this, and the awards categories are a lot of fun.

Awards: debatable legitimacy, but always fun

Fashion: Not as crazy as the VMAs but favorite celebs are often dressed down for it

Buzz: again, not as prominent as in the peak MTV era, but Instagram goes crazy for it

Overall: get some snacks and spend a few hours on the couch

2. Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards


These are my personal favorites because I love the concept of actors voting for each other. What’s a more legit judge of the art than that? Also, it mixes TV and movies which, to me, make for the best awards shows. These are always short and sweet, usually two hours, and celebs seem to take more risks with their fashion because there’s less at stake on this carpet. The downside of there being a fashion component for a smaller awards show is E! brings out the B team for the red carpet, which can be hard to watch. People are relaxed and excited to be there honoring each other. And I’m happy to watch.

Awards: pretty legit! Who can argue with an actor voting for an actor?

Fashion: usually not the most exciting but on par with other lesser carpets of awards season

Buzz: has grown in recent years but still a decently kept secret of amazingness

Overall: Set your DVR at least to see what you should be watching, according to actors themselves!

1. The Golden Globes

NBC / Via

Although an unlikely pic for “best,” the Globes are like that movie at the Oscars that wins best picture but didn’t win anything else the whole night. Separately, they are easy to dismiss. They aren’t the G in EGOT, although people mistake that a lot and the voters are the Hollywood Foreign Press Association which...who is that again? But the Globes combines TV and film again, and it’s the first major awards show of the season. It takes place a week or two after the new year and it is like the hype man for the rest of awards season. People have started to bring it fashion-wise (remember Lupita’s red Ralph Lauren cape dress?) and because the voters are not Academy people, a lot of times the winners are real wildcards. Gina Rodriguez won for Jane the Virgin after its freshman season, and Rachel Bloom won for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend the next year after its first season. This was a huge feat for the CW, unexpected by fans and all-around amazing recognition for amazing people on great shows. Also, after the series of Ricky Gervais-hosted years, they got creative with the hosts (Tinamy FTW) at a previously unhosted show, and everyone gets drunk which is what parties are all about!

Awards: often random but rarely undeserved

Fashion: A toss up but always worth the attention

Buzz: Usually high coming off a marathon fall of Oscar contender releases

Overall: What else do you have to do a few weeks after the new year?? Turn on your TV!!!

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