Awards season is generally reserved for the colder months of the year, that time between December and March when the Golden Globes, SAGs, Grammys and Oscars take place. But trophies are such a necessary part of the entertainment industry that they cannot — nay, will not — be limited to winter.
And that’s why the summer months also have their share of largely meaningless ceremonies designed to honor the achievements of the people who need the recognition most: Hollywood’s rich and famous.
“But how can an average person such as myself, who will never be nominated in the best onscreen dirtbag category at the MTV Movie Awards, keep track of all these summer award shows?”
With the following guide, of course.
(Note: Both the MTV Video Music Awards and the Emmys will take place this year in September, post-Labor Day. That’s why they aren’t on this list. It’s not because I’m still annoyed that “Friday Night Lights” didn’t win the Emmy last year for best drama or anything.)
The MTV Movie Awards: Sunday, June 3, on MTV
Significance of the awards: Providing a platform for various stars to promote their upcoming projects, and an annual excuse to make Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart behave awkwardly when they inevitably take best kiss honors.
Category to watch this year: Movie of the year, which delivers a YA phenom vs. YA phenom vs. YA phenom showdown between “The Hunger Games,” “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2.”
The CMT Music Awards: Wednesday, June 6 on Country Music Television.
Significance of the awards: They are “billed as country music’s first fan-voted awards show.” But the main purpose they serve is to add another layer to our preexisting confusion about the difference between the Country Music Association awards and the Academy of Country Music awards.
Category to watch this year: Oh, they’re all important. Because — did I mention this? — the CMT Music Awards are country music’s first fan-voted awards show.
The Tony Awards: Sunday, June 10 on CBS.
Significance of the awards: Honoring the very best of Broadway theater for 65 years. Or, to put it another way, reminding us of all the great musicals and dramas we are missing because we don’t have the time and/or money to haul our cookies to New York.
Category to watch this year: Best performance by an actor in a play, in which two of the finest thespians with three-word names — James Earl Jones and Philip Seymour Hoffman — vie for the prize.
The Daytime Emmy Awards: Saturday, June 23 on HLN.
Significance of the awards: Recognizing excellence among the daytime soaps that have escaped cancellation, as well as all the talk shows and other programs that are always on when we go to the gym on our days off.
Category to watch this year: Clearly it’s the outstanding preschool children’s series; I mean, “Super Why!” and “Sesame Street” have the edge from a teaching-us-how-to-spell standpoint. But they don’t offer the drama that arises in every episode of “Wonder Pets!”when it becomes clear that, once again, “there’s an animal in trouble” and that the problem is indeed “sewious.”
The BET Awards: Sunday, July 1 on BET.
Significance of the awards: They celebrate the work of African-American achievement in multiple fields, including music, film and athletics. Also, they provide an excuse for Beyonce to compete against husband Jay-Z in more than one category.
Category to watch this year: Music video of the year, in which Beyonce is nominated twice, so of course Jay-Z and his “Watch the Throne” partner Kanye West are also nominated twice.
The ESPY Awards: Wednesday, July 11 on ESPN.
Significance of the awards: ESPN’s big trophy show, which distributes prizes to high-profile athletes, who are joined at the event for no apparent reason by such Justins as Bieber and Timberlake.
Category to watch this year: Nominees haven’t been announced yet; they will be revealed in a nomination special in June, allowing ESPN to devote more broadcast time to promoting its own award show.
The Teen Choice Awards : Sunday, July 22 on Fox.
Significance of the awards: An awards show in which young fans vote for their favorite entertainers and athletes in a variety of categories. So it’s got the fan-voting element and the country music awards categories of the CMTs, plus the youth element of the MTV Movie Awards, plus the sports-world element of the ESPYs. AND all the trophies look like surfboards!
Category to watch this year: No contest: It’s the tough, tough battle for male hottie. If Ryan Gosling loses this to Bieber after that whole People’s Sexiest Man debacle, his ego may never fully recover. And then who’s going to save people from getting hit by speeding vehicles? Liam Hemsworth, who’s also nominated? Don’t think so.
The Do Something Awards: Tuesday, Aug. 21 on VH1.
Significance of the awards: Actually, these awards, although televised and often hosted by a celebrity, are not about celebrity at all. Instead, they give grants to people 25 and younger who are attempting to do good in their communities. So it’s impossible to write a snarky comment about them, really. This is the kind of awards show we need more of.
Category to watch this year: These aren’t about categories as much as finding out which semi-finalists go on to receive the largest grants. I’m watching the closest competitor we have to a D.C. local: Manyang Reath Ker of Richmond, one of Sudan’s Lost Boys who started the organization Humanity Helping Sudan in camps on the border of Sudan and Ethiopia.