For movies, it's the Oscars. On Broadway, the Tonys.
And for the 140-member General Assembly here, it's the . . . .
Well, no one has come up with a fancy name yet, but the latest legislator ratings are out.
It's a survey in which lobbyists, state officials, reporters and legislators themselves rank the top performers on a scale of 1 to 10. The new results were published this week by The Virginian-Pilot and Ledger-Star of Norfolk, which last conducted the survey in 1981.
While the survey can -- and frequently does -- show up in election campaigns, it's not taken all that seriously by many legislators, especially those from Northern Virginia.
"I just hate it," muttered state Del. Gladys B. Keating (D-Fairfax), who was ranked No. 48 among the 100 House members this year.
Keating said the ratings don't fairly assess "the quiet workers," but said she didn't believe she had to worry because "I'm in the upper half."
No Northern Virginia delegate made the top 10 in the House and only two of the region's eight senators -- Joseph V. Gartlan Jr. and Clive L. DuVal II, both Fairfax Democrats -- scored in the top 10 in that chamber.
Two Northern Virginia Republicans occupied the bottom of the lists: in the House it was Gwendalyn F. Cody of Fairfax and for the 40-member Senate, it was John W. Russell of Fairfax.
"I'm a conservative freshman," said Russell, who along with many other Republicans boycotted the poll this year because they say the majority Democrats don't play fair. "I lose 32 votes Democrats before I sit down," Russell said. "I feel it's an honor to be number 40. If they rank me below number 40, I'd be home."
Four of the bottom 10 delegates were Fairfax Republicans, who have the three-strikes problems of being (1) in the minority party, (2) freshmen and (3) being from Northern Virginia -- not the best-loved portion of the state in Richmond power circles.
Asked about the poll, Cody shrugged before going into a meeting.
The lowest-ranking House Democrat from Northern Virginia was Floyd C. Bagley of Prince William, who placed 59th. The lowest senator was Charles L. Waddell of Loudoun (27th).
The top spots for Northern Virginians (see accompanying chart) went to longtime Del. Dorothy McDiarmid of Fairfax in the House, where she ranked 11th. In the Senate, Gartlan ranked No. 7, just ahead of DuVal, who was 8th.
Overall, it was no surprise that House Speaker A. L. Philpott of Henry County was rated most effective in the House, while Sen. Edward E. Willey of Richmond, who as chairman of the finance committee controls all the money in the Senate, was rated No. 1 there.
Despite the Republican boycott, two Northern Virginia GOP members did score well. Del. Vincent F. Callahan Jr. of Fairfax, the House minority leader, was rated 18th, a score good enough to beat out all other Northern Virginia house members except McDiarmid.
Callahan brushed off the poll, saying reporters and lobbyists could largely be honest in their responses, but it would be more difficult for legislators themselves. Did he look at it anyway? "What do you think?" he replied.
Democrat Bernard S. Cohen of Alexandria, who has seen his rating go from 84th to 32d since 1981, said at first he tried hard to put aside biases. But "one year Republicans gave all Republicans 10 and Democrats zero, and they still reported the poll . . . ," Cohen said. "Now I'm less generous with some of the Republicans because I know what some of them did to us."