As a 45-year voting member of Screen Actors Guild—and a retired member of Directors Guild of America and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences—awards season, for me, is like a second Christmas. Late in December the DVDs, digital screening links, and invitations to in-theatre screenings begin to arrive. And suddenly, the phrase, “For Your ConsiderationDVDs of Darkest Hour, Big Sick, I Tonya, Get Out takes on new meaning; it triggers a frenzy of film and video viewing and considerable mental note-taking.

This year’s viewing period is turning out to be one of the best in quite a long time.

It seems as though there are more outstanding films nominated this year than in recent years past. And while the films are extremely diverse in theme and presentation, what’s really impressive is the breadth of characters represented and the strength of the actors who portray them.

And that makes the voting process ever so much more challenging. How do you compare the cast of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri with the cast of The Big Sick or Get Out or Mudbound?

How do you measure James Franco’s performance in The Disaster Artist against that of Denzel Washington’s in Roman J. Israel, Esq? Or, how do you gauge Judi Dench’s work in Victoria and Abdul with Saoirse Ronan’s acting in Lady Bird?

Honestly, I don’t know and I’ve been doing this every year for decades.

Sometimes, while watching, I make pencil-on-paper notes about a few films or performances. That’s always a positive sign for them. There are typically two or three or four films that I watch twice. If I watch a film a third time during the “For Your Consideration” period, I’m usually diving back in to watch the nuance of a particular performance.

Films that I’ve watched twice this year? The Shape of Water, Three Billboards, The Disaster Artist, and Darkest Hour. For the first time in a long time, I shut down one film after watching for about 45-minutes. With all due respect to Rex Reed, he’s wrong—I, Tonya has no redeeming qualities. It is a waste of film stock and a waste of my time.

And, speaking of time, I have a season of The Crown to watch. More later.

Here’s the 2018 awards calendar from this point to the Oscars:

January 20 – Producers Guild of America Awards
January 21 – Screen Actors Guild Awards
January 22 – Motion Picture Sound Editors Nominations
January 23 – Oscar Nominations
January 26 – ACE Eddies
January 26 – Society of Camera Operators Winners
January 27 – Art Directors Guild Awards
January 28 – London Film Critics Circle Awards
January 31 – Dorian Winners
February 1 – Gold Derby Film Awards Nominations
February 3 – Director Guild of America Awards
February 3 – Annies
February 6 – Women’s Image Network Awards
February 10 – USC Scripter Awards
February 10 – Satellite Awards
February 11 – Writers Guild of America Awards
February 13 – Visual Effects Society Awards
February 17 – American Society of Cinematographers Awards
February 18 – British Academy of Film and Television Arts Awards
February 18 – Motion Picture Sound Editors Awards
February 20 – Costume Designer Guild Awards
February 22 – Black Reel Awards
February 24 – Cinema Audio Society Awards
February 24 – Makeup and Hair Stylists Awards
March 3 – Spirits
March 4 – Oscars

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