In a world where every year, every award show has to be better than the last, the Leo Awards have decided to remain exactly the same. Leo is your stubborn uncle who wears the same suit to his birthday brunch, but if it still fits, why cause a fuss if the old man is happy?
“I’m sorry if it sounds boring, but it’s working,” admitted event president Walter Daroshin with a chuckle.
But don’t mistake this lions roar for a yawn. By welcoming predictability, the Leo’s have created a pleasant environment that allows the stars to shine without being drowned out by a light show. It’s all socialization without the stress.
So here is how the night will go, as it has always gone this way before: the mingling, the dresses, the cameras, the host opens an envelope, reads a name, someone celebrates, pounces on stage to thank “the cat, the lawyer, the agent,” (according to Daroshin), there is a basic sit down dinner, peppered with entertainment and the nominees are treated with the utmost care and consideration.
“It’s our sixteenth year and we do this over and over and over again,” he said. So guess who makes it interesting? The exact people the evening is structured to honour. “With different hosts and nominees, who in their own way will celebrate, it’s more of the same but just with different content.”
In the wise words of Alanis Morissette – what it all boils down to, is that everything will be fine, fine, fine.
“We’re pretty good at what we do,” said Daroshin, “and what the Leo’s do is take pause, one weekend a year, and celebrate the artistic excellence within the community.
If that calls into question how art can be judged as a subjective medium, think instead of the buoyancy the weekend bash brings to the community. “I think it’s healthy for a community to celebrate itself,” explained Daroshin.
From the standpoint of community development, he goes on to say that we are a city of multi-cultures and yet our multitude of ethnicities don’t have much opportunity to interconnect, besides perhaps at a Canucks game.
“We give people an excuse to be together and celebrate as a group and a whole, and recognize that there is a bigger picture than our independent and self-interested parts,” said Daroshin. “I think these are important things, the artistic aspect and gathering in solidarity to celebrate ourselves.”
Because of the volume of entries (1,052 to be exact) the Leo’s have added 11 awards just by splitting the categories. When it comes to choosing the winners of those entries, a panel of 56 jurors deliberate nearly five weeks.
Daroshin explained that during the process of screening, they aren’t looking for the worst, but instead looking for what has been best realized as an effective influence. When horror lingers in the darkness like tension, when a heart aches during end credits, when anger seizes the soul like shackles, when the truth is shown through the eyes of an actor, this is what is realized. And that is the beauty of film and television; breaking the boundaries created between strangers under the guise of the make-believe to enlighten the real world.
“Sometimes I hear things like ‘I had a problem with this character, or my personal belief doesn’t allow me to support this film,’” said Daroshin, who ensures subjective decision making is discouraged. “But if it’s done well, you gotta appreciate it!”
That is what the Leo Awards celebrate, and there is no reason to change.
For all the nominees, visit leoawards.com and be sure to watch for Vancity Buzz on the red carpet, June 1.