Some 'lucky' people will be winning these come SundayBAFTA/Richard Hardcastle

Its on weekends like these that we seem to transform into magpies, attracted to the cinema to see any film that is nominated for a prominent award. They’re films that you can safely confess your undying love for since ‘critics’ who ostensibly know about films have deemed them to be “Outstanding!” and showered them with five star reviews. Yet, there’s always a few that get left behind when the hotly anticipated Oscar and BAFTA nominations are released.

Unsurprisingly, it would seem Gone Girl was flawed by its mass appeal, and thus it was tragically snubbed. Even more frustratingly was Ava DuVernay missing out on a Best Director nomination, for which she would have been the first black female to win. Then, clearly not quite everything was awesome for The Lego Movie, which missed out on the Best Animation nomination despite being surprisingly phenomenal. It seems that these awards are not the celebration of the pinnacle of cinema that they publicise themselves to be.

Whilst we are being hypnotised by the overpriced glamour of these red carpet extravaganzas, this sparkly pretence is concealing a level of hypocrisy that diminishes its credibility. Last year, the focus appeared to be weighted more heavily upon the staged Oscar selfie rather than the actual awards. To an extent, these ceremonies are more about ogling celebrities to decide who wore the best dress or had the shiniest hair and wondering whether the amount of Oscar nominations that Meryl Streep has will ever equate to the number of times that Jennifer Lawrence trips over in public.

As a result, the Guardian set up their very own Film Awards last year to focus the categories around the experience of actual cinema goers – the moments that truly got people talking. Readers and film critics alike helped to decide on the ‘Best Scene’, ‘Biggest Game Changer’, ‘Best Line of Dialogue’, ‘Best Film’ – which included foreign films and documentaries – and ‘Best Actor’ of either sex. This revolutionary approach to film awards highlighted the snobbery of the sensational soirées we are so accustomed to.

In many ways the awards do celebrate genuine artistry and give recognition for the films that transcend the mediocre. The Best Film category often provides promotion and recognition for lesser known but remarkable movies, with a prominent example being The Hurt Locker in 2010. For something as subjective as cinema, the nominees and winners are selected by a whopping 5,783 people in the Academy award voting committee as of 2012. This, however, is less impressive when you consider that a 2012 LA Times study found that 94 per cent were white and 77 per cent were male – this does not fairly represent the viewing population and explains a lot about the lack of diversity in the selection process. When you observe the winners, there is a definite sense of jingoism and self-indulgence. Some would say the BAFTAs’ outstanding British film category is unfair and futile, given that most films are created by people from all corners of the globe. Practically every year there is at least one Academy Award nominated film that screams “America is the greatest”, from Saving Private Ryan, to the incredibly protracted Lincoln, to this year’s American Sniper.

Equally, with all the voters being members of the film industry, there is a degree of bias and even whispers of bribery that occurs behind the cameras. This explains why so much rides on the person’s reputation and what level of respect they have earned during their career. Most importantly, many try to get ahead in the Award race through heavy campaigning and investing in more publicity. It seems that there are even a few routes you can take to win the best actor or actress award these days, and here’s the quick guide that most winners seem to adhere to.

Tactic One: Make some physically extreme changes to your body. We’ve seen Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto lose extreme amounts of weight in order to portray the emaciated AIDs victims and pharmaceutical suppliers, which won them both Oscars for Dallas Buyers Club.

Tactic Two: Do something surprising. This year Steve Carrell’s uncharacteristically serious role in Foxcatcher has been heavily praised, but my suspicions is that it would not have gained the recognition it has thus far if he weren’t so famous for being a comic actor.

Tactic Three: Aim to break a record. Either be extremely young or old, have an underrepresented ethnic background, be nominated a ridiculous number of times or copy Halle Berry and win the Razzie for Worst Actress in Catwoman in the same year as winning the Best Actress for Monster’s Ball.

But, if any of these approaches fail, then it is important to remember that those glittering Academy Award winning films are not the Holy Relics of pop culture that we consider them to be. Destined to leave every Oscar ceremony empty-handed for eternity is Leonardo DiCaprio, the American Sweetheart who has never won a Best Actor award despite being persistently nominated. Or, be wary when bringing up the 1994 Academy Awards, since some are still harrowed to this day about how Forrest Gump managed to run fast enough to beat The Shawshank Redemption and Pulp Fiction to the post. Many of the most esteemed film critics and directors cite Citizen Kane as the greatest film of all time, but it lost out to How Green is my Valley, a film about a hard working Welsh mining family, which is largely forgotten nowadays. Even The Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock himself, never actually won a Best Director Oscar. Yet, he’s still considered one of the most inspiring and significant directors since the dawn of cinema.

Why does it really matter that much? The outrage of a film or director not winning an award is often more memorable as a well-deserved winner. Moreover, a highly respected film is not necessarily the most fun to watch. For instance, Marvel Studios are only really recognised for their technical achievements, yet their films narrate truly imaginative tales that are relished by millions globally. Our annual award ceremonies have become so institutional that they will not change drastically any time soon, and the magnetic pull of one room packed full of the most revered celebrities is a fixation within our culture that doesn’t seem to be diminishing. Nevertheless, gradual steps towards introducing more diversity into the film industry will help broaden the range of films so that it becomes more representative. Despite the matter of who is the ‘best’ remaining a very personal one, I know I’ll still be following who wins what at the BAFTAs on Sunday!