Oscars vs Golden Globes vs Emmy Awards: Differences and Similarities

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The entertainment industry has become one of the most thriving and powerful in the world, cutting across cultural, religious, and continental barriers to grab the attention and interest of people, practically delighting everyone. It hardly matters what one’s entertainment preferences are. The industry has expanded to include a very vast range of activities and the music, film and television fields are only a few of the popular mini-worlds in the universe of entertainment.

While those who have carved out a career for themselves in the entertainment field, becoming musicians, actors and tv personalities are often rewarded with fame and wealth for their endeavours which have kept the world entertained, the best among them are from time to time, decorated with prestigious awards in recognition of their outstanding and excellent performance.

For musicians, the most prestigious awards to hope for include the Polar Music Prize, Grammy, the Billboard and of course, the Brit awards. The Oscars, Golden Globes, and Emmy Awards are the equivalents for actors, actresses and tv personalities. While it is known that the accolades are meant to recognize, celebrate, and honour excellence in the television industry; esteem both technical and artistic eminence in the film industry, it is quite common to find people confusing the awards for each other or debating which is the most prestigious. For these reasons, we have decided to set things straight by looking at the differences and similarities between Oscar, Golden Globes, and Emmy Awards.

As things that are difficult to grasp often have their origins in that which is easy, let us kick off by learning about how the awards came into existence – telling the tales from the origin would probably help you decide which of the accolades to regard as the most reputable. And most importantly, give you an insight into the similarities and differences thereof – which is the priority of this piece.

The Origin of Oscars

First and foremost, we have to specify that the Academy Awards is just another name for the Oscars. Keeping that in mind, the next thing one has to know is that the Academy Awards which has come to be regarded as one of the most famous and respectable trophies in the globe is a collection of accolades created and yearly awarded by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). Beyond the recognition of artistic and technical excellence in the film industry, the prime purpose of Oscars is to tender high approbation and honour for superb filmmaking accomplishments and ultimately, nurture excellence in all aspects of movie production.

Without a doubt, the AMPAS is the foremost world movie institution. With over 8,000 members from the cinema industry all over the world, the paramount purpose of the institution which came into existence in 1927 is to acknowledge, champion, and sustain virtue in all aspect of the activities revolving around the motion picture business.

It all started at the home of Louis B. Mayer who was the studio chief of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (M-G-M). The guest he hosted for a dinner conversed amicably about the need to have a global organization for the film industry. Shortly afterwards, big shots in the various branches of the industry were invited to trash-out the founding of AMPAS. After the organization was established, an Awards of Merit committee sprang up and eventually saw the birth of Oscars. It’s on record that the first Oscars ceremony happened on the 16th day of May 1929.

How The Golden Globes Started

Yeah, The Oscars have been around before the coming of the Golden Globes. The beginning of the latter has been traced to 1943. It is said that the Golden Globe Awards ceremony as known today started from the quest of a group of journalist to meticulously and factually inform the world about the things happening in the entertainment industry. Initially, it was all about a small group of foreign journalists based in Los Angeles forming a network to share information. Then, it metamorphosed into Hollywood Foreign Correspondents Association in the aforementioned year.

As the association gathered more members, it also accumulated differing sentiments which eventually led to a split. While the Hollywood Foreign Correspondent Association recognized outstanding achievements within the entertainment industry awarding the Golden Globes, the Foreign Press Association of Hollywood did the same by giving out Henriettas. But as fate would have it, sanity prevailed and the two organizations, sometime in 1955, came back together and decided to be identified as The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

Thus, like Oscars awarded by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence in the various branches of the movie industry, the Golden Globes is an annual award of merit bestowed by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association in acknowledgment of outstanding global achievements both in motion pictures and television.

The Coming of Emmys

Known today as accolades conferred by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences  (ATAS) in recognition of excellence in the diverse branches of television and broadband programming, the Emmy Awards came out of a mission to foster the cultural and educational benefits of television. Syd Cassyd has been extensively credited as the founder of the Academy. With initial discouraging outcome from his efforts to bring together those working in the television industry that just came into existence for the exchange of ideas on how it would best benefit the world, the man eventually got the attention of those who matter in the fledgling industry and founded ATAS.

At first, Cassyd refused the idea of handing out television awards. He believed it was trivial until the influential personalities he gathered to form ATAS compelled him to give the issue a second thought. He did, embraced the idea and the Emmy Awards was birthed. With that, the first Emmy Awards event was held at the Hollywood Athletic Club; that was on the 25th day of January 1949.

Today, the Emmy Awards has expanded, cutting across three major categories which include the primetime programming honour administered by the Television Academy and those handed out by its sister organizations – National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) and International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (IATAS).

From the foregoing, one can already identify the common attributes of the three awards and their unique features. Nonetheless, let’s further scrutinize their differences and similarities by examining when each of the awards ceremonies usually happens, the statuette that’s normally handed out, nomination and voting procedures for the awards and how the winners are respectively selected.

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Differences and Similarities

1. The Distinction in Timing of Award Events

The Oscars craze starts in the first month of every year. It’s usually common to find people analyzing the previous year’s activity in the motion pictures industry every January, speculating on what movie, actor or actress deserves to get a thumbs up from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. Oscars nomination usually comes towards the end of the first month of a year and is shortly afterwards, followed by the main event. While the 89th Academy Awards ceremony happened on February 26, 2017, the 90th is scheduled to take place on 4th March 2018. The event always comes in the 2nd or third month of a year.

Unlike Oscars, the Golden Globe Awards ceremony happens every January. As such, just as the 75th Golden Globe Awards which recognized outstanding feat in television and film in 2017 held on the 7th day of January 2018, one can expect the Hollywood Foreign Press Association to, in January 2019, honour those who attained uncommon accomplishments in both industries in 2018.

Owing to the fact that Emmys have various sister organizations that equally handout the Emmy statuettes to honour exceptionally good accomplishments in the various sectors of the television industry, the Emmy Awards are conventionally bestowed in different yearly events that are scheduled for different times in a year. For the most popular of the Emmy ceremonies which include the Primetime Emmy Awards and the Daytime Emmy Awards, the events are in most cases, respectively hold in mid-September and May or June of every year.

2. Statuette Dissimilarities

Thus far, we have been able to establish that the Oscars, Golden Globes, and Emmys are inherently seeking to identify and appreciate magnificent achievements in film and television. While Oscars is dedicated to movies and Emmys to television, Golden Globes is a jack of both trades. If you usually can’t tell what accolade – between the three covered here – an actor or tv personality is posing with, in a pic, here’s how to tell them apart:

The Oscar statuette which has been awarded every year since 1929, is a 13½ inches tall naked man that weighs 8½ pounds. Made of fine bronze, the Oscar statuette has a 24-karat gold overlay. Basically, the statuette is a knight standing on a reel of film and holding a crusader’s sword.

You can tell the Golden Globe statuette by its name – Golden Globe. In an effort to come up with a statuette design that would expressly show what the Hollywood Foreign Press Association stands for, it was suggested that the figurine should be designed to look like a shiny globe on a barrel-shaped stand, a golden globe that would represent the world.

Meanwhile, the Emmy statuette is that of a woman with wings holding an atom. The statuette which is now recognized as the symbol of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences’ celebration of excellence, was designed by Louis McManus, a television engineer. It is said that he modelled the statuette after his wife.

3. The Disparity and Sameness in Voting Procedures

The nomination and voting procedures of the awards are also a way to identify their similarities and differences. For Oscars, there are special voting rules for certain categories and, making nominations for Best Picture is open to all voting members. Nonetheless, the regular awards for most of the categories are typically nominated by branch AMPAS members of the categories. Nominations which usually kick off in late December, are done both manually with paper and through online. They will then be gathered by PricewaterhouseCoopers after which the nomination results are announced in mid-January. Thereafter, the final voting begins and are equally done through paper ballots or online voting. At this point, all the categories are made available for all voting member to vote on. PricewaterhouseCoopers again compiles the results. The winners are known to only two individuals from the multinational company until it’s announced onstage.

The Golden Globes nomination and voting procedures are similar to that of the Oscars but differ a bit. It starts with the filling of entry forms for TV programs and films deemed fit for the awards. The forms are required to be completed and returned to the HFPA as soon as possible. After this, the voting usually monitored by an accounting firm gets started. It begins with nominations and then moves on to the final voting stage. The voters are only active members of the HFPA. First, they will receive a mail containing the list of the films and tv programs that qualify for the awards. At this stage, the members are required to make nominations in all the categories.

Putting the nominations together, the accounting firm would provide a comprehensive nomination list which will be announced to the public. Following the announcement, the final voting will commence with a list of the nominees in each category again mailed to members for them to pick their favourite candidate. The accounting firm in charge will then collate the votings. As with the case of Oscars and PricewaterhouseCoopers, those who will receive the Golden Globes are known only to the accounting firm until it is announced at the Awards ceremony.

It is not entirely a different case for the Emmys where it all begins with determining the nominees. programs and individuals considered suitable for the awards are first submitted. For Emmys, it is possible for one to nominate himself if he thinks he’s eligible to get the recognition. Voting starts immediately after the submissions are made as voters are afforded the chance to pick out of the submissions, the ones they believe are deserving of the award in their respective categories. The voting members are made up of different groups representing the various aspects of the television industry.

What’s next? Ernst & Young Accountants count the ballot and come up with a list of the Emmy nominees which is normally announced in mid-July. Subsequently, the voters will vote in accordance with their groups, for their favourite among the nominees. The votings are done online and are expected to be cast not later than 28th August. Ernst & Young, after counting the votes, print the winners’ name, seal it up in envelopes and deliver it at the Emmy event where the winners will be announced and honoured.

4. Everything Else

Meanwhile, it is easy to individuate the Golden Globe from the other two if you dwell on its tradition of selecting children of super-famous celebrities to assist the Golden Globe event as Mr. or Miss Golden Globe. A common attribute of the awards is that they all originated and are based in the United States of America. The Globes and Emmys have more categories than Oscars but the later is commonly regarded as the most prestigious of them all. It is believed that this is so because Oscars voters are all members of the industry.

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A Comparison Table

OscarsGolden GlobesEmmys
Conferred ByAcademy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS)Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA)Academy of Television Arts & Sciences  (ATAS)
Bestow ForOutstanding filmmaking accomplishmentsOutstanding global achievements both in motion pictures and television.Excellence in the diverse branches of television and broadband programming
The Country of OriginUnited States of AmericaUnited States of AmericaUnited States of America


A knight standing on a reel of film and holding a crusader’s swordA shiny globe on a barrel-shaped standA woman with wings holding an atom
Event Time2nd or third month of a yearEvery JanuaryDifferent events, the major ones happen in mid-September and May or June of every year


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