This story first appeared in the Jan. 11, 2013, issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
The ancient pagans celebrated the winter solstice to mark the changing of the seasons, but on the awards calendar, that function is served by the Palm Springs International Film Festival, which opens Jan. 3, with Pablo Berger's Blancanieves, and runs through Jan. 14.
Its gala Jan. 5 allows a fresh crop of Oscar hopefuls to strut their stuff in advance of the Academy Award nominations, which will be announced Jan. 10.
That's nearly two weeks earlier than the noms were unveiled in the past -- the Academy moved its early-a.m. ritual forward on the calendar to get in front of the 70th Golden Globes, which will take place Jan. 13. And that, in turn, has created a veritable nominations logjam during the first days of January.
On Jan. 2, the Producers Guild of America will announce nominees, followed by the Art Directors Guild the next day and the Writers Guild of America the day after that. The National Society of Film Critics holds its annual vote Jan. 5.
On Jan. 7, the Visual Effects Society jumps into the pool with its noms, and the New York Film Critics Circle holds its annual awards dinner. The Directors Guild of America will unveil its nominees Jan. 8, followed by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts on Jan. 9.
And on Jan. 10, prepare for a long, long day that begins with those Oscar announcements and concludes with the Critics' Choice Awards.