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What Are the Golden Trailer Awards?

by Scott Kacsmar
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Golden Trailer Awards

Do not mistake the Golden Trailer Awards as America’s way of awarding its best trailer park communities. Maybe that would be worthwhile information to share, but the Golden Trailer Awards recognize excellence in what is becoming a lost art in the world of movie marketing.

Sure, in this social media era we get a teaser for a trailer now, but so much of the marketing these days is for established intellectual property. Creative minds in marketing do not get to work on as many original films as they used to. Even something like creating a great poster used to carry more reverence in marketing a film. Now the franchise the film belongs to, the name brand, does most of the marketing itself.

Ranting aside, a great movie trailer creates anticipation and builds hype by taking a film and compressing it into a 120-second video that shows enough to get people interested without giving all the magic away for free.

The 1979 trailer for Ridley Scott’s Alien is considered one of the best trailers ever as it expertly used sound to set the creepy atmosphere, and it managed to capture the tension of a sci-fi horror film without ever showing the titular extraterrestrial itself. Also, take note of the perfect display of the all-time great tagline “In space no one can hear you scream.” If an award show existed for trailers back then, Alien would have likely won an award.

The Golden Trailer Awards are celebrating their 25th year of existence in 2024, so we thought we would go over the history of one of the lesser-known awards shows out there before betting on it at top-rated sportsbooks.

The History of the Golden Trailer Awards

In the late 1990s, the Oscars became a noticeably long awards show for movies that covered everything from achievement in directing, acting, editing and writing to costumes, hair, makeup, production design, sound and cinematography.

However, there were no award categories for the marketing of the films with trailers and TV spots. Back then, when people went to the movie theater, they actually looked forward to the 5 minutes or so of movie trailers they’d see for interesting releases coming soon. That’s a lot different from sitting through 20 minutes of ads for sequels, prequels and reboots like we get today. But again, we’ll save the intellectual property rant for another day.

Sisters Evelyn Brady-Watters and Monica Brady took note of the lack of marketing awards, and they created the Golden Trailer Awards in 1999 to honor those hard-working people in the marketing of a film.

With the sisters’ industry contacts, they were able to bring credibility to the Golden Trailer Awards at the 1st ceremony on September 21, 1999. It was held in New York City and director Quentin Tarantino and others from Miramax were part of the jury of voters.

To promote the event, the sisters screened the nominated trailers from the inside of a gold-painted Airstream trailer at the Sundance Festival.

There were a total of 19 awards handed out at the 1st ever Golden Trailer Awards in 1999:

  • The Matrix was the big winner with 4 awards won for Best Action Trailer, Best Edit, Best Trailer in Show and Best Art and Commerce.
  • Run Lola Run won for Most Original Trailer.
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me won Best Comedy Trailer.
  • Good Will Hunting won Best Drama Trailer.
  • The Blair Witch Project won Best Horror/Thriller Trailer, proving this was a great year to start this award show with.
  • Cruel Intentions, with its taboo “let me manipulate this girl so maybe my stepsister will sleep with me” storyline, won for Trashiest Trailer.
  • Out of Sight won for Best Music.

There was also a special award to close out the 1990s decade with Best Trailer of the Decade. Se7en won the award, beating out Pulp Fiction, Dumb and Dumber, Face/Off and Fargo. What a decade.

Incredibly, the Golden Trailer Awards survived not being held in 2000 after a successful 1st ceremony. The awards then moved to Los Angeles in 2002. Some other famous jurors over the years include Ben Stiller, Benicio Del Toro and Glenn Close.

Like the trailers they reward, the most consistent trait about the Golden Trailer Awards is that it runs short – about 70 minutes – for an awards ceremony.

Broadcast History of the Golden Trailer Awards

The Golden Trailer Awards have always been available online. In more recent years, it has been broadcast on TV stations such as HDNet, ReelzChannel and Fox’s MyNetworkTV.

A wide range of hosts have hosted the Golden Trailer Awards over the years, including Dennis Miller (2003), Tom Green (2004), Sinbad (2008) and Wayne Brady (2016-17).

Types of Awards at the Golden Trailer Awards

While there were 19 award categories in 1999 for the 1st Golden Trailer Awards, there are up to 108 categories today. Many are obviously not included in the ceremony, but 108 winners will earn a Golden Trailer award.

We noted some of the awards from 1999 above as the movie trailers are usually split into categories for different genres, including action, comedy, drama, romance, horror/thriller and animation.

The “Best of Show” award is arguably the most prestigious award at the Golden Trailer Awards. Here are some notable winners for Best of Show:

  • 1999 – The Matrix
  • 2001 – Requiem for a Dream
  • 2002 – The Royal Tenenbaums
  • 2003 – About Schmidt
  • 2007 – 300
  • 2011 – The Tree of Life (also won Most Original)
  • 2016 – Spotlight
  • 2017 – Wonder Woman
  • 2019 – John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum
  • 2021 – A Quiet Place: Part II

However, since its inception, the Golden Fleece award is arguably the most anticipated award in each event. This goes to the trailer that gives a bad movie the most appeal, so that can be very interesting. Here are some notable winners of the Golden Fleece Award at the Golden Trailer Awards:

  • 1999: 8MM
  • 2001: Hollow Man
  • 2002: The Business of Strangers
  • 2003: Blue Crush
  • 2004: Northfork
  • 2005: White Noise
  • 2006: Into the Blue
  • 2007: Fur
  • 2008: Awake
  • 2012: Apollo 18
  • 2013: Hit and Run
  • 2014: The Fifth Estate
  • 2015: The Giver
  • 2016: Pixels
  • 2017: Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
  • 2018: The Meg
  • 2019: Serenity
  • 2021: Capone
  • 2022: The Matrix: Resurrections
  • 2023: Smoking Causes Coughing

Impressively, it is hard to argue with any of those movies being bad. But even a good trailer can at least make you want to see a bad movie (sometimes).

Still, the Golden Trailer Awards have expanded far beyond from just movie trailers, as we now have social media, viral campaigns and streaming services. There are awards for:

  • TV spots
  • Documentaries
  • Best Voice-over work
  • Best Digital
  • Most Innovative Advertising
  • Streaming-only awards
  • Best Viral Campaign
  • Best Promo for a TV Network
  • Best Posters
  • Best Video Game Trailers
  • Best Video Game Posters
  • Summer Blockbuster awards

There are many ways to get up to 108 award categories these days, but the Golden Trailer Awards ceremony still finds a way to finish within 70 minutes each year.

author avatar
Scott Kacsmar
NFL football picks are Scott Kacsmar's expertise, serving as his main focus. He has contributed to various sports websites and blogs, such as NBC Sports, ESPN Insider, FiveThirtyEight, and, JoeWager. Originating from Pittsburgh, Scott maintains a love-hate connection with the Pirates.

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