In 2001, a bunch of friends -- many who were part of the Cosmique Krewe of Colour, a private Mardi Gras krewe in the San Francisco Bay Area -- decided at an Academy Awards party to have our own movie awards. Ballots were handed out for attendees to vote on their favorite movies, performances, performers, characters, and movie scenes. As this was the inaugural year for the awards, we decided that a fair amount of catching up was needed, so the nominations that first year were open to films of all time, rather than those released that calendar year.
Categories ranged from the serious (like Best Movie of All Time) to the rediculous (like Most Surprising Performance by an Actor or Actress That You Never Thought Was Very Good, but They Really Surprised You With This Particularly Good Performance). We likened it to blending the gravitas of the Academy Awards with the irreverence of the MTV Movie Awards.
Subsequent years have focused on films released the previous calendar year (with the exception of a few lifetime achievement awards each year).
Since the first year, membership has grown to scores of members. The membership list is kept confidential and admission is by invitation only. Members of the Academy come from all walks of life, but share a certain sensibility. Most of the members (but not all) are in San Francisco. They are disproportionately (but by no means exclusively) gay, lesbian, or bisexual. They are primarily (though not completely) disassociated with the film industry, except as fans. Membership is restricted, but there are no membership fees. Members are not expected to see all of the potential or actual nominees, though many make a point of doing so. The Cosmos operate under the philosophy that what we choose to honor is as much about what draws us to the cinemas as it is about what we liked when we got there.
Each year, the Cosmique Movie Academy's Board of Governors selects the categories that will be used that year. This may include creating new categories or, in rare instances, retiring others. Each year, another film, actor, and actress is inducted into the Hall of Fame. In some years, additional lifetime achievement categories may also be offered from time to time, usually as a special one-time-only award. But most of the awards are dedicated to films and performances from the previous calendar year.
After the awards celebrating films from 2006, the awards went dormant for a time. We're back! We're ready to celebrate the films of 2010, so head out to the theater and keep notes! And we're hoping to recruit more like-minded voters.