From AEE: Judging the AVN Awards- Best Actor Wins a $5,000 Watch

from – It might be the least-judgmental entertainment genre, but even the adult film industry has to be measured by a discriminating governing body.

Which is kind of a long way of saying that there is an objective beyond merely making and selling movies. The AVN Awards Show, set for Saturday night at Pearl Concert Theater at the Palms (the hotel’s virgin voyage for this particular event), separates the wheat from the chaffed.

I mean, chaff.

It’s hard not to think of the stretch in Boogie Nights, with Dirk Diggler sweeping all of the major awards for his major part in several popular movies depicted in that film. “We’re gonna keep rockin’ and rollin’ and makin’ better movies!” says Mark Wahlberg-as-Diggler, who then performs a karate kick.

But, in fact, the process in selecting those who are nominated and those who win is not so sexy, as AVN President Paul Fishbein says. It’s a tedious process, selecting the winner of the Oscars of Porn.
Paul Fishbein, AVN president.

“How’s it done? It’s simple. To start with, we review probably 2,000-3,000 movies a year, online and in print,” Fishbein said during a phone conversation Wednesday from his room at Palazzo. “That’s not including the ones not in release.”

From there, a collection of AVN staffers and freelancers wade through the material submitted in nearly 100 categories, ranging from Best All Girl Scene to Best Transsexual Release to Best DVD Packaging. More than 60 industry experts look over submissions in each category, cutting it down from hundreds in many cases to the final list of finalists (ranging from seven to 15 this year). The process takes at least five weeks after the material is sent to AVN. The deadline for review is September 30.

There are some rules, aside from sending the film or scene in before the Sept. 30 deadline. “It can’t be a compilation with an old scene,” Fishbein said. “People try to sneak those in, and we’ll have someone notice it. ‘Hey, I know her — she hasn’t been in the business in four years.’ ” Today, films must be time-stamped, so the “recognizing Trixee from 2001” quality is no so important.

Fishbein says the key to arriving at the best nominees is similar to any awards show — including the Academy Awards and Emmys. Experts need to be watching the category for which they are authorities.

“Experts on transsexual (scenes) judge transsexual. Anyone who has watched a lot of B&D (bondage and discipline) look at that,” Fishbein said. “I couldn’t tell you the best transsexual scene, but we have people who can.”

Some categories might have relatively few judges, but those judges need to be educated about the field.

“If you look at it logically, you’d have a lot more (judges) for girl-on-girl than, say, Asian titles,” Fishbein said, because there are a lot more girl-on-girl titles. And scenes, too.

Winners don’t receive much more than a trophy — glass and rectangular, with a black base, was the 2009 design — and a great boost on the resume. The two biggest individual winners, the Best Actor and Best Actress, receive a $5,000 watch (the actor) and an equally valued bracelet (the actress).

There are no “swag” bags given to the talent, like those presented at major award shows, and that’s too bad. Talk about a missed opportunity. But at the AVN Awards, just being there is its own reward.

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