A general view of atmosphere during the People's Choice Awards 2012 nominations press conference at the Paley Center for Media on Nov. 8, 2011 in Beverly Hills, Calif. Anyone -- as in normal fans -- can vote to choose the winners in this awards ceremony. - 

Steve Chiotakis: The People's Choice awards are tonight. Not quite the Oscars, but there's usually a little buzz that goes on around it. A lot of folks in Hollywood, though think the People's Choice ceremony is all about TV ratings -- and not much else. So who are the people voting on the awards?

Sally Herships reports.

Sally Herships: To understand exactly how un-important Hollywood thinks the People’s Choice Awards is, all you have to do is talk to Steve Pond. He’s awards columnist for the Hollywood website The Wrap.

Steve Pond:  I’m absolutely immersed in awards season right now, and I had no idea it was even going on.

But so far 230 million votes have been cast in the People’s Choice Awards. So who are these people?

Max Dawson: The people ostensibly are us. We the people.

Max Dawson teaches film at Northwestern.

Dawson: The same sort of amorphous, unidentifiable public from which the Nielsen audience is drawn or the three out of five people who prefer Pepsi over Coke.

Dawson says these voters are not film buffs – they’re fans. The kind of person who has an entire room at home dedicated to Tom Cruise. In the People’s Choice, fans can vote as many times as they want -- all they have to do is go to the website and click away.

Dawson: And that’s why the people’s choice awards are generally dismissed and derided by the critical community.

But big Hollywood studios like the awards. Dawson says that’s because the people choose blockbusters. Red carpet photo opp anyone?

I’m Sally Herships for Marketplace.