Sometimes more awards can stimulate activity and almost 'refresh' a festival or competition.
The venerable annual inter-club 'South Yorkshire Amateur Film Competition' had since it's inception more than 50 years ago the single award - the 'winning' film walked away with the shield on behalf of their club, everyone else walked out with nothing. Last year one of Sheffield Movie Maker's more forthright members managed to get the participating clubs to agree to additional awards. The competition rule (which was not changed) allows a programme of films from each club of up to 20 minutes; there could be any number of films within that time span, of any subject matter. But what appeared to be happening was this: 'clubs' would enter their best film as part of the 20 minute programme for their chance of winning, and not really care too much about the remainder of the programme. So audiences often found themselves sitting through a fantastic 5 or 10 minutes, and 10 or 15 minutes of 'filler.' Multiply this by a potential five times (five clubs are currently active in the competition) and the seeds for a very long night were sown...
So - the 'extra awards' idea was accepted. In addition to the coveted shield for best film, there is now an award for 'highly commended' or runner-up (giving the clubs a second chance at an award) as well as an award for 'best club programme' which was designed to reduce the possibility of 'one killer, three filler' programmes from clubs. Sheffield Movie Makers also brought in the idea of a judge from 'outside the area' of any of the clubs (so the chances of the judge having seen the films before in any other inter-club competitions would be reduced) as well as pre-judging by submitting the films to the independent judge one week before the competition as opposed to judging on the night (which must've been an absolute terror of a job!)
In my opinion the standard of films presented on the night has gone up and there is certainly less 'filler' than before. Clubs feel 'refreshed' and possibly a little less under pressure or disheartened because they now have three chances of walking away with a prize instead of just one, and attendance figures remain healthy and are on the increase.
Sorry if it's slightly off-topic, but I think if the number of awards is in keeping with the status of the competition then that must surely be right. All that remains is to decide what is the correct number