Give awards for things from a starring role in a movie to perfect attendance at school. When you are having a show to present awards to people, a theme makes the night more special because people dress up and get involved with the theme.
Plan a Hollywood themed awards show. You can go either old Hollywood, like in the 1930s, or new Hollywood. Either way, you need some essential things. There must be a red carpet. This is how all people walk into Hollywood award shows. Also, have "paparazzi" on hand. Have camera men walking around all night taking picture of the guests, especially when they are walking in. Everyone should dress formally. In this theme, when you give out the awards, do so in a Hollywood manner, with someone opening an envelope and pulling out a card with the winner's name on it. Shape the awards like little Oscars as well.
A casino awards show is a lively, upbeat atmosphere that gets everyone excited for the awards. Have poker and blackjack tables set up so that people can go to the tables and gamble. If gambling is illegal in your state, then give people some chips to play with when they walk in. Neon lights and cocktail waitresses are a must to pull off this theme. When it is time for the show, usher people to their chairs and then let them return to the festivities after the show. This theme doubles as an after party. To hand out the awards, have a large slot machine set up on stage that flashes the winner's name when the host pulls the lever down. This may take some time to build and test out prior to the show, so make sure you have allotted the time.
A tropical theme requires lots of planning but will pay off. Make sure you are at a venue with lots of plants, or have a way to fill a room with palm trees, ferns and other tropical plants. If possible, have some live animals, like monkeys and parrots, at the event. If the awards show is for a wildlife organization, this is the perfect theme. For a tropical event with live animals, have a monkey deliver the envelope with the winner's name inside and present the award, if possible. Or, if your event has no animals, have the awards and the winners' names set up on different parts of the stage (for example, on rocks and hanging from trees). Decorate the the stage as a tropical oasis no matter which method you choose.
A Mardi Gras theme means lots of music and celebration, which is perfect since the night is to celebrate the winners. Give people masks they can wear, or have them bring their own. Hand out Mardi Gras beads, and have a dance floor where people can dance the night away. For the show, decorate the stage with green, purple and gold, as these are the typically Mardi Gras colors. To hand out the awards at this type of event, have the band write a short melody to accompany each of the names. For example, you say, "The winner for most valuable person is..." and the band plays a melody that says, "The winner is Jane Jones." Have a screen flash the name behind the band as well.