We’re fast approaching the 78th annual Golden Globes and shortly thereafter the 93rd Academy Awards. In this blog, Oh Brother is positing whether or not we should even have such ceremonies. Certainly, it’s important to the bottom line of the film industry as award winning movies typically get re-released in theaters and experience a spike in DVD/Blu-ray/VOD sales. However, aside from actors, directors, and film crews, are film awards even necessary? What if instead of an award show we set aside an evening to simply celebrate movies? No “winners” or “losers’, no SWAG bags or “who are you wearing?” red carpet interrogations, but a shared admiration for the art. We’ve seen this play out with the introduction of “participation awards” for kids where it’s no longer about who crosses the finish line first, but rather celebrating anyone who shows up to try. That is not to say healthy competition is bad in all cases, but we argue the industry would be better served honoring all achievements in film as opposed to pitting filmmakers against one another for the sake of ratings and to churn the hype machine. Let’s examine a few specific reasons to support our argument.
First, there are simply too many award shows. In addition to the aforementioned Golden Globes and Oscars, there are the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards, the People’s Choice Awards, The BAFTA’s, Directors Guild, the MTV Awards, and the list goes on. Actors often earn bonuses based on nominations and wins because consumers are more inclined to spend money on movies that earn awards. Most of us will naturally pay more attention to a film receiving “Oscar buzz.’
Second, does anyone genuinely care who wins outside of the five major awards (Best Movie, Best Actor/Actress, Best Director, Best Screenplay)? Nothing keeps audiences on the edge of their seats more than anticipating who wins for Best Sound Editing in a Musical made for TV movie! Aside from the Big Five, Best Supporting Actor/Actress are the only others to garner attention. Our dad used to say if you watch the final two minutes of a basketball game you’ve seen the whole thing. We make the same claim when it comes to award shows. They start out with a big production followed by four hours of speeches thanking people we don’t know or more recently using the time as a political platform to espouse their views on causes near and dear to them. According to Wikipedia, ratings for the Academy Awards have been steadily declining for the past several years.
Also, given the state of the world today, is it necessary to put on display such glitz and glamour the majority of us will never experience? The pre-shows air for hours in advance on all of the major networks to ensure we don’t miss a moment of Ryan Seacrest inquiring about the latest fashion trends. I’m still trying to find that Bob Mackie dress at my neighborhood Super Target. Don’t forget the bling. Typically, the jewelry most actors wear is borrowed because on award night they’re relegated to nothing more than a walking advertisement for the fashion industry. Oh Brother!
Lastly, shouldn’t it be about honoring the art of filmmaking? We would much rather sit and watch clips from all the year’s films. We’re more than capable of deciding which movies we want to pay to see. Have a “Director’s Roundtable” where a diverse group of filmmakers past and present engage in conversation about their process and what goes into creating the images we see onscreen. Perhaps a James Lipton inspired segment where actors pull back the curtain and share stories about their journey into filmmaking. Let’s do away with the pomp and circumstance and bring into focus what really matters, the art of storytelling through cinema.
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