Electricity & Lust

Have Awards Shows Lost Their Lustre?

Posted in Actors & Actresses, Awards, Column, Sam by Sam Unsted on February 16, 2008
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Right in the centre of the awards season within all medias, we are bombarded with constant images of filmmakers and artists winning and losing various awards. Within the film and music world, this often means a hefty rise in their business as films get the coveted awards season push. For many, it’s simply another chance to come out, get free goody bags and trot off home to wallow in disappointment. The question though is does anyone actually care anymore?

What was the key awards show of the season? Grammys? Oscars? Something more authentic like the DGA? Golden Globes. No doubt that of all the writer’s strikes many failings, it served to greatly portray the entire lack of need for the ceremony, for the glitz and glamour and pointless cattle market walk for the women and men to bask in their collective glory. The stories have become too strong for us to bear. The stories of $15,000 baskets of goodies for each nominee at the Oscars or Grammys. Could it be that in these days of heightened, post-Al Gore social conscience that we all feel a little bit sickened by it all?

I still very much enjoy the Oscars and, while the politics remain strong, the last couple of ceremonies have genuinely rewarded some superb filmmaking, with the deeply notable exception of Crash. Indeed, it seems their original policy of rewarding the best rather than biggest films has died out. It’s back to the days of the 1970s when challenging, politicised works enjoyed success. So it seems strange that so many dissenting voices should arrive at the Oscars door when it actually does great work.

But perhaps it isn’t so much the awards as indeed the tradition. The money and glitz, the collective arse-kissing and mutual gratification of the ceremony. The speeches that go on too long, the dresses that cost a couple of years of salary for normals, the moments when the Academy does try to say something, as with Crash winning. What was that saying? Few would place Crash above the elegant heartbreak of Brokeback Mountain, so why did Crash take it? A puzzle for the ages.

Maybe it’s these moments, when the Oscars starts to become more about occasion than art. Maybe, as an art-consuming race, we’ve become genuinely sick of brainless idiocy. This obviously isn’t fully true given the success of Meet The Spartans, but it’s a case to consider. Perhaps the lack of love shown to awards post-Globes has something to do with us growing as a race. Maybe, we don’t love Awards ceremonies any more not because they are pompous or irrelevant, but because we genuinely feel more could be done with the time and money. Maybe.

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