Award Shows Are a Joke
February 16th, 2023
The 65th Grammy Awards was held two Sundays ago, and though there were some memorable moments, this year’s Grammys highlights several ongoing issues with award shows. Awards shows are on the decline. Ceremonies that used to pull in millions of viewers are dying from low ratings and greater cultural irrelevance. From a lack of diversity to an inability to entertain, this is why awards shows have become a joke.
Let’s start with the Grammys. Harry Styles’ Harry’s House beat out Beyoncé’s revolutionary Renaissance album for Album of the Year, the most important award of the night. Although Beyoncé became the most-awarded artist of all time in this same awards ceremony, it still felt like a racist snub. This was the fourth time she had been nominated in this category and lost. This is only the latest upset in awards show history when undisputedly great work by non-white artists has been overlooked for the “safer option.”
The Oscars have suffered this same problem. The #OscarsSoWhite hashtag was first tweeted in 2015 by activist April Reign to call out the lack of diversity in the Academy Award acting nominations. The Academy Awards have tried their best, with Parasite winning Best Picture in 2020. However, even minor triumphs such as this have not erased the feeling that award show committees are too exclusive and need to be more diverse.
A lot of voters on these committees are also extremely biased in the voting process. Award shows seem increasingly less concerned with quality art and more concerned with who has the connections. Take the insanely expensive Oscar campaigns as an example. Sometimes, whichever studio spends the most money will win. The now-infamous Harvey Weinstein of Miramax encouraged a massive wave of Oscar buzz for Shakespeare in Love in 1999, with the film ultimately winning Best Picture over Saving Private Ryan.
Along with these issues, award shows are suffering from boringness. These shows range from three to nearly four hours in length and are filled with lackluster song performances and forgettable monologues. In truth, the only exciting occurrence at any of these shows in a long time was Will Smith slapping Chris Rock. It took Will Smith punching someone actually to make the Oscars interesting. While this spiked viewership momentarily, it also cost the Oscars its perceived glamor and respect.
This respect is only further declining with Covid-19, as Americans dealing with unemployment and illness seem less willing to sacrifice their time to watch award shows. Out-of-touch celebrities and vague messages of togetherness and unity seem even more painful and unaware. Celebrities cannot relate to the average person’s struggles. This was exemplified by Gal Gadot’s ill-advised “Imagine” video - people are not here for insincere sympathy from Hollywood’s elite.
To conclude, until these award shows fix their inclusivity problem and restore their sense of importance without being overly pompous, this downward trend in ratings and overall relevance will continue.