Do Awards Shows Really Take the Prize?

While many of us are gearing up (or gearing down) for the end of the current cold season, those in the entertainment industry have been eager about a different type of season. This is a season that sparkles with glitzy dresses, shining smiles, and over-the-top extravaganzas. This is a season of celebration and commemoration. This is what Hollywood refers to as “awards season.”

Awards season provides celebrities, entertainers, and artists alike the chance to exhibit, showcase, and applaud each other for the year’s work in the form of small trophies and accolades. From the People’s Choice Awards at the beginning of January through the Academy Awards in March, the major awards events (including the Golden Globes, Grammys, Critic’s Choice and Screen Actor’s Guild in addition to the two mentioned above) flood our television screens. For those who can’t get enough, there are countless more.

All of the hubbub surrounding these awards merits the question: are they worth the hype? For the networks televising the shows, the answer is a resounding “YES!” The awards shows draw in mass quantities of viewers, with the numbers at record high this year for the shows that have aired thus far. It is simple to explain why the shows are so entertaining. Who doesn’t want to see their favorite celebrities donning tuxes and gowns worth more than we can imagine?

Amidst all of the hype however, lies a darker side to the glitz and glam. Besides, perhaps, causing an annoyance for journalists, the major awards shows often paint a one-sided picture of the industries they wish to highlight. For the film awards, this means a lack of recognition of anyone not a part of the “big five,” as I call it—writer, director, producer, actor, and editor. While the additional categories exist—cinematography, visual effects, sound design, music, and costume design (among fourteen others)—only the majors are broadcast during the events. This leads to the assumption and reinforcement, for the general population who does not know about film production, that these faces of films do it on their own, when in fact it takes teams of hundreds if not thousands or more to make a movie happen.

Music awards shows—most notably the Grammys—often marginalize the vastness of the art, only televising awards for best pop, rap, country, and R&B albums and records. Although they also award beyond these categories, the show often turns into a radio-love-fest, with the year’s top radio hits sweeping the televised categories and leaving one to wonder what happened to all of the other music.

While televised recognition is not necessary for appreciation of these forgotten categories, recognition is. I, too, love indulging in the fame and fun of the countless red carpets, but the shows should be viewed as merely a carefully crafted sampling of the talent that exists in the entertainment industry. So as you fill out your Oscar ballots and gossip about the Grammys, remember—‘tis the season for a broader appreciation of those who work to keep us entertained.

Lauren Witte, A14

Jan. 31, 2014