Award shows today are meaningless
There are the Emmys, the Tony Awards, the Grammys and the Video Music Awards. The Peoples Choice Awards, the Golden Globes and the Country Music Awards.
You pick a category, there is an annual awards show dedicated to rooting out the best of the best.
There is even the Kids Choice Awards, a youth-centric event that exposes children to the award show racket, starting them off young on the road to award show consumption.
Award shows are staples in the American television diet, but not for the right reasons.
The mother of all award shows is the Academy Awards, a four hour-long annual bout of watching the underdogs get crushed and the shining victors of Hollywood get crowned.
What was once a competition between only a handful of movies to celebrate innovation and creativity is now a battle royale to see who can win the most Oscars.
What do these shows have to offer us?
The entertainment value is indisputable. I mean, who doesn’t like watching celebrities interact with one another, behaving like real human beings?
This interest in other peoples lives has led to the creation of a stronger connection between viewer and celebrity, where the focus of these award shows are on the celebrities involved, more so than the films being commended.
Nicole Renna, a junior, believes that the Academy Awards are more of a celebrity showcase, rather than an homage to film.
“The glamor of [the Academy Awards] attracts people. They see these faces they have gotten to know because they see the same celebrities in movies, and that makes a connection or this fragmented idea of a connection with these people. To see them dressed up and get awards or almost get awards it is like you are cheering on a friend,” Renna said.
This connection is what drives people to viewing awards shows like the Academy Awards, no longer the achievements of modern film.
Also, despite the fact that the Academy Awards are fun to watch, these shows do little to recognize the honest best.
The only opinion that matters is that of a panel of movie critics while the voice and opinions of the millions of people who consume these films is ignored.
On top of that, it extremely difficult for these judges to pick a single best film when hundreds of films—films that could be the next Casablanca—are never nominated.
Elena Cussler, a senior, uses the Academy Awards as an idea of what movies are out there.
“The Academy Awards allow me to see what movies are good, and that are worth the time to go see. There is an assumption that these movies are good, merely based off of the fact that they were nominated for the Academy Awards,” Cussler said.
This is assumed by almost everyone, including myself, but the quality of a movie really depends on personal preference, not “critical excellence.”
All of the films that are nominated could be the best depending on how you are judging them, and what you are looking for.
There are some guidelines followed when judging a film, but there are some comparisons that simply cannot be made.
For example, let’s look at the winner for Best Animated Feature and the competition stacked against it.
The nominees for Best Animated Feature were The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Ernest and Celestine, Frozen and The Wind Rises.
The Wind Rises, directed by the world famous Hayao Miyazaki, is an animated movie for children and adults alike.
With heavy themes like mortality, conflict, sacrifice and disaster, one would think that this movie isn’t for sensitive eyes. But it is also a movie about inspiration, love and passion.
Frozen won the award (it is the second highest grossing animated film ever), but is a completely different style of movie than The Wind Rises.
In this case, the category of Best Animated Feature is too restrictive, where these two movies shouldn’t ever be compared by such arbitrary means.
This happens in many categories, categories that are outdated and need to be changed if the Academy Awards are ever to be representative of the best in film.
Exceptional films do deserve recognition, but the current system needs to be revamped in order to give credit where credit is due.