Call For Comments: Why are award shows dumb?

From Mav: Last year, after our Oscars prediction show — and the actual Oscars — Hannah vowed that she never wanted to do another Oscars show again. So I was kinda surprised when she asked me about doing one this year. However, she did have a different direction she wanted to go. Instead of predicting the Oscars, she wanted to talk about why they’re stupid. I’ll let her get into her reasonings herself. But I was intrigued by the idea.

Let me start by pointing out that I love the Oscars. I still love the Oscars. I loved them before last year. I love them now. And inevitably, after they don’t do what I want them to do this year, I’m going to love them next year. I also love the Globes, the SAGs, the MTV Movie Awards, People’s Choice, Critic’s Choice, Image Awards, and the Razzies. I think they’re fascinating cultural artifacts. BUT… I also get why people are annoyed with them. If nothing else the Oscars, et al. are a constant reminder that other people don’t necessarily think the same way we do… and an inherent privileging of some people’s thoughts and values over others.

And they’re dumb. Conceptually, they’re just dumb. The entire point of art — any art from drawings to writing to music to movies — is that it’s inherently subjective. The meaning is defined as much by the consumer as the creator. Art is the very personal conversation that happens between those two parties when the media is viewed. It is ephemeral and impossible to really judge in any objective way because the combination of experiences that make each viewer’s consumption of the product is impossible to replicate across viewers. In fact, you can’t even replicate it for the same consumer. My enjoyment of a film is colored by the exact moment in which I see it and could be completely different if I see the film again at a different time, in a different place, with a different mood, with different people. And we know this. This is a fundamental and well established truth in the world of literary and artistic criticism.

So what have we done? We’ve said “fuck all that! Let’s score shit and give an award to the people who get the highest!” And since we can’t necessarily agree on how to score, we have multiple award shows. Each run by people with different ideas… different values. AND THEN…. we score the award shows and try to decide which of those are the best. None of it makes any sense. And I love it. I love that we can assess the shows and use them to look at a set of values and cultural mora… even in their ridiculousness.

But none of it ever works the way anyone thinks. In fact, I’d argue that the lack of acknowledgement that the system is entirely fictional, ridiculous and impossible to be objective is essential to it being able to work in the first place. The Oscars “work” because they are vested in pretending that they are somehow more important than the MTVs or PCAs. And in reality, they have the exact same inherent cultural value as the Razzies. None, and, therefore, all of it.

So that’s what we’re going to do this week. We’re going to talk about why they’re broken… why they’re stupid… why they will always be sexist and racist and classist and limiting… why people continue to chase them even though everyone knows that… and why I continue to love them. And whatever everyone else wants to talk about. What are your thoughts?

1 Comment and 0 Webmentions for “Call For Comments: Why are award shows dumb?”

  1. I think this is a conversation that needs to happen. I’ve met too many people who whole heartily align their opinions with either Box Office, Oscar status or Social Media instead of having their own opinion. Cause that requires thinking for themselves. I worked in a video store. It would boggle the mind what some people liked – until I matured enough to weigh people’s backgrounds and outlook. Plus, so many watch movies to kill time and not for art. Mav, this is a topic I could go on for ever with! Lol. Like you implied, the outcome of award shows can be predicted based on which award show it is and who controls/attends it.

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