Editorial: Are Award Shows Necessary?

And the award goes to …

Whether you’re one of those who tune into the Oscars religiously, participate in a school award ceremony or only know about the Leonardo DiCaprio memes, awards are part of the society we live in.

But, why do people care? How does this person or group of people being awarded a shiny hunk of metal affect your life in any way?

Are award shows, or even just awards in general, a necessary part of the media and society?

Award ceremonies have been around for years with the first Academy Awards ceremony held on May 16, 1929.

Award shows also provide categories with which nominated works are analyzed. Pop culture analysts, Hollywood executives and regular Jane and John Does can look at the results and determine their conclusions.

Why did it take Leonardo DiCaprio 22 years to win an Oscar? Why did “Moonlight” win best picture at the 2017 Oscars? Why did Bruno Mars’ “24k Magic” win album of the year at the 2018 Grammys?

It not only comes down to individual taste, but how much campaigning the creators are willing to do to earn a nomination.

Studios, producers and even actors and musicians host events that seem like political elections in order to secure the nomination(s) they want for themselves or the project their names are attached to.

Netflix ran such a campaign for the 2013 Emmys.

Representatives of Netflix went door to door in neighborhoods where large numbers of TV Academy voters lived and frequently paid residents with either a six-month subscription to the streaming service, $50 donated to the Red Cross in that person’s name or an American Express gift card to put up yard signs for the shows “House of Cards” and “Arrested Development.”

That year they won three Emmys. It was all smoke and mirrors, as the winner was likely the show that was best marketed, but not necessarily the most deserving.

It’s more like Hollywood is giving themselves a collective pat on the back every time someone wins something. It’s like, “Hey good job doing what our system has trained you to do!”

So then why do people love award shows? It could be argued, with some merit that it is because people are irrational and see everything in life as a competition. If you are not first, you’re last, so we all gather around to vicariously take part in events where celebrities compete to see who will be crowned the champion.

Award shows, and awards in general, may not be necessary for society in the same ways that news broadcasts and televised government addresses are, but that does not mean that they do not provide part of the entertainment that our society seems to adore.

Story By
Carlee Jo Blumenthal

Cartoon By
Sam Sherrill