Considering the Academy has just released their (unsurprisingly) white and male dominated nominations list earlier this week, I thought it was important to add my own solution to this controversial public arena – the death of the award show.
In this evolving technological age where the degree of subliminal consumption of creeds, ideologies, fantasies, and narratives would make Don Draper cum in his trousers, the public’s ownership of this media it consumes calls into question any authoritarian bodies that wish to mandate their opinions take place higher on the entertainment hierarchy than those of the avid home-viewer. However, as institutions continue to try and control audience taste through paywalls, the democratizing force that is the streaming world refuses its attempts to do so.
Despite awards shows often being grandiose and status-driven, historically they’ve served as points of connection between the film industry and the audience that paid to view it. In a period rife with unemployment and economic destitution, the American public had limited opportunities to connect to the people behind their beloved screens. Thus, awards shows not only legitimized a fantastical market by given it status but they also helped engender future sales.
Contemporary America is not so ruled by these machinations. With the democratizing factor that is invasive technology, the secrecy of the entertainment industry is no longer as apparent. Even the most amateur of filmmakers can watch a few Youtube videos and create their own deliciously crafted short-films. This coupled with the ever-increasing accusations against industry magnates for sexual harassment, embezzlement, education scandals etc… awards shows no longer hold the same glamour that they once did.
In fact, we currently bear witness to the slow dissolution of these awards shows as they try to adapt to this unstable terrain which asserts accountability before entertainment. In 2020, The Academy Awards will go without a conventional host for another year in a row and the most recent edition of the Golden Globes mistakenly relied on a previously successful veteran host to crank out jokes which would have been better served at the start of the previous decade.
Perhaps I’m being too critical of a night meant to be lighthearted and beautiful. Or perhaps by attacking the awards system, I’m circumventing having to navigate and comment on the complicated social issues rampant in the entertainment world. Either way, declining viewership and increasing participant ambivalence only helps prove my point that the season of the awards show is almost at an end.
Here’s to having 2020 be the death-date on the tombstone of the awards season.