Truthfully, working in entertainment news is hard when it comes to awards season. This time of year, all anyone can talk about is nominations and snubs. Thoughtful commentary aside (like April Reign‘s #OscarsSoWhite), reading take after take on who should win and why makes my eyes glaze over after a certain point.
Awards season is tough to get through as a consumer of media, but as a commentator? Forget it. This time of year, there’s a whole new level of competitiveness in getting the best take before anyone else. The takedown posts are harsher and the fashion features longer. Although I’ll call myself a hypocrite in a month when the dust has settled and I’ve written at least four pieces pertaining to award season, I hate it.
The glamour wore off for me in 2008, when Atonement lost Best Picture at the Academy Awards to No Country for Old Men and I had to listen to boys at my high school tell me how “romances aren’t real films.” OK. Tell that to Shakespeare in Love, I guess.
At any rate, I’ve tried to break down why I hate award season so much. The reasons may surprise you.
The media hits all the wrong points
Remember last year’s Oscars, when Moonlight won Best Picture but Warren Beatty read La La Land off the card instead? Remember how shocked everyone was when the La La Land crew had to hand over their trophy?
There are flubs, and then there are flubs. Everyone spent so much time talking about how ridiculous this mistake was that no one touched on the important stuff, like how incredible it is that a gay black love story won against a straight white musical. Now the two films are forever linked because of “great live television,” and that’s so frustrating.
Celebrities are applauded for doing the bare minimum
Meryl Streep gave an anti-Trump speech at 2017’s Golden Globes that had everyone all aflutter. She was praised for her words even though she never said his name, and it was awesome. But political acts at major awards shows often get lost, especially when a speech or a red carpet statement is the only engagement a celebrity has with a cause.
Yet we talk about these moments for months, as if they sparked major change. Why? Because they’re more visible.
Earlier this month, People reported that several actresses will wear black at the Golden Globes to protest harassment in Hollywood. Recently, the magazine added that several actors will also wear black. Great! But as many commentators have already pointed out, red carpets are peppered with black every year. The average viewer who hasn’t been following the #MeToo movement probably won’t notice a difference at all.
Furthermore, despite the Academy booting Harvey Weinstein in the wake of numerous sexual harassment allegations leveled against him this fall, Casey Affleck is still presenting the Best Actor award at this year’s ceremony regardless of several calls for him to be disinvited, given his own alleged history of assault.
If we want to applaud celebrities and award show producers for facilitating change, there needs to be more outcry when the bare minimum isn’t enough.
We excuse the actions of terrible people because they entertain us
Look. Sean Spicer shouldn’t have been at the Emmys. He shouldn’t have been invited, let alone put on stage, then fawned over by celebrities. Jason Isaacs was the only person who seemed to get just how dangerous downplaying Spicer’s role in the White House was.
During awards season, you never know what may happen — and most of the time, the “surprises” are bad, bad, bad.
Everyone has an opinion
Commentators aside, awards season draws out some nasty arguments. I don’t go to Oscars parties, but I’ve heard stories. Twitter alone is a cesspool of arguments; getting involved beyond that just feels like a bad idea.
This year’s awards season looks marginally better than previous years… but I’m still not stoked about it.