During the winter months, Sunday nights are reserved for watching awards shows and eating takeout in the living room. My mom, sister, and I park ourselves on the couch starting as early as five o'clock pm to catch the red carpet pre-shows while we share our predictions for the evening's winners as well as semi-harshly judge each celebrity's outfit.
The Golden Globes, Emmy Awards, Grammy's, and Oscars are just some of the most highly anticipated awards shows of each season, which star top comedians as hosts and feature Hollywood A-listers in the audience.
Few events still exist which require gowns as the dress code, and each celebrity's fashion choices can make a statement about themselves and their beliefs. Celebrities use these stages as platforms for talking about real and important issues that matter to many of them and to many of us.
But does the more recent influence of politics in award shows detract from the central purpose of the show, which is to highlight and celebrate artist achievement? How about the fact that during some award shows, performances and special programming fill up the majority of the television time slot that only fewer than five awards are presented?
This year, when I sat on the couch anxiously awaiting watching the shows, I found myself more disappointed than usual at the conclusion. I have found that The Oscars is one of the only awards shows that has managed to stay true to its original purpose. Where some awards shows now produce live performances, leaving time for only a few high-profile awards at the very end, The Oscars limited live performances to leave time for presenting awards for writing, costume, and makeup, and screenplay.
These are all extremely vital aspects of any type of production and these people deserve to be publicly recognized for their work. Additionally, award show performances often become more over-the-top every year, which further detracts from the central purpose of broadcasting the ceremony.
Many award recipients choose to include political sentiments during their acceptance speeches as well, which has proved to be very controversial. On one hand, recipients of these awards have generally cultivated a following so large that their presence on a live awards show gives them the platform to share their ideas and promote their beliefs. While this platform can be used in positive and productive ways, many also argue that the situation is not an appropriate time or manner in which individual beliefs should be projected.
Many say that awards shows have been overrun by politics and therefore shows lose viewers (specifically conservative viewers since the majority of Hollywood projects liberal ideas). Recently, there have also been issues with the race and gender of nominees. While I feel it is important to showcase ethnic and racial diversity in the nomination pool, I would hope that the Academy is choosing the best candidates for the award based on merit and not outward appearance.
While awards shows used to be something my mom, sister, and I looked forward to, I now know that during certain shows I could be watching a televised concert or a political movement play out rather than nominees receiving awards.
Both of these recent developments take away from the glamour and spectacle of an award show night and replace it with tactics to gain more viewers and a reintroduction of real-world problems instead of an escape into fantasy.