While award shows have arguably given us a reason not to watch them anymore, I think they provide the perfect lens into where the world is at culturally. Some watch them for the fashion, some for the drama or perhaps even some watch for the awards themselves (seemingly rare these days).
What I think makes award shows so appealing is being able to watch individuals at their highest level of performance both socially and artistically. Celebrities get to be at their most heightened self. Some might question whether this is their genuine self, but part of the fun is being able to ask ‘are they really like that in real life?’ We shall never know the answer.
Some might also ask who cares, but I think they forget a crucial part of what makes an award show at all: its audience.
The audience influences everything in all forms of media. We are the ones that watch the movies, we are the ones that listen to the music. With award shows in particular, the audience has the power to influence who we see on stage. If nobody watched these shows, then none of it would change and we wouldn’t see anyone we remotely related to. A lot of the artists that win say they grew up watching the show for the awards they won.
Sunday’s Grammy Awards showed an excellent display of the things that young people subscribe to. The nominees and winners of the night prove that gender, race or background doesn’t hold people back from pursuing their artistic dreams. While the issue isn’t remotely solved, seeing Sunday’s diverse winners made me think the Grammys went a step in the right direction.
Much of the controversy and debate around award shows is that the respective academies are out of touch with what the general public is maybe interested in. That could very well be true, but the less people tune in, I believe, the less things change to make a better awards show.