The dawning of a new year always rings in the time honored tradition of marching our favorite actors, musicians, filmmakers, etc. down a blood colored carpet to sit through a long and tedious ceremony that ends with most participants going home empty-handed (except for the dope swag bags, if legends are to be believed). That’s right: we are in the midst of Award Show Season. While the rest of us are hunkering down to ride out the winter in our PJs and favorite carbohydrate filled munchies, the most talented and stunning among us are awaiting their chance at Oscar/Grammy/Emmy/Golden Globe/People’s Choice/Critic’s Choice/Your Choice/My Choice/No Choice glory.
To be honest, it feels a bit high school-ish, telling a small group of people with a particular skill set they are the best of the best at what they do (in the previous year, at least), then purposely singling out the very best of the best of the best on live television. Reminds me of the Hunger Games with more polite smiling and humble brags. (And no one has died on air…yet.)
I guess what I’m trying to say is: I have conflicting feelings about the whole thing. Sure, it is fun to watch lots of socially agreed upon attractive people all dressed up and parading around answering sort of mindless questions, but how long before that gets old? By the time the Oscars roll around, the finish line of the awards season marathon, I’m sort of on the side of “Who cares anymore?” Well, who cares besides the nominees, I suppose.
But, I do love the red carpet. The dresses, the jewelry, the envy. It’s got it all. Even if I miss the actual broadcast, I’ll definitely scroll through a few of the Best/Worst Dressed photo galleries published the next morning. I feel bad for the male attendees during this portion of the event because there are only so many suits and ties out there and until they start showing up in dresses, they are not going to get the same amount of attention their female counterparts do. That’s cool though, they got paid more to do the same, or significantly less, job as said counterparts. Sexism, sometimes it’s your best friend and sometimes you’re a woman.
The questions. Sweet Baby Jesus, the questions. I can sympathize with journalists who went to Stanford and thought their professional careers would be covering slightly more serious news stories. Life truly does not always work out the way you think it will. However, most of the anchors we see on air are seasoned red carpet interviewers. You have the entire year to think of new questions. Make an effort! Ask Google if you need to. Nobody will know if you don’t tell them.
The only thing more generic than the questions asked are the answers given. How about some honest answers, nominees? The ratings are not going to go up with the current dichotomy, my friends. Suggestions below.
Q: How do you stay so fit?
A: Oh, I was paid 1.3 million dollars and given three personal trainers for the duration of filming, so that and hard work and determination, of course.
Q: What made you want to be a musician?
A: Um, I’m really good at it and it pays considerably well.
Q: Who inspires you most?
A: My mom. She’s the best. She’s my hero. I love her so much. Hi, Mom!
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Dinner. I’m starving. Literally. Do you have any snacks?
The speeches are a mixed bag for me. 85% (by my estimations) are boring as hell. The winner walks onstage with a surprised look of awe and proceeds to thank a plethora of people no one has ever heard of or will remember. Not to suggest said mentions are undeserving of the gratitude, but it’s a 30 second speech—there is no way anyone could thank everyone (or even the top 10) of the people responsible for their success. Even when they bring notes they still cannot manage it. Let it go. Have some fun. Entertain us— this is our night too. (Disclaimer: You cannot claim entire night for yourself. That’s not how nights work.)
The other 15% of the speeches is the goldmine. These are the winners who take their precious airtime to give an inspiring message or throw shade at their haters instead of thanking those who helped them achieve their greatness. These winners are my favorite winners. They are the little golden Easter eggs shattered throughout the telecast and available in short clips on social media forever onwards. Are they classier or better people than the more conservative 85%? Probably not. But, that’s not why I’m watching a 3.5 hour ceremony with way too many commercial breaks.
Let’s not forgot it’s relatively the same people continuously nominated with a few outliers to mix things us. I’m not saying Meryl Streep isn’t the best actor around (cause she totally is), but I already know that. I know she’s amazing. Everyone knows she’s amazing. People who hate her only hate her because she’s so amazing and they’re not. Tell me about someone else. I almost wish there was a rule that once you win a major award you become ineligible for the same award for a certain number of following years. I realize that rule also creates its own set of unfairness issues. I mean, Meryl does consistently give great performances. Maybe she really does deserve to win every year. Maybe she’s the Adele of movies.
Obviously, none of the prestigious associations are asking me to solve these suggested problems, thank The Goddess above, but I think it’s fair to note, as anyone who ever participated in group sports as a child knows: if everyone gets a trophy, no one really gets a trophy.
Cetoria Tomberlin is a poet originally from South Georgia. Her work has previously appeared in Fairy Tale Review, NonBinary Review, Cicada, and online at LADYGUNN, HelloGiggles, McSweeney’s and various other publications. She is currently a book reviewer for Alternating Current and Diverse Kids Books. Follow her on Twitter @Cetoria.