Another awards show season is done. Did anybody care? (Not that it’s over, just that it happened.)
In short, not really. I mean, sure, the showbiz community cares and I guess people adjacent to nominees might care but the whole phenomenon of flashy red-carpet arrivals and on-the-edge-of-our-seats envelope opening are a thing of the past.
I first started covering awards shows with the Junos in 2009 and then Hollywood red carpets in 2010. While the Junos were on a much smaller scale than, say, the Grammys, the overall vibe was the same. (Though, one could argue that Canadians have never considered the Junos must-see TV.)
Back in the day, there was something exclusive about awards shows. We were onlookers gawking at the rich and famous, people who we were supposed to — and in many cases did — idolize. There was a separation between Hollywood and everyday people making it more anticipatory.
Back then, we didn’t see on social media what each celebrity ate for breakfast or what they looked like at the gym.
Now that we have more access and can see these people whenever we want, we have no need to tune in and celebrate the work they did, in some cases, years ago. They’ve moved onto other projects and we barely remember the work they’re nominated for right now. (Hasn’t so-and-so already starred in a bunch of other movies?)
Partner that with content overload and the inability for viewers to keep up with every song, show and movie that’s produced, it’s become pointless to spend an entire night watching those they’d never heard of winning awards for work they’d never consumed.
Years ago on the radio, I was previewing awards shows with correspondents from different showbiz programs (Entertainment Tonight, etc.). One of our last segments was awkward to say the least. It was just when the streaming services started getting nominations.
Normally, on-air we’d discuss the nominees, the nomination snubs, make some predictions and hype up the awards show. We wouldn’t rehearse, we wouldn’t have anything specifically laid out, we’d just roll with it — because up to that point it was easy to know about each nominee.
One correspondent, who was new to doing the segments with me, stumbled when she admitted she hadn’t seen most of the nominated movies that year. Worse yet, she didn’t know enough about other nominees to engage in conversation.
I’m not suggesting she was bad at her job, I’m saying even people “in the business” found/find it tough to keep up with everything. We’re paid to be in the loop but couldn’t keep it straight, imagine how the layperson would do. Thus, we see a growing number of people stepping away as viewers.
Then, there’s the bigger questions: Why does Hollywood expect Joe Public to celebrate its work? How many other industries get that public recognition for their work?