While the world continues to fight a pandemic, Hollywood’s traditional award ceremonies have been on hold. After a year of political, and social unrest, do they still have a valid place in Hollywood?…
At this time of the year, our Sunday evenings should be spent watching stars walk down a red carpet in gowns that cost more than our cars. We should have watched them stand on a stage and accept their trophies with tears in their eyes and discussed who we thought looked the best with our friends and coworkers the next morning. Instead, Hollywood’s most beloved tradition of giving tiny gold statues to the chosen people has been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the medical, social and political unrest of 2020, the idea of watching a show like The Oscars feels out of touch. While all of the most important ceremonies have been pushed to later dates (many of them over the next few months), it’s a possibility they won’t happen at all. A possible absence of award season in 2021 has us asking the question… Has society outgrown the need for lavish ceremonies celebrating the rich and powerful?
Celebrity culture is fun to follow, and award season was something that a lot of people looked forward to. The pomp and circumstance of it all is captivating. A lot of us have been continuously growing tired of the lengthy season in the past few years. After faithfully tuning into every single ceremony for years, I began only watching a few of the big ones. In 2020, I think I only watched the Oscars because of an annual viewing party. People all over the world are grasping for things to celebrate, but with the gloomy reality of the last year, it doesn’t feel like there’s much to get excited about. Even if we were to celebrate something, it seems like it should feel slightly more substantial than music and movies. That’s not to say music and movies aren’t important, but there are bigger things we should be focused on right now.
The last 12 months have been weird, and perhaps the strangest thing of all, was watching celebrities try to be relatable through their posts on social media. In mid-March, when actress Gal Gadot organized and posted a video compilation of herself, and a bunch of other celebrities singing John Lennon’s “Imagine” we had only experienced lockdown for about a week. The video was not only made into countless memes, but also criticized for its unrelatable approach for trying to bring people together. It was a time that truly felt like a fever dream. Nobody really knew the severity of the situation, but a bunch of rich people singing a couple of sentences of a song didn’t really feel like it was much help. Over the spring and summer people started holding celebrities, and influencers accountable to higher standards. More is currently expected of people who have large platforms to help people and causes in need. Watching multiple celebrities and influencers take countless trips, travelling, and spending time with people outside their immediate bubbles has been beyond frustrating. So, spending our time, and energy celebrating the achievements of a lot of these same people just doesn’t feel right to a lot of people.
While it’s true the general public doesn’t know exactly what the nomination process looks like for big award ceremonies, a few people have recently spoken out, and unsurprisingly, it’s unfair. Following the 2021 Grammy nominations, The Weeknd criticized the award show calling the whole thing corrupt after not being nominated for a single award, even after he had multiple songs at the top of the charts in 2020. He stated he, his fans, and the industry deserved transparency when it came to the nomination process. There are always notable snubs when nominations come out, and maybe more transparency would lead to a fairer, and diverse list of nominees. I imagine that the lack of diversity within the nominees that has been making headlines in recent years with hashtags like #OscarsSoWhitewould be even more heightened this year following the incredibly important months-long protests for Black Lives Matter in 2020, among other causes that gained worldwide attention. Now doesn’t feel like the right time to be taking attention away from the work others are doing to create change.
Entertainment Weekly currently has major awards season projected to end in April, but with the continuously growing number of COVID cases in Los Angeles, and emergence of new strains all around the world, it isn’t likely we’ll see large crowds gather anytime soon. Not to mention that a lot of 2020s biggest film releases have been pushed back which would make them ineligible to qualify for the 2020 season. Some of them still haven’t been released. Award ceremonies like The Grammys and Golden Globes have also pushed their dates, but it’s still unclear if they can produce a show safely.
Award shows won’t be gone forever, but when they return, they might look a little different. Music, television, and movies will always be used as escapism. The people we want to give platforms to and celebrate are changing. As of right now, not only does the concept of a couple hundred people in a single room feel so unattainable, but it also feels like we should be celebrating other people. People like changemakers, and frontline workers. Everyday heroes that have helped keep us alive for the past year. So, while we might not be done with award season forever, it certainly feels like 2021 is the perfect time to pause and reflect on the people who most deserve our energy and recognition right now.