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Has Awards Season Lost Its Sparkle?

And the winner is… Who cares?

This coming Sunday is the 91st annual Academy Awards. The Oscars also mark the end of the grueling two-month award season that usually gets us through the first two months of every New Year. I grew up watching award shows, having viewing parties of the E! red carpet specials. I loved award shows so much, that I put “award show correspondent” as my career goals in my yearbook graduation blurb. Even though I’ve loved award season for as long as I can remember, this year, award season hasn’t felt as special as it once did. Is it the excess of the red carpet? Is it the boring hosts? Or maybe the world just seems so sad and bleak, and just terrible in general lately that escaping for a few moments to watch people win shiny gold statues seems like trying to fix a major injury by covering it with a Band-Aid. The glitz of award season used to be the peak of Hollywood glamour that everybody (most importantly I) seemed to enjoy so much. So what changed?

The Red Carpet
The hype surrounding award season kind of lost its sparkle for me starting with the red carpet pre-shows. The red carpet used to be my favourite part of award season. Watching Hollywood’s best arrive, and walk the red carpet, telling us who they were wearing, and how they chose the garment. While I do agree there have been some amazing fashion moments on the red carpet this past year (Timothee Chalamet’s Louis Vuitton harness specifically), it’s gotten to be too much for what it actually is (which is a fashion spectacular). The red carpet used to be fun when it was simple, and just about the fashion of it all. I’ll be the first to admit that the short-lived Mani-Cam was a step in the wrong direction (because honestly, when did we ever care about which celebrities were wearing whatever nude nail polish their stylist chose for them?) The ultra HD 360 cameras are a bit extra, and if I’m being honest, it looks like a bit of a chore for those posing in them. However, #ASKHERMORE was a great, and necessary step in the right direction. Making sure female celebrities were asked just as many questions about their work, and not just about whom they are wearing remains very important. But it’s also important to remember that the millions of people tuning into a red carpet special, are just watching to see couture gowns they could only dream of wearing, on the world’s most shiny and sparkly people.

To Host or Not to Host
There was A LOT of drama surrounding this year’s Oscar host (and rightfully so). While there is usually a lot of buzz surrounding who will hold the prestigious honor of hosting the show, and after a lot of drama and deliberation, The Academy chose to not go with a host this year, and in all honesty, I don’t think they really needed one in the first place.   Aside from opening the show, the host actually doesn’t seem do much, and more times than not, ends up being kind of a dud. Who can forget the year Anne Hathaway struggled through hosting with James Franco? And while there has been some pretty epic hosting moments (Ellen and that selfie/ Ellen and the pizza), everything else seems to fall flat in comparison. We will never get the magic of the 2014 Oscars back, and maybe we just have to live with that disappointment for the rest of our lives. Bummer. Aside from lackluster hosts, award season this year has been kind of boring. No wow moments, Jennifer Lawrence isn’t around to trip up the stairs anymore, so where’s the fun in watching a show that runs smoothly?

And the winner is…Who cares?
I have always believed that caring about popular culture doesn’t make you any less than that guy who drinks his coffee black, and has read War and Peace 34 times because he is an “intellectual”. Being knowledgeable about pop culture can be just as (if not more) valuable than traditional book smarts. I have always been someone that has been up to date with everything pop culture, But I just didn’t seem to be as eager to be engaged with all the happenings of award season this year. With the current climate surrounding certain men, in certain positions of power in Hollywood, once you scratch past the surface of the glitz and glamour, the whole concept of celebrating this industry feels kind of gross. Lately, it’s felt like a three hour award show isn’t enough to distract from the burning dumpster fire that the world has become. Hollywood has become part of the dumpster fire. And for this reason, watching these people win shiny gold statues, while I know there is so many terrible things happening in the world (some of which this very industry has worked very hard at covering up), suddenly doesn’t feel that important anymore.

Despite the fact that I have only watched one award show in full this year, I will be tuning into the Oscars this Sunday. And despite the fact that A Star is Born probably came out about two months too early to receive the recognition everybody thought it would, I will try my hardest to stay engaged with the program. I might not watch all of it, but I’ll try to at least make it to that performance of Shallow we’ve all been waiting for since September. If I simply can’t bear it, I’ll just do what I’ve been doing all season, and read the highlights on Twitter Monday morning.

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