Student Opinion: Are Award Shows for Us Ordinary Folks?

 

By Ariana Ceballos 

 

Every year, Hollywood stars are invited to sit through award ceremonies to praise one another for their various accomplishments. Ceremonies for televised events like the Golden Globes and the Oscars invite audiences to witness these special occasions celebrating the accomplishments of beloved actors, actresses, and movies of the year from the comfort of their homes. While spectators are given a window view into the world of elites, associations that host these events have largely ignored the people outside their exclusive circles.

 

In recent years, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) that runs the Golden Globes and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) that runs the Oscars have experienced a steep decline in viewership for their shows, because they neglected to reflect on connecting to ordinary audience members.

 

The pandemic pushed many issues to the forefront of the media, especially those of racial inequality and class disparity. These are issues that cannot be dismissed and should be addressed by any platform with great power. Award shows are entertaining, but they need to address these inequalities within their systems before attempting to show allyship. 

 

This year’s Golden Globes ceremony took place on a different platform. Rather than being shown on television, winners of the award were posted on social media. The decision to move the award show from its established televised event to social media was a reaction to the recent issues with the HFPA.

 

Many issues have surrounded the HFPA, like a lack of diversity within its members and past  winners. People look forward to seeing the ceremony for many reasons including hoping to see a winner that may resemble their gender, religion, race, or identity. With a majority white members in the association, there’s no one appealing to POC, and others who are out of the organization’s perception as the common audience. 

 

Ann Hornaday for The Washington Post states, “The Globes are looking like what the Oscars used to be, and might benefit from becoming, at least for the time being,” meaning a private event. Hornaday says that the HFPA (Hollywood Foreign Press Association) has inner work to undertake before it can gain a wider audience. 

 

Given the reception of the Golden Globes this year, not much is expected of the Oscars, whose viewership has been in a steady decline. Brooks Barnes and John Koblin note in their New York Times article that the 2021 Oscars ceremony failed to garner 10 million viewers.

 

The production of the show has also changed, such as the absence of a host for three years. 2022 should mark the return of a yet unannounced host. AMPAS is trying to fix their production to resonate with a larger audience. Recent years have shown first-time winners for POC communities, such as Parasite’s Best Picture win in 2020, becoming the first Korean film to receive the award.

 

In 2021, Yuh-jung-Youn became the first Korean to win an Oscar in an acting category and Chloé Zhao became the first Chinese winner of the best director award as well as being the second woman to win. These are monumental wins that should be celebrated, and one can’t help but think why it took so long for POC communities to receive such awards. 

 

Award associations can no longer shut down non-elites or turn a blind eye to societal issues. Even if it means promoting a foreign movie dealing with such issues, the associations should attempt to discuss them. In order to capture a wider audience, the associations need to have awareness when approaching diverse communities. Not only will this appeal to a wider audience, but it will uphold values that are fundamental to our overall social welfare and prosperity.

 

About The Author

Jordan Varney received a masters from UC Davis in Psychology and a B.S. in Computer Science from Harvey Mudd. Varney is editor in chief of the Vanguard at UC Davis.

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27 Comments

  1. Keith Olson

    Golden Globes and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) that runs the Oscars have experienced a steep decline in viewership for their shows, because they neglected to reflect on connecting to ordinary audience members.

    Very true.

    racial inequality and class disparity. These are issues that cannot be dismissed and should be addressed by any platform with great power. 

    And the author here has accidentally hit on a major reason for the drop in viewers.  Ordinary audience members want to tune in to get away from politics and wokeness.  They just want to sit and enjoy the proceedings and not be preached to by actors about whatever their cause of the month happens to be.

     

      1. Alan Miller

        Praiseworthy?  What’s that got to do with the price of wheat in China?  It’s just real, praiseworthy or not.  If people tune out because they are tired of the long woke speeches from elites, praiseworthiness won’t keep the show on the air.

      2. Keith Olson

        Truth be told it’s conservatives who have mostly tuned out because of the one-sided leftist politics that have taken over almost all of the award shows.

        1. Bill Marshall

          Not truth, KO… a fiction, that has a kernel of truth…

          This moderate, trending liberal, and many others, started tuning out decades ago… tuned out because they became ‘fashion shows’, with inane, predictable, acceptance speeches, and inane ‘hosts/hostesses’ (which DOES get to your point)…

          I know many conservatives (including uber-so) who still watch to see how much breast/legs, translucent gowns, etc., are shown, even if they hit the mute button if they think someone will go ‘liberal’…

          True liberals/progressives, many moderates, shun those shows, where the actresses (in particular), tend shell out big bucks to look sexy/glamourous, never to wear that outfit again… it’s just vanity.  Money better used to help others, here and abroad, who need food, shelter, medical aid, and yes, housing… but I can easily see where a true conservative would not care about THAT… yeah, to a conservative it is just about the words…

          I get all I need to know about the awards on-line and/or newspapers… just like I do of the Nobel prizes… haven’t watched one of the “awards” shows for ~ 30 years… and I’m only a conservative in a few subject areas…

          Nice try, Mr Keith Olsen, tho’…

           

        2. Ron Oertel

          The integrity of the awards themselves are endangered by “quotas”.

          Similar to how anything else is, based upon quotas (whether it’s education, employment, whatever).

          But I personally never could get through and entire awards ceremony – regardless of the host. Honestly, who gets wrapped-up in that?

          Reminds me of the Jerry Lewis telethons, in years past. Oh my god, was I pissed at that “interrupting” what I’d rather watch. (Yeah, I guess I’m that “insensitive”.) 🙂

        3. Ron Oertel

          And, don’t get me started regarding the PBS fundraisers I used to sit-through, hoping that the program that was interrupted would return “shortly”. Which, at some point – usually resulted in me hoping for the shut-down of PBS, in the privacy of my own thoughts. (Until now, I guess.)

          At least commercials (on “regular” TV) only lasted about 5 minutes, tops.

        4. Keith Olson

          More and more Americans are fed up with the political statements frequently interspersed during a show that is supposed to be about achievement in film or some other creative field. Surely, the people who run the awards shows, from the top leadership on down, must know that when they unabashedly include political commentary and criticism, they are alienating a large percentage of Americans. The same goes for the Grammy Awards, which also included anti-Trump commentary, as well as the various other awards shows like the Golden Globes and Emmys. The result? Grammy viewership reached an all-time low this year. That can’t be a coincidence.
          And the anti-conservative and anti-Trump rhetoric are not just affecting awards shows. The blatant bias and hatred are reaching far and wide to other televised events like NFL games and the Olympics. NFL ratings went down by 10 percent during the 2017-2018 season. Ratings for the recent Winter Olympics were down by 7 percent. Those are both significant drops.
          So for anyone who missed this year’s Oscars, the message is “Don’t worry; you didn’t miss much.”

          https://www.conservativenewszone.com/articles/ratings-sink-after-oscars-politicized-will-hollywood-get-the-message/

        5. Alan Miller

          Truth be told it’s conservatives who have mostly tuned out because of the one-sided leftist politics

          Wait a minute, conservatives count in the ratings system?  I though conservatives were only counted as 3/5 of a person these days 😐

          I know many conservatives (including uber-so) who still watch to see how much breast/legs, translucent gowns, etc., are shown

          I think you are mixing up conservatives with conpervatives.

  2. Alan Miller

    These are issues that cannot be dismissed and should be addressed by any platform with great power.

    Should?

    Award shows are entertaining, but they need to address these inequalities within their systems before attempting to show allyship.

    Most people I know stopped watching because they stopped being entertaining, and got way too long, especially for our now-short attention spans.

    The decision to move the award show from its established televised event to social media was a reaction to the recent issues with the HFPA.

    I just heard it was due to plummeting viewership plus Covid-19 concerns.

    Many issues have surrounded the HFPA, like a lack of diversity within its members and past winners.

    Members, yes that makes sense.  Past winners?  I not sure how one controls overall diversity among individually-won awards, unless they start having quotas for awards.

    People look forward to seeing the ceremony for many reasons including hoping to see a winner that may resemble their gender, religion, race, or identity.

    They do?  It’s always nice to see a Jew win 😐  No actually I’m not usually even aware if someone is Jewish unless they resemble one of the tribes or make a issue of it in their act.  But I’ve never watched to see Jews.  Maybe I’m the oddball (don’t comment on that).

    Award associations can no longer shut down non-elites or turn a blind eye to societal issues.

    Well they can, but they’ll clearly be criticized for it.

    Even if it means promoting a foreign movie dealing with such issues, the associations should attempt to discuss them.

    A foreign movie to discuss domestic issues?  Not following.

    In order to capture a wider audience, the associations need to have awareness when approaching diverse communities.

    Approaching?  I’d think people would be creeped-out if an elitist association approached them.  I believe they’d capture a wider audience if the elite actors would stop giving long speeches about their narcissistic political correctness.  Yawn City.  I’d also like musicians, right & left, to shut up about their politics between songs, and just play your music.  If your music is political, let it speak for itself.

    The production of the show has also changed, such as the absence of a host for three years.

    Was that not because every host they floated got shot down and cancelled for not being perfect and having a currently-unwoke video online from a bit considered fine five to 30 years ago but not OK by today’s woke standards?

    Award associations can no longer shut down non-elites

    An old flame went on to be a talented special effects producer in LA and won the award as the lead SE Producer on Titanic.  I wanted to see her on TV, but was disappointed to learn the academy does a slew of these ‘lesser’ awards before the actors and ‘best movie’ etc. that the public tunes in for; most people don’t even know there are other, low-key awards; but they mean something in the industry.  Hardy well known (except in her industry), many of those like her working behind the scenes at movies are no more elite or rich or known by the public as any other faceless job in America.

    In 2021, Yuh-jung-Youn became the first Korean to win an Oscar in an acting category and Chloé Zhao became the first Chinese winner of the best director award as well as being the second woman to win.

    Before reading this, I would have thought this was won because they deserved to win.  Now I’m wondering if they won to try to show they were honoring others besides cis-white elite males.

    But ultimately these wins have long been more internally political than objectively given to the ‘best’ of anything.  I think you can just safely say they have to at least be darn good to even be considered.

    These are monumental wins that should be celebrated

    Then celebrate them.

    and one can’t help but think why it took so long for POC communities to receive such awards.

    Probably because of the elitist choosers (meant seriously, not sarcastically).

    The Academy and HPFA or whomever should certainly self-diversify if they wish to, or feel pressure to that they are want to follow.   I would also believe them wise and moral to support en masse initiatives to bring underprivileged persons into the industry, which has long and largely been controlled by white males, quite true.

    I believe Kanye West said it best during his 2015 VMAs acceptance speech:  “I Still Dont Understand Award Shows

    Speaking of awards shows, I was waiting for a bus in LA once upon a time and noticed commotion across the street.  I went across and it turned out to be a reception at the Film Academy the night before the Awards.  Several famous actors walked right by me:  Jack Lemon, Ernest Borgnine among them.

    With annoying paparazzi everywhere.  Jacqueline Bisset approaches with a date, not 10′ from me.  Being the early 80’s she looked like a billion $’s in a gorgeous expensive dress.  A pudgy paparazzi jumps in front of her, kneels with camera pointed up at her, blocking her, and yells “Hold it, right there!”.  She yells, “You hold it, buster!”, leans over and pushes him over onto the sidewalk!

    1. Bill Marshall

      I give Jacqueline Bisset the following awards:

      9.2 for beauty

      7.2 for acting

      11.5 (on a scale of 1-10) for the dealing with the paparazzi

      I give Alan Miller the following award:

      9.5 for sharing the account, and pointing out (indirectly) how shallow super-public awards can be,

      1. Alan Miller

        I won’t argue your rating on J.B., they are yours and you are sticking to them.

        9.5 for sharing the account

        I would like to add that I’d give myself a 9.8 for sheer luck in being in the right place at the right time.  I was waiting for a freakin’ L.A. city bus after nightfall; I didn’t even know where I was.

        I was racking my brain to remember who the other actor I saw was: ’twas Roddy McDowall.  Probably many others I simply didn’t know.

        BTW, WM, I believe if you saw J.B. in person you would give a higher rating.  I had assumed women actors are enhanced in their look on the screen.  Quite the opposite is true – in person as actual 3D live people the ones I’ve seen are simply stunning.  I passed within inches of Brooke Shields on Amtrak (Southwest Chief – a train that often carries celebrities) and briefly made eye contact.  She was about 42 at the time and was breathtaking in person despite being in casual dress and not glammed out.

  3. Ron Oertel

    The Academy Awards have never been for “us ordinary folks”.  The only highlight has been the jokes, often at the expense of the “elites”. And even then, it’s not worth sitting-through the entire thing.

    But, they’ve often (not always) got it right, regarding the actual awards.

    In any case, here are the new “rules”, to be eligible for an award:

    For the 94th Oscars (2022) and 95th Oscars (2023), submitting a confidential Academy Inclusion Standards form will be required for Best Picture consideration, however meeting inclusion thresholds will not be required for eligibility in the Best Picture category until the 96th Oscars (2024).

    For the 96th Oscars (2024), a film must meet TWO out of FOUR of the following standards to be deemed eligible:

    (You can read them, yourself, below. Similar to Affirmative Action, or “quotas”.)

    https://www.oscars.org/news/academy-establishes-representation-and-inclusion-standards-oscarsr-eligibility

    Interestingly-enough, the lack of rules didn’t stop this lady from earning her well-deserved Oscar, even while experiencing discrimination in other ways (as noted in the reference):

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hattie_McDaniel

    Perhaps talent has a way of shining-through, regardless.

     

     

  4. Ron Oertel

    Here’s another “injustice”

    To fans of horror, it may be surprising that Sir Alfred Hitchc-ck, whose films defined the genre for a generation, never won an Oscar for his work. Throughout his career, Hitchc-ck was nominated for Best Director five times, Rebecca (1940), Lifeboat (1944), Spellbound (1945), Rear Window (1954), Psycho (1960). Hitchc-ck’s only film to take home the prize for Best Picture was Rebecca in 1940. Some believe that although today many of Hitchc-ck’s films are considered classics, in his day, they were not given the prestige needed to win an Oscar.

    https://en.as.com/en/2021/04/23/latest_news/1619179690_861440.html#:~:text=To%20fans%20of%20horror%2C%20it,)%2C%20Psycho%20(1960).

    I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what films “won” over Lifeboat, Vertigo, Rear Window, or Psycho, for example.  (No, I’m not going to look them up. But I can tell you that whatever they were – I probably wasn’t as impressed.)

    Probably The Birds deserved to win, as well.

    Discrimination? 🙂

    In any case, most might acknowledge (now) that an “injustice” was done.

    1. Ron Oertel

      What caused this comment to go into “moderation”?

      [Moderator: the letters c – o – c – k in any word or name cause a post to automatically go into the moderation queue. I then have to manually release them by changing that. You referenced the rather famous director who had those letters in his name.]

      1. Bill Marshall

        Yes…

        Among the banned words should be one used for a rooster… yeah, right.  What is the PC word for the appendage on a rooster’s head?  A “rooster-comb”?

        Words morph, become politically incorrect… I get that, but don’t much like it.

        There have always been obscene/hateful words… those I reject… but re-defining words, for political purposes, by sentiments du jour, and then re-defining them as obscene/hateful, rejecting them, I do reject.

        But, not my not my blog.

  5. Rick Entrikin

    “I read the news today, oh, boy,….”

    Interesting that Vanguard regulars seem to agree on something for a change – that Hollywood Awards shows aren’t of much interest to ordinary folks anymore.   Yet that Student Opinion drew more comments than any other breaking news item on the January 23, 2022.

     

    1. Keith Olson

      Yet that Student Opinion drew more comments than any other breaking news item on the January 23, 2022.

      Rick, LOL

      I have a knack where when I comment I can bring them all out…

      1. Bill Marshall

        I can bring them all out

        So, you’re into “outing people”?… I strongly believe you don’t “go there” as to ‘outing’… my point is that you have perfectly pointed to how language is morphing, and things can easily be misconstrued by folk prone to do so…

        I actually agree with what I believe was your intent…

        No harm, no foul… have a great evening…best to you and yours, sincerely…

  6. Keith Olson

    “Get woke, go broke: Pious, political Oscars crashes, loses tens of millions of viewers”

    Regardless of the argument, many Americans don’t want to hear about anything political at the Oscars.

    “Increasingly, the ceremonies are less about entertainment honors and more about progressive politics, which inevitably annoys those in the audience who disagree,” reads a New York Times story. “One recent producer of the Oscars, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential metrics, said minute-by-minute post-show ratings analysis indicated that ‘vast swaths’ of people turned off their televisions when celebrities started to opine on politics.”

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/get-woke-go-broke-pious-political-oscars-crashes-loses-tens-of-millions-of-viewers/ar-BB1g6zeV

    1. Alan Miller

      which inevitably annoys those in the audience who disagree

      Does one even need to disagree to find the practice annoying?

      Example:  Roger Waters.  His music is brilliant and his shows some of the most extravagant ever produced (watch the first 2-1/2 minutes of the introduction to “Dogs” with the rise of the Battlesea Power Station [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nDUl1CRanrc] – and yes, the hologram looks absolutely real live.).  I’m with the political commentary in the music and visuals — but shaddup ranting about Trump and Israel between songs.  I have heard of more than a few people walking out of the shows at this point, but I mean hey, Roger’s got your money, so what’s the point missing rest of the show?

      1. Bill Marshall

        Does one even need to disagree to find the practice annoying?

        No… the practice is annoying… agreeing or disagreeing… music is music, acting is acting…

        Alan M brings up Roger Waters… I’m more a Tom Lehrer fan… irony and satire appeals to me… “national brotherhood week” springs to mind… mirrors can be more powerful than “positions” (politically… in other matters, ‘positions’ can be ‘everything’… have heard sometimes with mirrors involved…)

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