The Blunder of Award Shows


Sydney Hancock

LOSING INTEREST: Award shows are powerful institutions in American culture, but have major structural flaws and shady selection processes that seems to focus more on profit and views as opposed to appreciating art.

Pedro Martins, Staff Writer

Over the course of the last decade, award shows have experienced a steady decline in both viewership and apparent quality. The most recent Oscars award show reported all time low ratings and a 23.8 percent decrease from last year. These low ratings demonstrate how audiences have begun to feel fatigued with the questionable nominees and the uninteresting format that most major award shows live and die by. These shows need to make a serious change when it comes to the way that they are structured and their selection process in order to excite new viewership. This is the only way that award shows can go on as successful, respected institutions.

The first thing that needs to be addressed when it comes to the shortcomings of many modern award shows is how they select the nominees and winners and for each category. Recently, the Grammys have been heavily criticized for having a corrupt selection process with unequal representation for minorities and genres of music, after Deborah Dungan, the former Chief of recording academy, released a memo highlighting the many misbehaviors of the Grammys. The New York Times explains how Dungan openly addressed these issues after her ousting and even filed an official complaint with The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. These new revelations called into question the legitimacy of the Recording Academy and had a tangible effect on the public opinion towards the Grammys. Sr Harrison Oen questions the selection process of award shows, stating that “they probably would make the decisions that would make the show look good and have the best views.” These concerns of unfairness and corruption have been brewing in the public for years now, and it seems like they came to a head this year.

The second big subject that needs to be addressed when it comes to award shows is their format and how the actual show itself is structured. The Hollywood reporter explains how award shows are the ‘Achilles Heel’ of the entertainment business due to their stale, outdated format with each individual award show falling prey to a sense to their outdated structure. This flawed is likely to be the largest reason as to why the average viewer tunes out of the show or never tune in in the first place. They are boring, they ran out of fresh ideas years ago but still repeat the same process every single year: a comedian host makes some forced jokes that the audience is forced to laugh at, they plow through the so-called “meaningless” awards, play the winners of the stage when their speech gets too long, and give awards to winners that ensure that they will look good. This needs to change or else award shows are going to become extinct. Fr Thomas Davies explains that award shows “should ask their audience” on how to improve. Soph Erin Tylukti suggests that award shows should make their selection process “unbiased and treat all selections equally” in order for them to regain trust from the public. They need to implement these changes in order to prosper. They need to go back to being an entertaining show with fresh ideas and an appealing format, not a shady institution who ran out of ideas in the 70s. The objective truth is that award shows are losing their viewership, especially amongst youth. Jr Dan Kim explains how he has “never seen any award shows, only heard of them.” Dan and many other teenagers his age are walking examples of how award shows are stale and outdated. They need to change heading into the next decade before it is too late and they fully lose their audience.

At the end of the day, the history and development of award shows is much like a Greek tragedy. They were once pillars of excellence whose sole function was to promote and celebrate art, but over the years, they have lost their way, falling victim to greed and corruption. They sometimes abandon their original goal of celebrating undeniably good art in order to make themselves look good and to bring in more viewership. They have shattered their legitimacy with critics, artists, and viewers  and continually devalue themselves every year. Award shows need to revert back to what they once were or they might be doomed forever.