All awards shows suck

Jack Harris '22 explains the many issues with various award shows.

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Cymry Hieronymus

Jack Harris '22 explains why award shows are essentially meaningless.

Here’s a fun fact: you can buy an Oscar. No, I’m not talking about a memorabilia item, I mean that with enough money, you’d effectively be able to buy the 2020 Best Picture Award. Every year movie studios spend roughly 10 million dollars on best picture campaigns. This money gets spent in quite the variety of ways, from advertising, to distribution, to “gifts” for academy voters. This money pays off, too. In 2010, “The King’s Speech” was projected to only gross 30 million dollars, but The Weinstein Company spent big on their Oscar campaign and was rewarded with both a Best Picture Award and a shocking 400 million dollars at the box office. The idea of the Oscar campaign began with 1978’s “The Deer Hunter.” In the 42 years since then, every single Academy Awards show has been tainted by campaigning and bribery. 

The Weinstein Company spent big on their Oscar campaign and was rewarded with both a Best Picture Award and a shocking 400 million dollars at the box office.”

— Jack Harris '22

Of course, to say that the Oscars are the only awards show with systemic problems would be wrong. They all do. This year’s Grammys were mostly overshadowed by accusations of vote rigging and sexual harassment. The accusations were made by former head of the Grammys, Deborah Dugan. Dugan asserts that the mostly white male voting committee had outside influences swaying their decision. As for the sexual harassment, Dugan said that Joel Katz, a member of the National Academy for Recording Arts and Science Board, tried to get her to kiss him while she was being considered for the head position at the Academy. 

For the longest time Netflix had difficulty being taken seriously for their original content, by both the viewers and voters, so in 2013 Netflix campaigned hard. They gave free lunches to voters, paid the neighbors of voters to put up Netflix lawn signs, and personally visited the voters homes to pamper them. This resulted in Netflix winning three Emmys that year, with more and more coming every year. Now Netflix is the titan of the TV industry with 30 Emmy nominations in 2019.  

As bad a reputation as the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys have, the worst is yet to come. It is an extremely open secret that the Golden Globes are rigged. Denzel Washinton admitted as much while giving a speech at the Golden Globes.

Washinton said, “Some of you may know Freddie Fields. He invited me to the first Hollywood Foreign Press luncheon. He said they are gonna watch the movie. We are gonna feed them. They are gonna come over. You’re gonna take pictures with everybody. You are gonna hold the magazines, take the pictures, and you’re gonna win the award. I won that year.”

It is an extremely open secret that the Golden Globes are rigged. Denzel Washinton admitted as much.”

— Jack Harris '22

The Golden Globes are made to be rigged. They have virtually no rules against bribery; the identities of the voters are publicly known and there are only 86 voters. However, what may be the biggest issue with the Golden Globes is their influence on the Oscars. For the most part the corruption around Golden Globes wouldn’t be a major issue for the Oscars, except for the fact that winning a Golden Globe instantly increases the likelihood of winning an Oscar. If your movie already has award acclaim, that might sway the minds of Oscar voters even more than giving them a free DVD screener and an iPad. 

The Oscars aren’t completely rigged. If they were then movies like “Avengers Endgame” would’ve been nominated for best picture. No, instead awards shows are broken systems that exist to make money, not give out awards. Even if the awards shows aren’t directly paid by studios they’re going to try to nominate more mainstream features in order to get more mainstream viewers and make more money. We don’t have to cancel awards shows. We don’t even need to stop watching awards shows. But it is time to acknowledge that the Oscars, the Grammys, the Emmys, the Golden Globes and more, are genuinely meaningless.