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Friday, June 21, 2024
The Observer

Awards Shows Suck


Is there any awards show even that’s even marginally relevant to how actual people actual watch movies or listen to music?

According to the first day of my Intro to Sociology course, generally we all do stuff differently because we’re all different in our own way. I dropped after the first day. If I were to be so bold as to extrapolate this insight to the world of entertainment, I might say that no two people consume entertainment, be it movies, music, books, art or anything else, in the exact same way. One of the things we love about our entertainment, or at least I do, is to discuss with friends and politely, delicately disagree with the values of your individual perspectives on something.

But even if we all see things differently, it doesn’t mean we can’t build something resembling a consensus on what’s good and what’s bad. And, in theory, we have awards shows to see the works of film or music that the general population should look to as examples of greatness; or at least that’s how I see awards shows.

Much has been made of the general out-of-touchness of the Grammys, which aired Sunday night but after I wrote this column. Not that it would’ve mattered for me to wait and watch the Grammys — I’m not going to, because I don’t care. Music just isn’t my jam (classic pun). But I still listen to it, and there’s music that I enjoy. I apparently outed myself as artistically ignorant when it comes to music when I announced to my more musically literate staff that I enjoyed Macklemore’s album and was greeted with looks of outright shock on their faces. Let alone the fact that the only album I’ve ever actually purchased was Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” a decision that, in my defense, I later regretted.

I’m not deaf though. I know “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy” from Kanye West deserved at least an Album of the Year nomination in 2012, and probably the award itself. Pusha T’s “My Name Is My Name” was one of my favorite albums of the year, and deserved at least some kind of nomination at the Grammys. Even as a Macklemore fan I can say “Nosetalgia” was leaps and bounds a better rap song than “Thrift Shop.”

The Oscars, which covers an arena of entertainment about which I do have some small bit of knowledge (read: snobbery), will get their own round of bad press over the next month as the ceremony gets closer. But they’re not even the awards show I want to pick a bone with today. No, it’s not the Oscars that bleeped off on my film snob radar, but they’re spoof, parody cousing ⎯ the Razzies.

The Golden Raspberry Awards began in 1980 with the explicit purpose of mocking the worst in cinema each year. They’re generally something of a publicity stunt in and of themselves, but this year’s Razzies are grinding my gears at a new level.

Instead of attempting to examine film and the public’s reaction to this year’s slate of the overhyped, the underwhelming, the unflinchingly self-important and the James Franco, they opted instead for a collection of in-jokes that they hope people will find funny enough to tune in.

The awards for Worst Picture are an amalgamation of movies that read as if Jay Leno was writing his monologue and saying, “Hey, I’m pretty sure regular folks don’t like these guys! I should make fun of them!” Included in the list ⎯ “After Earth” (“Hey, people don’t like M. Night Shyamalan!”); “Grown Ups 2” (I’m pretty sure people think Adam Sandler is a goof!”); “A Madea Christmas” (“People think Tyler Perry’s movies are garbage!”); “The Lone Ranger” (“I read about this movie not being good on Rotten Tomatoes!”); and “Movie 43” (the only movie that feels like it really earned its way on this list).

I’m not saying that any of those movies were good ⎯ “Movie 43” was truly miserable. But it truly feels like a bad monologue joke at a Vegas nightclub from a washed up comedian than any kind of thoughtful critique that people can look at and think about.

Maybe that’s not what awards shows are about. Maybe nobody should pay attention to them and we should all make fun of them. But if even the awards show that’s supposed to be making fun of awards show can’t find anything relatable in its mockery, awards shows are seriously in the muck.