Has This Been The Most Boring Awards Season Ever?

By Brad Nash
15 February 2019
Grammys, BAFTAs, Oscars
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After years of the entertainment industry's showcase events being used as platforms for genuine social change, this year's spate of awards has been characterised by precisely nothing

Last week saw uneventful Grammy and BAFTA award ceremonies come and go.

It was one where a couple of momentarily memorable things happened, sure, but perhaps most notably, it was a night arguably defined by one person, in this case Drake, nailing home the point of just how pointless awards like the Grammys are in 2019.

It was a damning indictment, but not necessarily either because of what Drake said, not because many within the industry felt it to be true. It was, in fact, the problem that nothing within the rest of the show's four-and-a-half hour run-time did anything to suggest that what Drake said wasn't true.

 

The award winners are presumably very happy with their brand new statues, but this year's awards ceremony left viewers with absolutely nothing to inspire or entice them to keep watching.

This isn't just localised to the Grammys, either.

Britain stands in perhaps the greatest period of social change it's experienced since the Second World War, yet the BAFTAs — arguably the biggest night in the British entertainment industry — passed almost without anyone noticing.

Likewise, the Golden Globes — the event where just over a year ago the 'Time's Up' and #MeToo movements begun their respective snowball into the globe-spanning social movements that they are today, was this year defined by a paid water company model.

The Emmys? Well, short of Hannah Gadsby's brief turn on stage, do you remember anything that happened in this year's Emmys? Be sure to write to us if you do.

So, where's the problem? Many will point straight away to the fact that audiences simply aren't into awards shows anymore. All of the major award ceremonies this year have seen at least a 10 percent dip in attendance, now that basically everything is able to be cropped, tweeted, meme'd and retweeted again in the flash of the eye.

But that's purely symptomatic of a wider problem.

Live sports viewers still watch live sport in their droves, despite the fact that there's basically nothing to stop them watching the game in GIF form. It seems to us that, in the case of 2019 at least, the ceremonies have essentially scared themselves into a corner.

Over the past few years in particular, most awards ceremonies have made their viral moments by taking distinct advantage of the politically-charged cultural climate that exists today.

Ricky Gervais, Colbert, Kimmel and the likes have all done it in their hosting gigs over the years, while performers like Kendrick Lamar, Lupita N'Yongo and Frances McDormand electrified those on stage by adding fuel to the raging inferno of social debate that was happening at the time.

This year, however, they've all played it safe with a series of palatable, thoroughly uninspiring hosts.

Alicia Keys tried her heart out to keep the overly-long Grammys ticking away, but the job was beyond her. Andy Samberg, on the other end of the spectrum, was never going to say anything particularly offensive — that's not his brand of humour.

 

Of course, the face of this trend has come in the form of the host of an awards show that hasn't happened yet. The Oscars, who axed Kevin Hart from this year's Oscars hosting gig after a series of homophobic tweets were dug up on his twitter, have forgone replacing him completely.

This decision was symptomatic of terminal fear of controversy: one where their fear of the backlash they'd likely receive by replacing him almost outweighs that they received by kicking him off the show in the first place. But it's not one that's confined entirely to the producers of the Oscars.

The Emmys made just about the safest 'in vogue' hosting choice they possibly could, while those running the The Grammys spent most of the night cutting the mic of just about anyone who looked as if they'd say anything remotely controversial, whether it be the aforementioned Drake or Cardi B.

The problem is that it was this controversy that had people wanting to watch the awards live in the first place.

Let's be real for a second, aside from the momentary flash of nostalgia you might get from it at the time, no-one really gives a shit about the prospect of turning away from their latest Netflix binge to catch watching Dolly Parton singing a 40-year-old hit with Miley Cyrus.

This year's host-less Oscars look almost certain to conclude a season of boring awards shows in about as uninspiring a fashion of possible: however in a climate where Awards Shows cling to relevance almost entirely through what's between the awards being given out, here's hoping they can learn to lean back into controversy a little more going forward.


Via GQ Australia

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