Award Shows Are Fucking Terrible

Why all award shows are demoralizing mind rot.


Remember when someone took twelve years to make a movie and it was just okay? I mean, it still won all of the awards it was supposed to—this industry is too mathematical for it not to—but I have to disagree with the folks over at Roger “we gave Gigli three stars” Ebert dot com’s assessment of Boyhood as “indescribably moving.” And not just because calling a thing indescribable is, itself, technically a type of description.*

Can you imagine the decade-long boner that this director had to have for himself, though? Just going to bed every night, knowing that in ten years he would be blindly issued a rubber stamp of approval by the fucking Methuselahs who vote on this shit. That all he needed to do was show up with a camera every so often and pay Coldplay some royalties. Think about the 4,383 days he spent believing he’s creating this haterproof time capsule, and that anyone who doesn’t want to look like an uncultured knave would have to nod along because it’s indescribably fucking moving!

“Well that was merely one year out of The Academy Awards’ storied hist’ry. But a flash in the pan!” You scoff, while motorboating a tub of mayonnaise.

And what a banner year it was! 2015 also saw best film nominee, American Sniper, a legit piece of wartime propaganda that glorified a racist psychopath. It was also the year that the Academy’s bias toward white people (and films about being white) finally drew mainstream attention. But, hashtag campaigns aside, let’s not kid ourselves into thinking that the Academy Awards will ever become a meritocracy.

Look no further than 2016’s Best Actor: Leonardo DiCaprio. The Revenant was utterly forgettable, but they needed an excuse to give Leo an Oscar for literally any one of the legitimately good films he’s acted in this decade. Of course, Leo was snubbed the previous year due to The McConaissance—a word I am loathe to use, lest the rotting clerics at Entertainment Weekly grow stronger.

Image: Paramount Pictures
Yet another political move, making right for when McConachie got snubbed for the 2006 Sarah Jessica Parker vehicle—Failure to Launch.

“Everyone knows The Oscars are politicized. That’s why I go to exclusive indie film festivals where people appreciate raw talent” you remark to your trusted baristx, Tristopher.

That’s hard to argue against. Film festivals, like Tribecca and Sundance, represent that next echelon of film. That’s right—only true cinemaphiles attend these things, baby! You can tell if someone is a cinemphile, of course, because they will be having sex with a movie. Sadly, the typical film festival goer has the same level of nuance to their personality as the typical Bonnaroo attendee. And while it may be some low-hanging fruit to make fun of this clique, it has forever remained nigh-impossible to call out their elite tastes.

Until they gave Fred Durst first prize in directing. Oh man! Film festival judges fucked up bad with this one! Up until this point, whenever they would declare something to be ‘transcendent’ or ‘singular’ we just had to take their word for it, even (and especially) if it looked like tedious, masturbatory drivel.

Film dudes, we would have never been able to fuck with y’all. We would just have to go along with it if you said a movie was good because we’re the plebs and you guys are the experts. And then you gave Fred Durst an award!

See, rewarding Fred Durst for anything is kind of like when a shitty wrestler in the WWE wins the championship belt. It lowers the point of entry by implying that, at least for a certain period of time, that shitty wrestler is the greatest and most formidable in the league. Whether or not anyone realizes it at the moment it’s happening, that belt can never hold the same level of acclaim for future champs.

Donald Trump, fucking it up.
Image: The White House
The analogy can be extended onto other positions as well.

“BUT THE TONYS!” You shriek, demonstrably slamming this month’s issue of Playbill Magazine down onto your modular coffee table.

Even though its American English spelling is pronounced the same, I can still detect when an uppity motherfucker says [theatre] in conversation. Listen, there’s nothing wrong with plays or musicals, but the people who love them tend to be the most rabid and annoying fanbase this side of Firefly.

The most popular musical today—and, arguably, of all time—is Hamilton. Which, if you’ve somehow managed to avoid its mentioning or any one of its shitty as fuck parodies, is a hip hop retelling of America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton’s life story. Minus all of the parts about him being a probable slave owner, of course. Its cast is primarily people of color and is exalted by braindead safety pin Liberals who can’t understand how putting a Thomas Jefferson wig on a black man is gravely insulting.

Hamilton’s use of minorities in these roles is the exact type of alchemy that establishment Dems love. Showy displays of diversity are the one thing wealthy Libs can support that do not cost a cent, while still allowing them to claim progressive ideals.

Aside from being a neoliberal’s wet dream, the shit is just plain wack. I guarantee you that anyone rocking “My Shot” on a Spotify playlist has an ‘Art Fan’ sticker slapped on a Macbook; can match their Myers-Briggs type to their Hogwarts house; just popped open a fresh can of La Croix in the lobby of a Panera Bread; and TIVOs Saturday Night Live for the #resistance.

Still, probably the biggest clue that Hamilton should not be taken seriously though: none of its fans actually like rap music. Lin Manuel Miranda can namecheck Mobb Deep in the musical all he wants but not a single one of his followers have ever listened to “Shook Ones (Part II)” even by accident in their entire lives.

Friday
Image: New Line Cinema
They’re the same fucking goons who said ‘bye, Felicia’ without ever having watched Friday!

“Well, the small screen is the finest it’s ever been. This talent pool of writers will never run dry.” You say calmly, taking an exaggerated sip out of your ‘The Golden Age of Television: 2012 – ∞’ mug and completely lowering your guard.

I’ve made my opinion on the current roster of tragicomedies pretty clear, and really, since then not much has changed:

This is Us: hard pass

Big Little Lies: nope.

The Good Fight: …the fuck outta here

Sneaky Pete: booty

The OA: booty butt cheeks

Peak TV, Prestige Television, whatever we want to call it (though I’d urge you not to call it that because you’ll sound like a major douche) is not so subtly shattering to pieces. Slowly but surely, with the release of each new show, people are coming to the realization that HBO and Netflix original programming doesn’t automatically get a pass. What could have been the panacea that woke everyone up and supercharged their white blood cells against mediocre bullshit?

Three words: The. Young. Pope.

I’m sure it’s a fine television show—perhaps spectacular, even. Whatever. I don’t care. Any critical merit this show might possess will never be as poignant as the jokes made at its expense.

Young Pope on a motorcycle, being a baddass.
Image: One Giant Hand
This pope fucks!

If I had to pick an award show most damaging to our collective psyches though, it would have to be The Emmys. Television is such a mainstay in our lives that otherwise completely boring people are allowed to cultivate their personalities based on what shows they watch—I’m guilty of it myself.

See, after spending 10+ hours every day at the dick-sucking factory, driving to the dick-sucking factory, driving home from the dick-sucking factory, I’m way too tired from sucking all those dicks to focus on anything that might actually enrich my life or the lives of others. I can only stare down the blank page of a Word doc so many hours before I give up and consume someone else’s art.

Being on this planet for a finite time, we are hardwired at all costs to believe our actions have meaning; even if those actions result in bedsores from binge-watching Homeland. The Emmys only validate our wastes of time and vitality.

Jennifer Anniston
Image: The Golden Globes
I’m so proud of you for all your hard work watching [Show]. That award is just as much yours as the born-into-wealth celebrity holding it.
Although all of these award shows honor a different type of medium, they have one unifying theme: the notion that corporations are people too. And celebrity is nothing else if not the smiling face of the corporate machine.

These events are nothing more than high school pep rallies for the class elite. Why glorify that?


*It should be noted that as soon as I typed that I immediately transformed into a CGI giant robot fedora.

Author: Brian Fox

Brian's waking hours are dominated by pop culture, interspersed with humankind’s search for meaning. He founded this site out of contempt for excessive consumerism as well as a futile effort to reclaim culture from the 1990's blood-soaked talons. You can blame him on Ohio.

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