Are We Watching the Wrong Award Shows?

By Hellora Silva

Despite award season being behind us now, there’s still a few things that I feel we should reflect on, not only for this past award season but also for future award seasons. Typically, award season should be about the awards, the films, and the team of people who come together to create them. And yet as the years go on, this year especially, it’s been proven that the only thing the runners of these awards shows want to display is the drama, the jokes, and the fashion. So if the shows have decided to put the awards on the back burner, where do we go to watch awards?  

Before we can talk about this year’s award show, I think it’s good to go back and look at what award shows used to be and how they used to be run. The basic premise of award shows like the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Emmys, etcetera is to showcase the best of the past year and point out the top ones of each of their categories. The winners were always chosen by the boardeople within the film industry, who fund these academies. The award categories never really change, they may be modified as the years go on, but nothing super drastic. And the runtime of these awards tends to be long, around three or four hours being .  

So what has changed now? Lately, these award shows have been trying to combat the length of their shows so that viewers will watch the whole program. In order to do so, they have had a drastic shift in the content of these awards. They’ve taken the awards, the nominees, the winners, and put them to the side. The larger and more time-consuming things in these events have turned out to be the comedy sketches and the pre-show runway. Now, why would that be? Is it the academies deciding that they need to keep up with modern audiences? Or have the shows truly become basic face value and nothing more of what the award shows used to be? 

Using this year’s 2022 Oscars as an example, the show had a three-hour runtime. They eliminated eight awards that they pre-shot and showed during the show as if it was happening live. To make it worse they would cut winners’ speeches down to create more time for other ‘things’. What are these other ‘things?’ Jokes, gags, and running comedy bits that took longer than most awards took to even be presented. There were three hosts this year and despite all three of them being known for their comedy, all of their jokes fell flat or insulting to the films being presented. Even the musical guests felt either rushed or jumbled together and out of order. For the entire Oscars, the longest part of the show was not actually the awards, but the red carpet. When was this red carpet? Before the Oscars started at 8, from about 6 o’clock till the start of the show, there was news coverage all about what actors were wearing, who was confirmed to show up, and who was rumored to come. Gone was the talk of the cast and of the movies that were to be celebrated that night.  

So if the Academy Awards, the Golden Globe, and the Emmys, our larger award shows are suddenly out of the picture, which awards should we be paying attention to? The indie festival awards, like the Saturn Awards, where no big studio films tend to be shown? Or perhaps there is another place, where award shows have been fan-run and fan-made for a very long time. Well at least since the age of the internet where fans talking about film ratings, film reviews, and the films themselves have changed how we award films. People can now award different movies with their own awards. They can create these shows that are specifically categorized to show the best and brightest of the year, by themselves at home. And these shows, they aren’t sitting there with celebrity guests coming down a runway in their most expensive gowns. The fans aren’t sitting around making comedy jokes about the films, that end up being more insulting than jokes. They are simply movie fans coming together to either fan vote or elect in small committees what movies win what categories.  

Some of these fan awarded award shows are genre-specific. A lot of these better-known awards, in the fan community, are for horror films (mainly because for a long time, horror movies have not been considered big or artistic enough to put into award shows or even win awards). There have been exceptions for categories like SFX, makeup, and costume, though it’s incredibly few and far in-between.  

A few of these awards are the Fangoria Chainsaw Awards, the Dead Meat Awards, and the Ahhhhh! Scares Awards. These are almost all horror specific, but there are movies that are mixed genres included in there giving them a larger range. There are also bound to be more fan award shows on the internet for other genres of films, that just aren’t as popular or known about yet.    

So what sets these indie fan-made award shows apart from the large, well made, long-time running award shows that we’ve all come to know and watch on TV? I believe that these fan-made award shows still hold the same core belief that the original award shows had when they first started. The runners of these shows want to recognize the best of the year, they want to recognize the hard work, and the teams behind these films. They want to be able to tell them, “Hey you did an amazing job, here is a plaque or a little statue to show how amazing you are at what you did!” I believe that that’s what the award shows were originally supposed to be. The Emmys, the Globe, and the Academy Awards were meant to be a celebration of the best and the brightest of Hollywood.  

And yet years after this humble beginning, we are seeing how these large award shows have seemed to give up on this original idea for a more pop-culture, marketable show. So perhaps we are all watching the wrong award shows. Perhaps the shows and organizations that we should be focusing on for awards, and giving high caliber stances to, are the small fan-made award shows. The ones who still believe in the original idea of celebrating the best and the brightest of the filmmakers and the films of the previous year. 

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