2020 brought both irregularities and innovation through award shows. As a result, 2021 felt the after-effects. Virtual acceptance speeches, limited in-person attendance, you name it. Even fashion moments didn’t happen on the red carpet. But does that mean award shows are falling off? Or, will this new version of award shows spark new creativity? Whatever the case may be, these prestigious awards have to make adjustments. Otherwise, the fans, production, and even celebrities will move forward with other means of celebration.
The intention of award shows is to pay respect to the hard work many talents have dedicated time towards. But how will they operate with empty stages? Celebrities continue to rebel against award shows and their nominations. In 2019, Natalie Portman made headlines at the Oscars for her custom Dior cape, etched with snubbed women for the “Best Director” category. This year, the Golden Globes were criticized by numerous Asian celebrities for excluding “Minari” from the “Best Picture” category. Due to its prominent use of Korean, it was relocated to the “Best Foreign Film” category instead.
Recently, singers Zayn Malik and The Weeknd publicly criticized the Grammys. The latter earned one of the most popular songs of the year with “Blinding Lights”. It was the first song to “ever to spend a full year in the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100”, according to Variety. After many questioned The Weeknd’s snub, he announced he will no longer submit his music to the Recording Academy. These current conversations also influenced millions of his fans not to watch. If celebrities are pointing out missed opportunities, what does that say about award shows themselves?
These coveted award shows also saw changes happening behind the scenes that caused concern. The Grammys notably changed their use of secret committees. The former committees helped decide on nominations every year. But they were questioned yearly by some of their final choices. From declaring pop songs as rap to critically-acclaimed albums losing, many challenged the groups’ decisions. This new adaptation aimed to provide transparency between voters, artists, and fans. But is it too little too late?
The Golden Globes also came under fire. After a lack of diversity of the HFPA board, NBC pulled out of broadcasting the show in 2022. Even Tom Cruise returned his statues. The state of the Globes remains in the air as the HFPA attempts to diversify its members. These changes also sparked an outcry for the Academy Awards to offer something similar. For the 2020-2021 Committee, only five of its 16 members are either women and/or people of color. But will they be able to recover in time for awards season? More importantly, will these new assemblies meet expectations?
When stars win their awards, you can always count on fans to receive a shout-out. From their virtual watch parties to streaming parties on social media, it’s deserved. But, how can these speeches continue if the fans aren’t tuning in? According to Variety, the 2021 Oscars ratings were down 58.3% from last year. Is covid-19 to blame? Possibly. Many are tired of the ongoing pandemic and modified award shows serve as a reminder of it.
But some award shows have continuously lost viewership. In comparison, the Golden Globes and the Grammys also fell in ratings this year. The Grammys also saw its lowest-rated event in history. Without viewership, where does it leave these competitive shows? If award shows seek a resurgence, they need to find a way to bring back their beloved fans. These events have to bring back the excitement they once held. If these award shows don’t modify to modern standards, they could become a thing of the past sooner than later.
Cover photo courtesy: Deadline