I never plan to watch these things. But there I was on Sunday night, sucked into the Golden Globe awards before Tina Fey cracked the first joke.
I’d like to think I was immune to the siren spell of glamorous people in their glamorous outfits with their carefully styled hair and state of the art make-up. Yet when the stars shine, I’m dazzled.
But much as I love watching movies and surrendering my disbelief for a few hours every now and then, the sheer number of entertainment award shows is, to borrow a showbiz term, colossal. Remember when it was just the Academy Awards? One night of the year when movie buffs and cinema snobs could cheer for their faves, and grumble about the injustice of the system? The movies were in their golden youth back in 1929 when the first Academy Awards were handed out. By the time the event was first televised in 1953, it had grown far beyond its humble origins. And its success as a commercial entertainment has inspired a worldwide genre.
In this era of global coverage, I bet you could find an award show to watch almost every week of the year. France, Britain, Australia, Japan, and countless other countries have their own award shows. And then there are the Emmys, Tonys, Grammys, etc. In fact, with so many award shows, and so many memorable moments in each one, doesn’t it seem inevitable that we should have an award show for the best of the award shows?
I can see it now: the categories would include Most Convincing Show of Genuine Emotion for winning an “unexpected” award, Most Thrilling Dress, Most Embarrassing Dress Mishap, Best Acceptance Speech, of course, Most Vindictive Acceptance Speech (Payback Is Hell category).
I would watch this show. I think most of us would be happy to nominate contenders. After all, every award program, from the lowliest local theatre gathering to the Academy Awards gala, is held together by magical filaments of glorious vanity dancing with brave ambition. Some crushed toes are inevitable.
We like to tell our children it’s not how you look that determines how the world will respond to you, that actions matter more than words, that truth is powerful. And these are noble ideas. But in the world of entertainment, you won’t go far if your clothes don’t flatter you. Or if you can’t remember your lines. Or if you tell it like it is to an audience that wants to hear the same soothing lies.
Movies are a remarkable medium. They can educate, enlighten, move and terrify us. Sometimes they can even change the way we see the world. But award shows are all alike. Beautiful people make jokes about each other. Everyone thanks their “team”, their directors, their agents, their families, and God, who, along with being a big sports fan, is apparently is a huge movie buff.
If there were an award for the most gullible I’d be right on there on the stage , clasping my little statuette, thanking all the kind fans who voted for me. But most of all I’d be wishing I were someplace else.