Tuning out of award shows
I have a feeling I’ll get asked that question a lot tomorrow. And I already know my answer: ::shrug.::
I’m not an award show kind of fan. I don’t buy albums because it won Best Album, and I don’t go see a movie just because it picked up the Best Picture award.
I used to do that. I’d spend hard earned money buying an album or movie ticket to experience something I didn’t care about, but I thought I had to experience it because it had won a prize and because everyone was talking about it. I watched a lot of movies I hated. I heard a lot of albums made by artists who couldn’t compare to some of the less-famous bands I love. I made myself unhappy by following the trends.
So I’d still watch award shows – eh, what else is on, really? – but I put no stock into the awards themselves.
Some of them are deserved; some aren’t. Some aren’t even worthy of being nominated (looking at you, “Blurred Lines” – I’m surprised it scored a nomination at all following the controversy. But I’ll hush there – my thoughts on that song could fill another post entirely). Last year I heard a ton of amazing albums that won’t ever be nominated for a Grammy, like “Southeastern” by Jason Isbell. I get that the academy probably nominates the more popular artists out there to ensure viewers, but is that fair to artists who deserve to be recognized for their wonderful work? Nope.
Rolling Stone has compiled some great lists about surprising Grammy wins and losses over the years (see 20 Strangest Best New Artist wins and 25 Artists Who’ve Never Won a Grammy). Among those who’ve never scored a Grammy include legends like Tupac Shakur and Patti Smith, and many talented artists like Martina McBride and Brian McKnight.
Elvis fans are quick to note his only Grammy wins are for his gospel music, which is wonderful, but come on – “Suspicious Minds” is worthy of every award possible.
Bette Davis won two Oscars, and most incorrectly assume for “Jezebel” and “All About Eve” or “Dark Victory.” She did win for “Jezebel,” but her first Oscar was given to her for “Dangerous.” Show of hands, how many fans know that movie? It’s generally understood that her “Dangerous” win made up for her snub the year before, when she should’ve won for “Of Human Bondage” (sorry, y’all – I’m a huge Bette fan).
Sometimes award shows can lead fans to other bands, movies, TV shows, whatever, that they may not have ordinarily seen or enjoyed. That’s great. But I’ve learned over the years to rely on my own taste rather than what gets nominated and awarded, and I’ve been a happier pop culture consumer.