- Created on Wednesday, 29 January 2014 20:15
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By SHEILA PRITCHARD
It’s award show season and, love them or hate them, it’s hard to escape the allure.
With the Oscars, Grammys, Screen Actors Guild and every award imaginable happening within a three-month span, it begs the question, why are there so many awards shows and what exactly is the appeal?
The first Academy Awards ceremony was on May 16, 1929, at a private dinner held at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles. According to oscars.org, 270 people attended, each buying a $5 ticket, and the ceremony lasted 15 minutes.
In 1953, the first televised Oscars ceremony enabled millions throughout the United States and Canada to watch the proceedings.
Broadcasting in colour began in 1966, giving home viewers the chance to fully experience the dazzling lure of the event.
Since the late 1960s, the Oscars, along with several other arts and entertainment award shows, have been broadcast internationally, now reaching fans in over 200 countries.
Scott Whitby, 29, of St. Catharines, says that although he is frustrated by some aspects of the shows, he tunes in to celebrate some of his favourites in television and film.
“I’m a sucker for the Oscars, Globes, SAGs, and Spirit Awards. I get annoyed with how biased and mainstream they are, but I do get excited this time of year.
I love the history that comes with the awards.
I also love the chance to just sit back and watch the celebration of the past year in film, even if they royally screw it up sometimes.”
There are more than a dozen major awards shows because they are in demand.
Nielsen Ratings reported viewership for this year’s Jan. 12 Golden Globe Awards rose 17 per cent from last year with an audience of 19.7 million, while in 2013, the Seth MacFarlane-hosted 85th Oscars brought in 40.3 million viewers, making it the most watched Academy Awards since 2010.
“I plan parties around award shows, but I usually provide running sarcastic commentary throughout,” says Mary Keurentjes, 22, a first-year Pharmacy Assistant student here.
Keurentjes says she is planning a small get-together for the Grammys on Jan. 29, but is most looking forward to the Academy Awards.
“I usually only get really psyched up for the Oscars, but I don’t take it too seriously. Do they get it wrong a lot of time? They sure do. Is it political? Yep. But it’s still fun to watch. I enjoy the drama of it.”
While some may watch award shows to hear the hosts cleverly quip about other famous people or to listen to celebrities make long-winded speeches and thank people nobody knows, other viewers may just want a glimpse into the glitz and glam of a fancy, star-studded event.
Or, perhaps millions of people tune in anticipating shocking and memorable Hollywood moments, like Elton John’s duet with Eminem at the Grammys, singer Bjork’s “dead swan” dress at the Oscars, or a drunk Elizabeth Taylor slurring through a presentation the Golden Globes.
Linda Waterman, 38, of Welland, agrees with Keurentjes, saying, “These shows are fun to watch and root for, but results must be taken with a grain of salt.
I personally watch more for the entertainment value.” She says it is the candid moments that make the shows fun.
“I guess they are still fairly important in society today, but even with so many precursors, the shows are live and there will be surprises in store, which definitely makes things more exciting.”
Twenty-five-year old Devon Harter, who is studying geography at Brock University, says winning an award should be special and with Hollywood riddled with award shows, it has become less about talent and more about a popularity contest.
“I used to love them, until I reached the age of reason. I realized they were just a horse and pony show, and that the most deserving nominees rarely ever won.
I like what I like, and I enjoy talking about what I like, but these things always seem too self-congratulatory.”
Harter says he won’t be watching award shows and doesn’t support what they represent.
“All they do is sell their overhyped products. The Oscars, sadly, have become the worst of them all. They’re ad campaigns for flicks really.”
He says the build up to the ceremonies, including the nominations, voting, and media coverage, reminds him of a “governmental race” and makes him “ill”.
“It’s like, ‘vote for us, not for them, even though their work is better than ours.’ It drives me crazy.”
Taylor Swift, Metallica, Nine Inch Nails, Dave Grohl, Paul McCartney, Macklemore and Keith Urban were among those who performed during the Grammy’s on Jan. 26.
The show’s producers may just recover from last year’s ratings drop by pulling out pop music’s big guns.
Whether it’s for the stars, the fashion, the drama, or actually appreciating the arts and honouring the talent, award shows get people talking and tuned in.