Throughout the past year, we’ve all had to adapt to the “new normal,” with the entertainment industry being no exception. This award show season has witnessed a variety of changes to the structure of each event. Immediately at the start of the pandemic, studios and sets closed down; actors, writers, producers, and directors lost jobs; and theaters lowered the curtains. But as they say, the show must go on. The industry and executives within it quickly pivoted to go from real life to virtual. Zoom cast reunions, premieres, and the like sprouted all over the Internet. Even a TikTok musical of Ratatouille. When award show season came around, the associated leaders had to make a decision. Would they risk going in person and starting super-spreader events? Or would they transition to fully virtual to allow for a safer gathering?
The Tony’s decided that they would indefinitely postpone the year’s ceremony and acknowledge the greatness awarded to those most deserving when Broadway ultimately reopens. The Golden Globes were held at the end of February 2021, with The Grammys happening most recently this month and the Academy Awards scheduled for the end of April. The music, film, and television industries have all had to adapt to the changes and consider how they can still safely celebrate the accomplishments of the winners.
This season’s award shows allowed the at-home audience an even more intimate look into the lives of the most successful people in the industry. Junior Shira Mallah said, “I thought that virtual talent let the performances be much more catered to the at-home audience, and they were able to play around with camera angles and effects much more”. The shows are inherently more casual and Junior Ethan Hauben stated the shows were, “Definitely more casual, but [he] can respect that cause [he] doesn’t want to wear a suit at home”. Celebrities, they’re just like us…
Regarding The Weeknd’s choice to boycott the Grammys, Shira agreed: “I think that The Weeknd is right and that the Grammys are not always fair. His albums 100% deserved nominations, and even to win some Grammys. If I were him I would do the same thing and boycott”. Ethan did not share this same perspective and shared that he believes The Weeknd is the, “Most arrogant person in the world, his ego is as large as the moon”. Now, the most significant group of publicists are speaking out about the lack of diversity in the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and the Golden Globes.
With social justice and diversity issues at the forefront, it is about time for these individuals in significant positions of power to speak their truth and demand improvements all across the board. Whether it’s at the executive level or in casting, to keep up with the times, companies and streamers must adapt and ensure that diverse perspectives, various backgrounds, and accepting messages are promoted across platforms. This is not a quick and easy fix and requires all aspects of a show or film to partake. If the larger companies, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, or Apple begin this trend, all others should and hopefully will follow in suit. If the smaller companies do not, they will not have a leg to stand on. Particularly with this younger generation, issues surrounding inclusivity are of significant and of utmost importance. Popular culture must reflect greater society and the priorities of the population.
So, why do people care about these awards shows anyway? Simply because the arts and entertainment impact all of our lives. During the pandemic, think about where you turned…Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, the list goes on. The characters that spoke to you, the songs that inspired you, the late nights you spent watching an old rom-com. The arts bring a sense of comfort to our lives and allow us to be our most authentic, empathetic selves. These award shows are another opportunity for viewers to gain a deeper look into the lives of Hollywood’s most impressive individuals. With the shows virtual, celebrity’s kids are running around in the background, phones are ringing, and family interrupting. The general public loves to see into the lives of Hollywood and the virtual shows do just that.