by Yilin Liang
Graphic by George Hwang
You know it’s award season when the red carpets are rolled out, people are glued to their televisions on a Sunday night and your Yahoo! newsfeed is packed with stories about who is wearing what. But what is this attraction to award shows such as the Emmys, the Grammys and the Academy Awards? But why are they so great? Are they worth the exorbitant costs?
From a show business point of view, the award show season is extremely important. It is a chance for all the people in the entertainment industry who have done exceptional work to be honored for it. This is especially true for the directors, the writers, the costume and set designers and the rest of the crew that we, as the audience never see. Isn’t it true that the Best Director award generates just as much, perhaps even more buzz than the Best Actor/Actress award? But some may argue that besides this one award, one would not pay attention to the rest of show. However, doesn’t that just make award shows even more of a necessity? Without the awards for producer, set designer and music, no one else would recognize the work of the people behind the screen.
Of course, it isn’t just show business professionals that benefit from putting on award shows. Fashion designers, jewelers and other businesses that can fill the countless goody bags distributed at parties tap into the star power of that one night. After a film star promotes a certain brand, that brand sees spikes in sales and an increased buyer base.
Award shows are further important because they can launch the career of new actors and actresses. Take the most recent example of Hailee Steinfeld, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards for her role in “True Grit”. She was relatively unknown before the Oscars and now is the face of a fashion brand and has also been offered several roles in upcoming films. Frankly, this benefits the audience more so than it does the industry, because who wants to watch the same mediocre actors play the same roles over and over again?
Of course, there are other reasons why average Jane and Joe, who have no connection to the film industry, aside from an average knowledge about films, can enjoy award shows. One of these reasons is that award shows are always on a Sunday night and they only occur once a year. You might as well watch something entertaining that isn’t trite. Award shows also function as a connection between the Janes and Joes and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. It can be easy for us to feel that these perfect movie stars live on a completely different planet, and award shows close such gaps. Seeing how stars interact with each other makes them seem much more ordinary and less intimidating. A glaring example of this can be seen with the clothes and accessories that stars wear to that award show. Not only do the originals sell out immediately after the show airs, but less pricey replicas of dresses and accessories sell equally as fast—a true testament to the fact that people still long to feel a connection with those that they see on the screen everyday.
While it is true that award shows have their cons, such as being excruciatingly long, modern audiences shouldn’t write them off just yet. They are not only significant to those who work in the film industry, but they also contribute more to our culture than we think.