It’s time we stopped watching award shows

Sophie Oehler

Congratulations, everyone. We’ve officially made it to the end of “awards season,” a long and drawn out “season” of award shows and red carpets to celebrate the shining stars of Hollywood and their accomplishments.

I don’t pay much attention to awards season. I would not have been able to tell you any of the Oscar nominees before looking them up to write this article.

I did not follow the drama of the Grammys, save for watching my favorite YouTuber’s fashion review of the red carpet.

In all honesty, I don’t think the award shows are worthy of the hype and debate they receive.

They’re tired, overdone and white-washed, and no matter how much we protest them, it doesn’t seem they will be changing anytime soon.

At the Oscars, Cynthia Erivo is the only person of color nominated for an individual award. At the Grammys last week, Billie Eilish, a white teenager from LA, took home five awards in the six main categories.

Tyler the Creator gave a well-put acceptance speech questioning why the only category he was nominated for was a rap category, even though in all other aspects of life his music identifies as pop.

And it’s true. African American artists shouldn’t be reserved just for the urban music categories, and they should certainly get more than one leading actress nomination.

I liken the award show season to a very pretentious hipster who has just been asked for music recommendations.

Unless the content in question is philosophical, thought provoking, and produced by a white man, it won’t get the recognition it deserves.

Because if you look at Oscar nominees and winners over the years, you’ll notice some common trends.

Films about people of color are almost always nominated if they depict the suffering of the minority community.

Whether it’s the heart wrenching tragedy of “Twelve Years a Slave,” or the disturbing mind twist of “Get Out,” it seems that the only place we’ll see success for black cinematographers is in a tragedy.

And yet, no matter how many spaghetti westerns Quentin Tarantino makes with Leonardo DiCaprio, somehow we’ll usually see his name up in lights at the Academy Awards.

It’s the same reason why Beyoncé did not receive Album of the Year for “Lemonade” and why Tyler the Creator has been branded with the title of Best Rap Album.

We have a preconceived notion of what black creators can win at. If you don’t walk out of a film that was directed by a person of color with a tear-streaked face and have a debate about racism on the car ride home, it won’t be noticed at the Oscars.

Unless Lizzo stops making body positive bangers about her pride in black heritage, she’ll never see the kind of success Eilish saw at this year’s Grammys.

It’s time we stopped giving award season the attention it so seldom deserves. Because in the long run, it doesn’t really matter. The music that sustains is forever.

No one will ever be happy with the Grammy nominees or winners. There will always be the argument of “Lana Del Rey walked so Billie could run” and “How can so-and-so win, when so-and-so did this?”

So I’ll give you some advice that my mother once told me when my younger brother began his favorite activity of annoying me until I screamed.

“Just ignore him. He’ll get tired eventually.”

If we focus our attention elsewhere, the award shows and their stuffy boards of washed up white men and their judgemental opinions will slowly fade from pop culture.

Stream your favorite artists, whoever they might be. You’re still supporting them both metaphorically and economically, and they will be able to see their stream counts climb and know their work is being well received.

Let the popularity contests become obsolete, and appreciate music and movies for what they really are: art.

I won’t be watching the Oscars anymore. Instead, I’ll be curled up on the couch watching “Hidden Figures” with my dog, and waiting for YouTubers Cody Ko and Kelsey Kreppel to roast Timothée Chalamet’s taste in tuxedos.

I suggest you do the same.