While watching the Academy Awards last night my kids wanted to know the purpose for all the awards ceremonies. “Tell me again what the Grammys are for?” said one son. “And how is that different from the Tonys and the Golden Globes?” said son number two. “Is it an Oscar or an Academy Award if you win?” pondered son number three. The conversation ultimately led to the most profound question of the night, “What does it all mean and why are we watching?” The truth is nothing really. These shows simply offer us eye candy and entertainment.
The Oscars were started in 1929 as an out-of-the-public-eye industry recognition event. They have morphed over the years to be a great publicity opportunity for the movie industry. Proof of the benefit lies in the after-bounce that winning movies receive in ticket sales and the profit that clothing and jewelry labels receive if their creations are recognized as being worn by a particular star. Tell us Jennifer Lawrence, is that Dior you are wearing? Anne Hathaway, is that necklace Tiffany? The stars and their evening looks enter the zeitgeist in the form of pictures, videos and tweets
Admittedly, I love watching and had always assumed that one billion other people did too. The number one billion has been quoted for years as the world-wide audience of the Oscars but apparently this is way off the mark. The International Business Times had the following to say about the audience watching:
“In 1998, the Academy Awards U.S. audience peaked at 55 million. Since then, U.S. viewers have declined. From 2001 to 2012, the U.S. audience has hovered between 32 million and 43 million U.S. viewers, according to Deadline Hollywood…The Oscars are less relevant to a younger audience, because movies in general are less relevant,” said a Monday morning editorial in the Sydney Morning Herald. “Young people watch other screens: they play computer games, watch less television, download movies rather than go to them, and those they do watch are not those the Oscars celebrate. Most of the academy voters, numbering just under 6,000, are over 50.’ ”
This explanation is certainly corroborated in my house by the under-19-year olds and the over-the-50s. However, I will keep watching, whether I am one of the 50 million or 1 billion. The awards ceremonies are fun and worth a few laughs.
The tongue-in-cheek Razzies Awards underscore this sentiment by mocking the Oscars. The Razzies award the worst movie performances of the year the night before the Oscars. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 had the dis-honorable distinction of capturing 7 out of 10 categories including Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Kristen Stewart) and Worst Supporting Actor (Taylor Lautner). Albeit a little insulting, at least these actors can laugh all the way to the bank as the film has already garnered over $800 million in ticket sales world-wide.
Yesterday for our family Academy Awards viewing party my hair was “styled” by rainy dog-walk, my “outfit” was a rolled up pair of jeans and a baggy sweater and my make-up was Saturday-night-smudge. Love them or hate them, shows like the Oscars are entertaining and a reminder not to take everything so seriously.
Carol Lewis Gullstad, February 25, 2013
- Razzies put bite on “Twilight” as worst picture (cbsnews.com)