a novel by JOHN GRABOWSKI

Awards time

Welsey Shaw has never won an Academy Award.

The consensus is she’s too young (27) for one. She has won just about every other honor out there.

I even had a mention of a trophy shelf in her apartment with a stand in the center marked by the words “reserved for future Oscar.” But I cut this little reference in the final draft.

How important are awards to stars? Very. A few years ago Claire Danes was accepting such fluff honors as the “Satellite” Award and recognition at the Maui Film Festival, is now basking in multiple Golden Globes and the Emmy. I’ll bet her fee has gone up astronomically, too.

But it seems we are obsessed with showering awards. There are simply too many, diluting the prestige of said awards. You could make a career out of just attending awards ceremonies. It seems some stars do. You know the type: you say to yourself when you see them, “When was the last time s/he did anything?” Anything other than attend an awards show.

And while awards are supposedly about honoring the best, they have become, more and more, about everything other than quality. Politics tainting the handing out of statues is nothing new. Most of Hollywood booed each nomination for Citizen Kane as it was read aloud, and lesser films won that year instead, in every category except Original Screenplay. But more than ever, it seems politics and awards go hand-in-hand. How could it be otherwise when hundreds of millions of dollars can rest on a win?

As for me, I can’t remember—honestly—the last time I watched an Oscar telecast through. For one thing, there hasn’t been a good host since Johnny Carson, may he rest in peace. For another, and this is hardly a new complaint, the production numbers and so-called “production values” have long overshadowed the content itself. To make up for time, they cut acceptance speeches short. This started out as a good idea—I always winced when a star would thank their fifth grade teacher or come up and pretend to stammer for thirty seconds because they “didn’t really expect” to win*—but now the speeches are too short, while the musical numbers, tributes, comic routines and other annoying entertaining bits are still far far too long. And there are too many commercials. Seems there’s one after every presentation nowadays, meaning there is probably as much commercial content as program. No thanks.

And I don’t really care who wins. A number of prominent stars back in the 70s refused to participate in the Oscars. They said they felt it was meaningless to assign the title “best” to one nominee. Today, with careers being more fragile and more being up for grabs, as well as with the general lack of conviction displayed by practically everybody, people have pretty much stopped boycotting the awards. They smile and wave and act like they are happy to be there, because they want to work next year. Kind of takes all the fun out of it, if you ask me. Welsey would agree. But she’d go anyway.

*That cheeky little phony Madonna tried this just recently when she won a Golden Globe. No one believes your false modesty, Madge.
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