It's Time To End Controversial Award Ceremonies - The Oscars

Are televised award ceremonies still relevant in this day and age? Or are we pandering to and massaging egos that already have so much?
Will Smith Slapping Chris Rock
The moment that distracted the world  Source: Los Angeles Times

The Oscars Thrive on Controversy 

Actors receive a lot of recognition and money for doing a job that they love. They don't need an awards ceremony every year that soothes already overinflated egos.

Covid 19 showed the world just how imbalanced and misplaced our appreciation and idolatry are. It showed us that the real heroes in this world are the doctors, nurses, and key workers that keep humanity in its lofty position. We were reliant on these brave men and women who still remain nameless after the fact. The actors and famous people of the world were reduced to webcam appearances to keep their profiles alive.

Now here we are back to the poor 'normal' where an actor acted better than another actor and got a gold award on top of their money, fame and reputation. Not the unnamed nurse working 48 hour shifts, risking catching a deadly unknown disease and passing it on to her loved ones when he or she finally got home.

We were given a glimpse into how the importance of certain jobs ought to be paid better than those of superfluous entertainers. We wanted to get back to normal even though the normal we know is wrong. It's flawed.

Ricky Gervais at 2021 Oscars
Ricky Gervais at the 2021 Oscars  Source: People

The recent controversy with Will Smith is proof of an over-inflated ego. The Oscars enjoy the publicity and controversy it generates every year, whether it's positive or negative. In the absence of Ricky Gervais' 'against the grain' comments, the public humiliation Chris Rock will do.

As we all know unless you've been living under a rock Chris Rock presented the Oscars and made a passive joke about Jada Pinkett Smiths' shaved head stating he was 'looking forward to 'GI Jane 2' ', where the titular character had a shaved head.

Pinkett Smith suffers from alopecia so shaved her head voluntarily. It was a tactless comment that obviously embarrassed and hurt her. Not everyone can be expected to take a joke: no one knows how sensitive we are about our appearances, and it can be brave just to step outside sometimes.

Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars
Jada Pinkett Smith at the Oscars  Source: sheknows

Those who live in the public eye know well enough that their appearance is open to close scrutiny in the press. That's not to say that anything goes and that they should tolerate all criticism, but a certain level of 'thick skin' is expected, so as not to get pulled down by negative social media comments.

Will Smith obviously knows about his wife's struggle and was rightfully moved and offended by the comment. The problem lies in his conduct. A grave head shake to Chris could have deterred the comedian from making any more mention of the issue, or taking him aside in private. Nonetheless, he's seen red and what happened happened, and no doubt the Oscars were relishing the attention. 

That's assuming it was even real. It may well be a publicity stunt. Will was laughing at the joke at the time and maybe missed his cue. 

Everyone is welcome to their split opinions of Will Smith defending his wife, or that he could have handled it better and in a private setting, but for Will to go on and win best actor was a downright endorsement of his behaviour from The Oscars. He should have been escorted off the premises and the award be given to one of the other nominees.

The fact that he wasn't shows exactly what the Oscars really care about: ratings. Trending. Hashtags. Anything to generate its self-importance in a world that is becoming increasingly aloof and detached from seeing the undeserving receiving even more recognition.

Adele at the Brit Awards 2022
Are televised award shows even about the contenders any more? Or just made for the sake of ratings?  Image source: Sky News

It's not just the Oscars. Brit awards, Mobos, TV awards, Baftas, all these ceremonies should be disbanded. Replaced with life-saving awards, climate change engineer awards, and to people who truly make a difference in changing the greedy status quo of humanity. Let's publicise and idolise those who deserve it, to promote a healthier image of what the term 'celebrity' should mean.

Celebrities also receive knighthoods from the Queen of England just to keep the tradition going. The title of 'Sir' is given to mediocre celebrities just for the sake of recognition rather than any notable services to the country, and this follows in the same vein as the Oscars for its needlessness.

Ant and Dec receive a knighthood
Knighthoods are given out to anybody these days  Source: BBC

Will Smith's behaviour has lost a lot of respect from his fans, but it's really a message of how entitled the 1% think they can conduct themselves to others. These ceremonies only endorse and inflate these egos unnecessarily and should be boycotted. Interestingly, it's the very person whom Will was 'defending' who also proposed boycotting the Oscars in the first place.

Indeed Jada Pinkett Smith slammed the Oscars for 'whitewashing', where white actors were winning most or all of the awards. Since then, these ceremonies have had to give awards and nominations out to all races equally, regardless of performance.

This means that the most deserving person might lose out on an award because of their particular race, Black or white. This makes these ceremonies obsolete anyway if they have to pander to a certain ratio.

The movie La La Land lost the best film award in 2017 in favour of Moonlight because of its all-black cast. Moonlight was a great film but nowhere near as good as La La Land in terms of cinematic execution. This envelope mix up was another ridiculous controversial stunt contrived by the powers-that-be backstage. The Oscars have become a farce by losing the intention of what it was invented for. 

The Oscars Best Picture Mix Up
The monumental f*ck up at the 2017 Oscars, another example of its' vanity  Source: BBC

Will Smiths' long-winded speech and crocodile tears about 'God working through him' to 'shine a light' were the ravings of an entitled madman, reminiscent of Kanye's breakdown in his Presidency campaign speech the other year.

He (Will) apologised to certain bodies, but he should have apologised to the fans who look up to him and more importantly to Chris Rock. Wills' ravings about being a 'protector' and 'defender' were not enough to condone his thuggish actions. 

The Oscars' late response in banning Will from attending for ten years was far too late in coming and only in response to outraged social media.

Ultimately the Oscars are irrelevant for praising the wrong fraternity, and teaching the younger generation that it's more beneficial to become a famous actor than it is to be an underpaid and unthanked doctor.

We need to teach our children that entitlement does not grant us permission to act violently, and that these ceremonies in their callous persistence to stay relevant abolish these teachings.

Jason is a freelance content writer living in Nottinghamshire whose preferred topics are movie/game reviews and climate change.

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