When we say awards season, we generally think about the glamorous red carpet looks and interviews, about the winners addressing significant issues in inspirational speeches, about the shows themselves as pieces of entertainment. What we seem to forget, however, is the essence of this season. It doesn’t matter solely based for the commentary on the things I’ve just mentioned. It matters because it sets in stone tomorrow’s classics; it highlights the greatest pieces of art released over the previous year.
The idea itself of competition in art raises a few questions, as two pieces of art will always be inherently different. For instance, films have different plots, characters, intentions, so how can we possibly compare them objectively? However, we always attempt to, probably from an innate human wish to find the best.
The Oscars, the Golden Globes, the Grammys: they gather people who know art well enough to relevantly criticise it to select which song, album, actor, actress, director, film, soundtrack is the best according to their criteria. And even if we have our opinions and favourites (most probably selected subjectively, as much as we try to deny it), we look up to what these people say because they are on that committee for a reason and should be able to make an informed decision as objectively as possible.
Do we question those decisions? Most probably. Do they surprise us or are they sometimes incredibly predictable? That also happens. There will always be underrated or overrated films, actors or musicians. We will never completely agree with the people who decide who gets which award, and we don’t need to. These decisions make us think. They make us analyse our own criteria, they make us watch those films or listen to those songs which have won and wonder: why has this won? Why is this performance better than the other one? Awards season matters because it directs everyone towards films and TV shows and music for a while, bringing them in the spotlight in times when all kinds of issues take up our time and energy.
From another perspective, awards season has a powerful impact not only on the ones who watch from home, but also on the ones who create. Directors, writers, actors, singers, designers… For them, awards season means recognition of their merits after what must have been years of hard work and dedication. No matter the kind of award ceremony (be it based on votes from the people or associations like the Academy or the Hollywood Foreign Press), the thrill of being nominated and awarded for their work is incomparable, it means that they’re closer to achieving a lifelong dream, or even living the dream!
The whole world happily remembers a very emotional Leonardo DiCaprio winning his very first Oscar last year after four nominations. Although everyone knew how good an actor Leo is with or without an Oscar, the pure joy of the dream (which wasn’t only his at that point anymore) that finally became reality is one we will always remember.
This is what awards season is beneath the layers of glitter and celebrity hype: it is the time when art is seen and artists are heard by all of us; the time when dreams come true; the time when history is made. And I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year’s season brings!