I Liked It Better When There Were Just the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Tonys, and Maybe the Golden Globes
I liked it better when there were just the Oscars (a.k.a., the AcademyAwards distributed to feature films), the Emmys (for television), the Grammys (music), the Tonys (Broadway) and maybe the Golden Globes (a smorgasbord of entertainment categories).
I say “maybe,” with regard to the Globes because, back in the day, when I was growing up in the 1960s and the 1970s, no one really knew what they were or where to find them because the show was usually telecast on some obscure syndicated TV channel at some obscure late-night time slot, sometimes at late or as early as 3:00 in the morning.
Strange as it seems during that era of obscure Golden Globes screenings, that’s also when award shows used to mean something; when they would be held, hosted and subsequently aired for all right reasons and fun entertainment purposes that they were usually intended. For the mainstream viewers to see, be aghast with, or joke about; so that audiences could watch, be shocked by, and smile at what they saw and heard because they were given a chance to do so, with room and at least a few months to breathe before the next award show would come along.
Like any good thing, it was all done in moderation.
Way, way back in the day, before television became the thoughtless, selfish child of radio and motion pictures, the first round of Academy Awards were distributed in some elegant hotel or facility in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, or the like, by sophisticated movie stars (like Clark Gable, Kathryn Hepburn, and the like) dressed to the nines (and tens!), which allowed them I guess to at least be perceived as sophisticated.
Today, we have shows like The CW Dog Honors, which said-network-in-the-title recently aired and was hosted by Mario Lopez. I’m no canine-hater, and certainly, Mario Lopez is no dog (God bless ‘em), but come on, man — really? An award show for dogs? Ok, celebrities and their dogs? But still? Really?! Seriously??!!
It’s bad enough that we have to watch, as Ellen DeGeneres so pristinely mused a few years back (while hosting the Emmy telecast), a bunch of millionaire celebrities giving each other awards. But now the genre has literally gone to the dogs.
Listen: it’s a wonderful thing to be acknowledged for a job well done. I think each of us at one point or another have known that feeling, whether we won, earned, or were nominated for the Employee of the Month, etc, or whether we finally received our licenses to drive (no matter how many times we had to take the written or road test). But something gets lost in the translation along the road to that success when any form of accolade is frequently acknowledged on any regular basis with a tuxedo and some inordinate design of a strange little golden or silver statute.
I probably reached my breaking point a couple of decades back when the director of an Awards show was nominated for directing an Awards show.
That was it. I was like, “Oh, for the love of Heaven! Now, they’re giving out awards for award shows?!”
Again — I have no issue with giving or receiving a periodic pat on the back every once in a while. No matter the industry, it’s important to acknowledge a job well done. Everyone from Benjamin Franklin to Oprah Winfrey has told us that. But when it comes to the Emmys, the Oscars, the Grammys, the Tonys and yes, still maybe the Golden Globes, having any other awards shows telecast on what seems like (and probably is) a weekly basis, dilutes the honor of it all.
Ricky Gervais, and his recent terrific tirade as host of the Golden Globes, perceived delightfully or deadly, depending on where you sit on the fence of his agenda, may or may not have warmed the hearts of millions when he told Hollywood where to stick it. But man o’ man did he make a point.
Yes, Gervais has nowhere near the debonair manner, tact or style of the past Bob Hopes and Johnny Carsons of the world, and the way they used to guide award shows on TV with panache and grace. And despite the fact that I am personally offended by Gervais as a performer, I respect his and everyone’s right for freedom of expression and speech — and dang it, the truth is the truth:
Hollywood does take itself much, much too seriously. The entertainment community does reward itself much too frequently and it does think way too highly of itself on an overtly-regular basis. Moreso, and especially in the midst of essentially the world falling apart, and other major crises like global hunger and homeless expanding beyond measure.
The triple irony, of course, is that many award shows are produced in facilities located in upscale communities like Santa Monica and Beverly Hills, and hosted and attended by millionaires who do or try or at least say they do much for countless social causes.
As an NBC page in the 1980s, I worked more than a few glitzy award shows and charity events that were attended by any number of Hollywood royalty. And I would always marvel at the amount of money spent on the wardrobe and limousine rentals alone; dollars that could otherwise or be better spent or given away to the hungry and the feeble.
I remember one disturbing interaction in particular that I observed one late night, working the lines outside for one of these events. The host of the show, who shall remain nameless, proved his true ilk when an alleged associate of theirs had approached me while I guarding the backstage door. “Would you please talk with So-and-So and ask them if they could loan me a few dollars? We’ve been friends forever, and I really need their help.”
This literally-poor individual then handed me a note and asked me to pass it along to the celebrity in question. I then did so, through the celebrity’s assistant, who then got back with me with instructions to ignore the poor soul on the street.
And you know what? Whether or not that poor soul was telling the truth, whether or not he really knew the celebrity-host of the event is not the point.
The point is this: that poor soul needed help and the celebrity who was hosting a charity event for all the world to see could not find it in their heart to practice what they were speeching at the podium to howls of laughter and acceptance from the audience.
Maybe if overt-Hollywood-types and other self-absorbed multi-millionaires would stop patting themselves on the back and more legitimately start caring about things and people that matter more than themselves, not only would we have less award shows, but we might also have more money distribution shows for the poor who can’t even afford a TV monitor or any kind of mobile device with which to watch TV shows, movies, or with which to listen to music recorded by popular by recording stars or Broadway shows.
Yeah. The world would definitely be a better place by having fewer Oscars, Emmys, Tonys, Grammys, and yes, Golden Globes, and more food, clothing, and shelters.