Eminentoes

And the Award Goes to… Sleep

American hustle never stops.

By 1.22.14

UPI
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It appears that Oscar season is once again upon us. Actually, Oscar season was upon us months ago when newspapers began printing their annual dope sheets on who would win best actor, costume, short subject, yadda-yadda. Oscar season is forever upon us.

Half the year now seems taken up with Oscars and Golden Globes and Directors and Screenwriters Guild awards of one kind and another. Scarcely a week goes by that does not include an awards ceremony of some sort — Country Music, People’s Choice, Critics’ Choice, Grammies, Emmys, Tonys, Blobbys, whatever. It would be hard to find anyone in Hollywood who hasn’t won some major award. You get one just for attending. It’s become a kids’ birthday party for grownups.

The Hollywood awards ceremonies long ago faded to black, for me anyway, and surveys show that fewer people watch them anymore. They’ve outlived their own hype. The only folks who still seem to care much are the gaga media, which spends vast amounts of ink, newsprint, and airtime to document the Best Everything.

Once upon a time, there was just the Academy Awards, hosted by Bob Hope or Johnny Carson, which held everyone’s attention for a night and graciously vanished for a year. Then the Golden Globes, a ragtag collection of overseas foreign entertainment editors, freeloaders, and hangers-on, decided to cash in on Oscar’s turf, and now the GGs threaten to eclipse the Oscars.

Even the red carpet fashion parades and after-parties are more interesting and newsworthy than the actual awards ceremonies. Can anyone recall who won a Golden Globe last week, or who got the Oscar last year for Best Actress?

The media badly needs copy that showbiz award fests gleefully provide. One senses that even Hollywood is pretty sick of these weekly awards bashes, but they play along because, hey, it’s self-promotion, more fun than a billboard or a big ad. Old Hollywood pros snicker at the events off-camera once all of the giddy, grinning hosts with hand mikes have moved onto the next glamorous, slightly bored, star.

People who actually watch the awards — mainly cheesy fan magazine readers — aren’t half as interested in who wins as they are in who delivers the weepiest or wackiest speech, one that, with any luck, will trigger a bleep and make the TV news and YouTube.

The acceptance speech has become an art form all its own — an audition clip, a chance to mount a sermon, crack up or make some cryptic remark nobody can comprehend. Extra points for bizarre hairdos, beards and busty gowns split to the knee.

The continual sight of movie, TV and recording stars doling out endless trophies to each other seems not just classless but redundant. You would think that being a pop celebrity with a monstrous salary and countless perks is enough of a daily award. It all seems a little like giving trophies to tycoons for being such fabulously rich people — “And the award this year for Best Summer House goes to…Arnold J. Magnate!” 

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About the Author

Gerald Nachman is the author of Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s, Raised on Radio and Right Here On Our Stage Tonight!: Ed Sullivan's America. He is currently working on a book about the great Broadway musical show-stoppers.