Are the Golden Globes, Oscars, and other awards shows relevant beyond the red carpet in 2020?
Style over substance
This year's Golden Globes prove that the traditional awards show format desperately needs to change — or risk imminent death. Sure, Awkwafina made history by becoming the first woman of Asian descent to win in the 'Lead Actress in a Comedy' category and Korean flick Parasite picked up 'Best Foreign Film', and yet, there was an undeniable sense that the presentation was out of touch with the times.
It's no surprise then that viewership for film and television's biggest awards shows have been steadily declining over the years. Last year, according to NBC, the Golden Globes received 18.6 million viewers, which was the smallest audience for the show in three years. Not even the industry's most esteemed event, the Academy Awards, has been spared; it suffered one of its lowest ever ratings in 2018.
Why are fewer people caring each year? Well, one reason might be that these awards shows don't reflect mainstream viewing habits and sentiments. One of the most popular TV series of the 2010s, HBO's Game of Thrones, for instance, has only picked up a single award at the Golden Globes to date, which was back in 2012 when actor Peter Dinklage won for 'Best Supporting Actor'. It would be interesting to see if 2019's biggest movie, Avengers Endgame, receives any nominations at this year's Oscars when the results are revealed on 22 January.
Adequate representation has also plagued the awards shows consistently over the years. This year, filmmaker Greta Gerwig was snubbed for her outstanding work in Little Women, which resulted in an all-male 'Best Director' category for the fifth year in a row. Shockingly, only three women have been nominated in the 'Best Director' category in the past twenty years at the Golden Globes.
Efforts have been made to adapt and keep up with the times. In 2018, the Oscars governing body sought to increase diversity by inviting a record 928 new members, of which 49 per cent were females while 38 per cent were people of colour. The change made its mark at the 2019 Oscars when 10 people of colour snagged awards.
Nominees have also attempted to inject some sort of relevance to the presentation through their speeches. At the 2020 Golden Globes, the raging bushfires in Australia were mentioned by Russell Crowe, Ellen DeGeneres, Patricia Arquette, Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, and host Ricky Gervais to name a few alongside hints at the impending 2020 election in the U.S. as well as the country's strained relations with Iran.
Don't get us wrong; if there's one thing we love about the awards season, it has to be the memes. Who could forget Chrissy Tiegan's epic crying face back in 2015? This year, beloved actor Tom Hanks had the honour of, not just receiving the 'Lifetime Achievement Award', but he became the meme of the night when he reacted awkwardly to Gervais' hard-hitting opening monologue.
The harsh reality is, no one looks to the awards show to direct their next choice on Netflix. After all, the streaming giant's most watched film in 2019 was the B-grade comedy Murder Mystery, which stars Jennifer Aniston and Adam Sandler.
Yet, millions around the world revel in the glamour that these awards show offer, so it would be a pretty dark day when the Golden Globes gets cancelled. Streamlining an endless list of categories, opening up the voting process to the public, and trimming down the tiresome three-hour duration of the show — there are plenty of ways that these awards presentations can evolve in the future. In the meantime, we can only look towards indie film festivals such as Sundance and TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival), which have managed to retain their prestige without any of that glamorous pretense.
If you care, the 92nd Academy Awards will be held on 9 February 2020.
Buro 24/7 Selection