Are Award Shows Relevant?

Matthew Kelly, Staff Writer

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Award shows have always seemed to be encompassed with the cultural agenda of the day, intertwined with the opinion of the award winner, too long, and too inaccurate. There is no debate that these award shows matter; on average films gross an extra $3 million after winning an Oscar and their name will forever be preceded by the words “Oscar winner”. This isn’t bad, it provides a platform for artists and actors to receive their deserved recognition.

While most selections remain unharmed, a few are destined to be torn apart. Criticizing the results of major award shows has become quite the tradition, consistently gathering public outcry on social media. These selections are often times ridiculed for the lack of relevance to the field or a clear desire to cater to popular appeal. Longtime Grammy producer Ken Ehrlich said, “I’d like to think that the field we play in is still musically rooted. And it probably doesn’t always wind up that way. I’ll be the first to admit that.”

While the Grammys have always been a pinata for critics, the Grammys neglect of hip hop has become too apparent. Not only is hip hop now the world’s most popular genre but it has been the driving force behind pop culture for the last 25 years. The Academy’s desire to cater to popular appeal over relevance became painfully obvious in 2018 when Kendrick Lamar’s DAMN. took the back seat to Bruno Mars’ 24k Magic. Lemar would win a Pulitzer Prize for the album and it was described by the Pulitzer board as “a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.” So what does the Academy have to say about 24k Magic? They said, “With 24K Magic, Mars set out to create a ’90s-esque dance party album worthy of the celebratory atmosphere the GRAMMY-winner creates while in the studio.”

So are Award shows relevant; no they aren’t, at least as long as a “‘90’s-esque dance party” album receives more recognition than the first hip hop album to win a Pulitzer Prize.