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Monday, February 27, 2017

EGOTs for Egos?


Big name awards. Big shows. Red carpets. Who wore it best(s)/worst(s)? But are these award shows promoting fairness -- or just inflating already inflated egos?

This is a fight I don't have a dog in -- I rarely watch movies in the theatres. I like actors and actresses generally, but don't know crews or backstage people from extras. Everyone could wear black suits and pants on a sound-stage with a green-screen and I would probably still be invested in the actions, adventures, period dramas, comedies -- whatever they wanted to put before me.

As an author, specifically one who indie-publishes on a shoestring of less than $100 per book, I understand that awards help spread word of your work. But for the big winners of last night's award show -- didn't the box office do that?

But I listen to the celebrities who get up and accept these awards. They appear floored to receive them. They really do need the validation IN ADDITION TO their box office success and the fact that they are celebrities and that they have publicists and make-up artists and costume designers and acting coaches and people who supported them -- not just allowed them, but financially SUPPORTED them -- following their dreams. Awards ceremony winners experience such a high. It must be incredible.

But then there are all the people who don't win. Who never win. Who never get nominated. Who never get noticed. There are people involved in scandal and people whose work doesn't get noticed because the names in top billing are involved in scandal. For every highly paid and highly glamorized celebrity icon, there are hundreds and thousands of poor dreamers who are never going to amount to anything in Hollywood or on Broadway. Winning is as much luck and politics as actual politics.

Since we're not going to stop doing award shows, we need to consider more categories. We need stronger minority representation. And we need to stop comparing apples to oranges. La La Land and Moonlight (I have seen promos of both but the entirety of neither) were created for different audiences. Different things make them GOOD. And neither film, from what I understand, is simply GOOD. So maybe we need categories for best fantasy film, best historical realism, best movie to make you cry and best film for laughs? Why do we need to declare one fruit of our labor to be the best? So what if judges want apples one day, oranges the second, and lemons the day after? Should one show get to sweep the whole fruit basket?

While we are adding categories, perhaps it is time to add gender-non-conforming to actor and actress categories. But that creates other questions. When a cis-person plays a transgender role, what category would they belong to? And while I'm asking ridiculous questions: is it more difficult for a straight actor to perform a gay character than for a gay actor to portray a straight character? And should we recognize that? I say we need to because some actors get typecast and then have difficulty getting away from certain roles. Careers can be damaged from coming out -- or going back in -- and shouldn't this difficulty be recognized?

How can we support all in the arts with award shows that clearly designate winners and not-even-nominateds? How do we get rid of gender categories all together without returning to a world where only white men win? I know we will keep having award shows as long as people watch them, pay to have them broadcast on TV, and as long as actors and actresses seek validation. Still, I wonder -- are we are missing the point?
Images above are courtesy Pixabay, where attribution is not required. That said, Pixabay and its contributors have no foreknowledge of my opinion or article and are free to not agree or not be associated with the content found here.

Phyl Campbell is Author, Mother, Dreamer, and Dr. Pepper addict. Right now, she's in over her head.                    

Other articles of interest:
Finding Pink Elephants
A Muse Meant
Quick and Dirty Publishing Guide     

     Check out her author page on Amazon.