Discrimination and bias in prizes
By Cazzy Lewchuk, Staff Writer
It’s the first few months of the year, and that means awards season. The Grammys, showcasing the best in the music business, aired February 8 and the Oscars are upcoming, showing us what the best movie performances and productions of 2014 were. Whether it’s TV, theatre, music, movies, or any other type of entertainment, there are multiple award ceremonies showcasing the “best” of them.
Every year, awards are filled with controversy and disagreement. Beck caused an uproar when he won best album over Beyoncé at the Grammys this year. The Lego Movie, widely praised by audiences and critics alike, wasn’t even nominated for Best Animated Film, in what many claimed was a “snub.”
The Oscars are not decided by the majority of movie audiences, they are decided by the Academy, a selective group of mostly older white men. Most award shows are decided this way (indeed, almost everything is decided by the wishes of that demographic). A true representation of audiences is difficult to find. It’s even harder to come up with a consensus among a diverse group.
Art is subjective. TV, movies, and music are all general mediums with so much diversity. Everyone has different tastes in their entertainment, so the definitions of what makes a “best” artist are debatable. It’s hard to define what even constitutes something as being “good.” Who can decide what the greatest thing of a time is? Perhaps all works are equally deserving. Perhaps the winner is something not nominated. But we all have a different opinion on that.
As anyone who has attempted it can tell you, art is extremely difficult to create and make interesting. Mainstream entertainment pieces are usually worked on by hundreds if not thousands of people, and everyone should be commended for devoting months, if not years, of hard work. That’s not to say achievements shouldn’t be recognized. There’s just too much emphasis placed on the awards instead of the art itself.
It says a lot that the award winners are forgotten almost as quickly as the movies. Do you remember who won Best New Song or Best Actor two years ago? (Who says “We Are Young” is better than “Call Me Maybe?” Does it matter?) But you probably remember some really great movies or songs from that year, regardless of how many awards they won.
The entertainment field is filled with thousands of hard-working individuals, all of whom create quality art. Some of the most dedicated singers in the world are people whose voices you will never hear. Some of the greatest movies ever made are ones you will never watch. It’s impossible to define what makes something truly “great” and even more so on whether it’s greater than another piece. It’s all a matter of opinion, and that’s all an awards show is: a select group of peoples’ opinions.
Take a look at the award predictions before any major ceremony. Each pick will be slightly different, and the winners will always surprise many. In the end, it really doesn’t matter who wins. It’s just a piece of metal at the end of it all.
What was the true best movie of 2014? It’s an easy answer: whichever 2014 movie happened to be your favourite. Only one person can decide art, and that’s the person who is enjoying it at the time.