Award show nominations don’t seem to reflect the wide range of releases, opting to reward content that bends rules within expectations rather than rewarding bold choices. Of course, there are exceptions to this, like Sam Levinson’s critically acclaimed “Euphoria,” but ultimately the mainstream industry’s quest for awards doesn’t seem to reward visionaries. The recently released Golden Globe Award nominations only cement this.
I can’t write this article without addressing the fact that “Emily in Paris” received a nod while so many works went without recognition. As an Arts writer who covered “Emily in Paris” when it first came out, I can honestly say I am appalled. As I said in my initial review, “Emily in Paris” is full of “repetitive, superficial jokes” and doesn’t push the envelope in any regard. It seems insane that “Emily in Paris” would receive a nod over HBO Max’s “I May Destroy You” which, quite frankly, left me destroyed with its powerful narrative, creative editing and storytelling.
“I May Destroy You” was created by Michaela Coel (“Chewing Gum”), a groundbreaking Black writer, and the snub of her show has led to a discussion of the erasure of Black creators within the awards show space. Spike Lee’s “Da 5 Bloods” was also skipped over for nominations. Outside of the Golden Globes, The Weeknd was snubbed by the Grammys this year despite having numerous chart-topping songs. There’s an established pattern of Black creators being ignored by awards committees.
In fact, when Black creators do get nods, it’s frequently when they produce content explicitly about Black trauma and suffering; films like the much-acclaimed “12 Years a Slave” have been criticized as “trauma porn.” Stories of pain are certainly important to address, but it’s odd that stories about Black joy or introspective works by Black creators that aren’t explicitly about race or the Black experience aren’t met with the same open arms by awards committees. For full disclosure, I am not a Black person, so I’m not in the position to critique this, but it’s still clear there’s an issue within awards culture and Hollywood creative culture, as well as in our society in general.
So the question remains, do we even need award shows anymore? The general intent for award shows stemmed from a desire for critical acclaim from the lead creators in the media field, who we assume would have a better and more technical understanding of what exactly makes art good or visionary. However, we must acknowledge how industry giants in charge of nominations have an understanding based on past content and do not necessarily have a grasp of newer themes or ideas. Even if they are former visionaries, the concept of an awards show seems to be an inherently conservative concept rooted in tradition, not progression, which can often be antithetical to the concept of art and creation.
The Golden Globes award committee only has 89 voters, compared to the Academy Awards’ 8,500 member electorate — not that this means the Academy Awards has much better outcomes. So, while it’s meaningful to be recognized by credible people in your field, it seems like, time and time again, some truly valuable media is overlooked by nominators who don’t understand the direction art is heading and opting instead for vanilla, easy-to-digest series like “Emily in Paris.”
There’s no data reflecting who exactly makes up the 89 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press, but the results speak for themselves. If the nominations lack this much diversity and skip over stories that don’t fit outdated industry standards, why are we still watching?
Daily Arts Writer Sarah Rahman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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