The February awards shows have inconsistent criteria

The February awards shows have inconsistent criteria

For those of us that are enamored with sports, music and movies, February is the month that represents the ultimate culmination of the best that each dimension of American pop culture has to offer.

In the span of four weeks, national television offers us the Super Bowl, NBA All-Star game, Grammys and Oscars.

However, there is a reason that the Super Bowl is guaranteed to supersede all of the other aforementioned programs every year, aside than the fact that it is one of the indispensable cruxes of America’s identity.

Unlike the Grammys or the Oscars, the winners of the evening are (probably) not determined by a small, elite committee of individuals with their own agendas prior to the actual event. That is why the Super Bowl attracts viewers ranging from the most ravenous of football fanatics to suburban soccer moms. A large amount of the entertainment is derived from the knowledge that the competitors’ athletic merit, the coaches’ complementary intelligence and a little bit of luck will be the only factors that determine the winners.

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Now obviously I’m not suggesting that we should try to translate this approach to the Grammys or the Oscars by having Chance the Rapper and Kanye West try to out-rap each other on stage, or have Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis act out a scene in front of the audience to determine who wins the coveted award. Though such a process would be beyond captivating, it is not practical.

My primary issue with the February awards shows, and the reason that I am writing this article, is that the decisions that the voters have made, especially for the awards for significant categories, have been laughably inconsistent. For example: this year, Adele won the award for Album of the Year at the Grammys for her recently released and smash success record, “25.”

However, the consensus among the listening public and music critics alike was that Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” was unequivocally the superior album. It was so good that Rolling Stone gave it a five Star rating, even though Beyoncé is not an old, white rock icon that nobody cares about anymore.

People blamed this travesty on several circumstances, including Adele’s higher album sales, her “comeback” to the music industry and media racism (Lemonade, a transcendent work in 21st century music, only took home the award for “Best Urban Contemporary Album”) for contributing to the Grammy’s decision. But I think it just further accentuates the trend of awards shows making random choices. To show you what I mean, just nine years ago, Herbie Hancock beat out established superstar acts The Foo Fighters, Kanye West and Amy Winehouse to take home Album of the Year.

Unless you’re 50 years old or a major jazz enthusiast, you probably have no idea who Herbie Hancock is. That’s not to say he wasn’t a commendable victor, but his competitors were all embodiments of musical superstardom and lost.

Yet this year we saw the Grammy committee giving the Album of the Year to a record based on its ubiquity rather than its quality, just like when Titanic beat out LA Confidential for Best Picture at The Oscars 20 years ago.

My point is, can we really consider these award shows “esteemed” if the criteria for winning is randomized every year? Frankly, it seems like those Onion articles satirizing the selection process at award shows is becoming more accurate by the year.

Will people still watch? Of course, but should they consider a Grammy or Oscar to be a legitimate award? I think you could argue the answer is no.

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