Award shows have the tendency to have a reputation of being pretty boring. You switch on to see some random person in a suit or ball gown; stood behind a small finger print marked glass stand poised over a microphone, stuttering a list of people’s names we don’t know. They are usually awkward to watch and you find yourself rolling your eyes and yawning the majority of the ceremony at the over rehearsed lame jokes. Yet we still watch them.
I don’t know about you, but when I turn on the TV and select to watch award shows like the Oscars, the Grammy’s or the BAFTA’S. I am choosing to watch this because I’m expecting to hear acceptance speeches from the artists, actors and actresses, producers and screen writers and so on… thanking their loved ones and their role models and colleagues for helping them win the awards while clutching their shiny ornaments.
I think people watch these, like me, to see the ‘glitz and the glam’ and to get a tiny glimpse of their favourite actor sitting down in a Tom Ford suit talking and laughing to another famous actor. We watch them to get a feel of what it’s like to be in the world of the arts and entertainment.
I also choose to watch these awards because I’m intrigued to hear about the person accepting the award, about their life, their work history, how they got into the industry. Why they wanted to become an actor or where they found the inspiration to write a script for a film that had a budget of $30 million. I don’t however, really care about their political view or wish to hear them try to be inspirational about something they don’t know enough about. Do we really care what ‘celebrities’ think? Or do the majority of the public watching sigh and eye-roll at them.
So, I was watching the BAFTA’S the other night because I was quite interested in seeing what films and actors and actresses would win accolades and also to see what outfits the woman had chosen to wear at the glamorous event, because that’s what people really want to see!
After 20 minutes in I was already eye-rolling at the host, Stephen Fry who was littering jokes about Donald Trump and Brexit while introducing the next person to present an award. I thought, fine I expect this from Stephen Fry being a known Labour supporter and activist, he’s bound to throw sly digs while he gets air time. But come on, there’s a time and place. We don’t need it shoved down our throats, we have enough of this when we turn on the news or pick up a news paper lately.
Film is related to fiction mostly and imaginary stories where we can escape and fixate for a couple of hours, it’s not the real world. We want to hear about film, not politics. I understand that what’s going on in our political world is a hot topic right now but can’t we keep these award shows cheesey, awkward and fluffy? Why so serious?
Emma Stone won best leading actress for La La Land. She started her speech the usual way; thanking the people she had worked with on the film, I don’t know if she was nervous but I was expecting more from her about her time on set and how much she enjoyed the role but was disappointed as she repeated something similar to Damien’s (Director of La La Land) words and then she goes and adds this: ‘ I don’t know if you have realised this but right now this country (Brexit) and the U.S (Trump) and the world seems to be going through a time, just a bit. And in a time that’s so divisive, I think it’s really special that we could come together tonight thanks to BAFTA, to celebrate the positive.. *starts losing words* erm, the positive gift of creativity and how it can transcend borders and how it can help people feel a little less alone’.
I don’t really know how to feel about her making jibes about politics while accepting a BAFTA. Yes ,the UK voted to leave the European Union, yes, the U.S voted Trump as president. I don’t see how mentioning ‘how we are going through a bit of a time’ helps. It turned a special moment which should have been all about her into a negative thing. I know Emma has won multiple awards prior to this one and probably runs out of things to say at acceptance speeches, but what happened to simplicity? Just a smile and thank you would have done to finish off the speech surely? Do people in the entertainment industry feel they have a responsiblity to say things and try to be inspirational while coming across like you don’t have a clue what you’re saying? I wonder if they feel pressured to compete with each other to voice their opinions and feel empowered doing so. And do we honestly really care what they think? They could dig themselves in holes trying to make bold statements about current affairs as now there’s a high possibility they will get asked topical questions and their opinions in interviews, which could make them look uneducated and stupid.
The only exception was Ken Loach’s acceptance speech slamming the government for over both refugee treatment and unemployment policy being the Director of – I, Daniel Blake – a realist, raw British film about a 59-year-old man who after having a serious heart attack with after effects and advised not to work over both refugee treatment and unemployment policy. Ken directed a film about a real life ongoing issue in Britain. He has done his research and obviously felt passionately about this. He didn’t write an all singing all dancing love story.