Pop Culture

Romero: Formulaic award shows continue to draw mass viewers, create easy conversation

While we’re writing our last papers and finishing off term papers, Hollywood is just getting into the swing of things. Yes, awards season is only getting started. Although the shows won’t start until January, Hollywood is already prepping.

There’s months of hype and speculation going into awards season. But, when you really think about it, no one outside the biz is affected. But besides some harmless small talk and pretty dresses, a three-hour telecast is a lot for anyone to look forward to.

But, people really do love water-cooler talk. It’s awkward to be the only person in class or at the office that doesn’t know the big news from the night before. Watching the Oscars or the Golden Globes gives anyone something to mention before the professor starts talking.

“Hey, did you see that Jonah Hill totally got snubbed yesterday? I love that guy!”

Entertainment authorities like The Hollywood Reporter have kicked off their week-by-week forecasts. Hopeful nominees are schmoozing with the best of them at screenings. Nominations for two major shows — the Screen Actor’s Guild and the Golden Globes — will be announced in less than two weeks.

If Jennifer Lawrence, star of the super buzzy “Silver Lining Playbook” and front-runner for Best Actress wins across the board, didn’t appear so calm, I would say she’s probably having heart palpitations right now.

This year’s 84th Academy Awards’ telecast drew in even more viewers than the 83rd, with nearly 40 million viewers. That night, one in four Americans tuned in to see “The Artist” win Best Picture of 2012 and more.

Forbes Magazine estimates celebrities — or more realistically, their studios — spend about $35,000 just getting ready to hit the red carpet. ABC, the lucky proprietor of the Oscars, made $1.7 million per 30-second commercial in 2012.

But it’s not only the crown jewel of the awards season that is a cash cow.

The Golden Globes, whose nominations will be announced on Dec. 13, made $30 million in ad revenue for the 2011 telecast.

Awards season draws money and viewers, but every show comes down to simply watching people you’ll never meet reading pre-written speeches. The usual television and movie themes people love, like actual drama and conflict, are left out.

Winners are polite. Losers are polite. Everybody’s polite (unless Kanye West shows up). If the phrase, “It was just an honor to be nominated” or a shot of the gracious loser’s smile were prompts in a drinking game, you would still end up hammered by 9:30 p.m. EST, regardless of which award show you watch.

It’s not like the Super Bowl, where almost everyone can relate and get involved with the teams. No one has a jersey with a Meryl Streep logo.

Believe me, I love awards shows, but I’m also a huge entertainment geek. It’s just surprising that everyone else seems to tune in just as much.

Even though the awards shows follow a similar formula and leave out the real drama we love, they offer us tradition and conversation at work the next day.

And at least the pre-show offers something for everyone. Girls get to ooh and ahh over whatever Beyonce decides to wear, while guys get to do the same — just out of their girlfriend’s hearing.

Ariana Romero is a junior magazine journalism and political science major. Her column appears every week. She can be reached at akromero@syr.edu or followed on Twitter at @ArianaRomero17. 

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