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What’s Really behind Award Shows?

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Unless you have been living under a rock, you would be aware of the Will Smith slap of Chris Rock on the Oscars show was felt around the world. This year’s Oscar ceremony was overshadowed by a controversial incident that saw Will Smith slap host Chris Rock. It’s usually one of the most watched and celebrated evenings of the year, when Hollywood’s finest descend onto the red carpet and later take their seats to learn who has impressed the Academy with this past year’s film offerings. Many A-list actors hope to one day secure an Oscar nomination in their screen career although it’s only a lucky few who walk away with the golden Oscar trophy.

Hollywood holds this show annually showcasing glitz and glamour, but why do people keep watching this show and other such award shows? Unlike the Olympics, the Oscars are not a fair measure of excellence. The Oscars are political, subjective and exclusionary. Yet, it is a huge deal to people all over the world. As far as true entertainment value goes, you can find a better bang for your buck on other forms of media platforms.
So, what is it with award shows?

As usual, it is a brain thing. Self-perception and self-esteem, is a determination of other’s opinions of us. This is because we are a social species. The crowd’s opinion of us determines our social rank, which affects everything about us. This innate need for social approval is why the Oscars and other similar shows such as spectator sports and beauty pageants have their appeal. Mimicking social approval in our brain is known as BIRG’ing….basking in reflection glory. This is attaching yourself to someone else’s success and making it your own. When our favorite actor wins the Academy award, or walks down the runway looking fabulous, it makes us feel good. That is because in our brain we base our association with the actor or performer, which entitles us to share in their success.

These award shows give us something to talk about, and perhaps most importantly, it gives us a chance to bond with our friends and family while watching. Research has proven that women enjoy talking to their female friends about celebrities when their husbands and male friends sometimes cannot offer such a dialogue. These shows give us a platform to connect with other people. We are able to discuss, debate, and engage with others about what makes a great film or performance and what we think constitutes beauty.

These award shows truly bring out all types of moods and feelings in folks and their long-term feeling/psychic gets affected and, in some cases, has long term implications on their persona. There are statistics that show that less people are watching these shows and even the Oscars ratings are falling fast. The decline of popularity in the traditional shows has been happening for the past several years but new and innovative award shows especially in the ethnic communities are picking up steam and becoming very popular both in viewing audience and participation.

We at MDC Media participate in a yearly show that is the International Portuguese Music Awards and this year they are celebrating their 10th anniversary show at the Providence Performing Arts Centre this Saturday April 23, at 7.00 p.m. There are some very cool artists that are performing, and this show is worth checking out as you will be able to stream it and it looks like next years show will probably be here in Toronto.

Many of the ethnic communities have evolved with their own talents and decided to reward them with recognition of their own and make sure the rest of the world realizes that talent exist in all communities regardless of ethnicity, color or background. The black community have created an enormous following with their shows as well as the Brazilian community and the Chinese have dominated the global scene with their actors and talent. The Harry Jerome awards that the black community issues, has evolved in areas that goes beyond talent and recognizes effort towards their communities and helping youth and seniors that need to be recognized.
On a personal note, these shows in many ways are all about image and how one is perceived.

And for me, l have never taken them too seriously, except to see what the latest trends are doing…however, the multicultural areas are more interesting for me and shows like the IPMA Awards are the ones that l personally will be checking out.

In the end, we are humans and we long for camaraderie with our fellow humans. Award shows give us an opportunity to have a voice against the highest standards of beauty and fashion. In discussing what’s on the screen with our companions, the echelon of the rich and famous doesn’t seem so removed from our everyday lives. And we hope that maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a moment like this.

Vincent Black/MS

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