The Orgy of Ego at Award Ceremonies

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 29: The Actor statue displayed at The 18th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards broadcasted on TNT/TBS at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Lester Cohen/WireImage) 22005_007_LC_0002.JPG

Everyone loves talking. I love talking too, but I tend to try to limit myself to subjects in which I am heavily invested or well-read. That being said, everyone has the right to say what they please and conduct themselves as they see fit. Celebrities at award ceremonies take advantage of this fact and end up proselytizing to people who just wanted to think about the merits of movies and music.

To be clear, celebrities are not special. They are human beings like the rest of us and their opinions are worth just as much as yours or mine (nothing). When people put an undue amount of onus on what Katy Perry thinks, what Leonardo DiCaprio is doing about climate change, or how Ja Rule is making sense of all this, I think less of them.

To deconstruct the ceremonies themselves, they amount to little more than a bunch of millionaires giving each other trophies and fermenting in the collective stench of self-importance. Do we need to recognize people? I don’t think so. Their works of art will stand the test of time, not these ceremonies. Comedian T.J. Miller said it best at the 2015 Critics’ Choice Awards.

“I would say that awards are for children, because children need a tangible representation of their achievement,” Miller said. “Whereas adults should settle for the respect and admiration of their peers,”

For most people, this grandiose orgy of ego is better left unseen. But for some of us, including myself, the horrid spectacle of it all remains alluring. Many stick around for the speeches. Most of this attraction rests in the potential for these artists to say something profound about art, or at least offer up a sense of humility in the face of exultation.

Instead of these things, award ceremonies nowadays resemble political rallies loosely veiled as an events of recognition. Though they have every right to, artists choose to speak about the political divide, as if rational individuals could not surmise where they would fall. This is not to treat Hollywood as a monolith, but thinking generally about the views of its constituents is not absurd.

I am not critiquing the nature of what these people are saying, rather the forum in which they chose to express their ideas. Happenings like Meryl Streep’s speech at the 2016 Golden Globes and David Harbour’s rant at the Screen Actors Guild are not shows of bravery or courage, but layups within these circles. At the events, they are met with applause and cheers. Everyone is on their side. Those who were interested in the event at home are left with nothing but confirmation to what they already thought were the opinions of the artist. What does that do for the common person interested in art? Have the purveyors of the art let us into the inner machinations of the craft? Have they even thanked those to whom they owe gratitude? In many cases, no.

One might argue that the verbalization of certain virtues by the artist community may help propagate ideas and push for the ideas they hold in high esteem. I would contend that if there are individuals who have had their opinions swayed because of Streep, we have a bigger problem. Regardless of the content of the ideas, how fickle are people to drop or pick up ideas because a celebrity’s opinion? I have kept up on Randy Quaid as he seeks to uncover the source of Illuminati power in the mountains of Vermont, but he has yet to convince me to don the aluminum hat.

There is no deliberation on art. We aren’t left to discuss anything within that realm. There is just more political discourse, and we are left with more people preaching in a world drowning in a sea of opinions.

Art is a way to escape from the everyday nonsense we encounter. We look to music, television, theatre, and film as a way to reflect on our lives. We risk losing interest in art if we are continually flogged with the obvious predilections of celebrity. Instead of furthering the arts and discussion thereof, we are subjected to an echo-chamber of thought we already knew. It would be off-putting to hear a politician speak about the latest season of New Girl during an active session of Congress. It would be off-putting to hear a head coach rave about Selena Gomez’s new song during the Super Bowl. It is just as off-putting for celebrities to get political at these events.

It would be refreshing to see an artist walk up to stage, lean into the mic, and in clear unwavering fashion say “Thank you. Hi Mom.” and walk off stage without another word. How humdrum, but also how humble.

Featured Image By Screen Actors Guild Association

About Caleb Griego 152 Articles
Caleb Griego is the arts & review editor of The Heights. He has put his earphones through the wash at least a dozen times and they still work. He still doesn't know who to thank, so he prays to all deities just to be safe.

1 Comment

  1. A refreshing take and no one has tried to attack you for it. Maybe there’s hope for BC after all.

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