Context: I wrote the below commentary on awards season earlier this week. Just procrastinated posting. Right now, I am watching the Oscars, and I am more firm in my low regard for them, whether Austin Butler wins or not. I just can’t get behind giving the top praise for hair and makeup to those who transformed a smaller-bodied man into a larger-bodied man with an ED. Sure, Brendan Fraser didn’t look like himself. Good job makeup. But no, I don’t think awarding a movie that feeds into fatphobia specifically for making the actor look fat is respectable in any way. And sure come at me with how the movie humanizes people in larger bodies with EDs, but then I ask you to read what people in larger bodies are saying about it. Brendan Fraser has been, I’m sure, rightly praised for his performance, but it ends there.
What I wrote earlier this week:
Film awards season is coming to a close this Sunday. I haven’t usually followed awards season, but my recent hrm…interest…in Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis had me watching more movies than I ever have. I appreciate that his film awoke something in me to appreciate movies. I am definitely cheering for Austin Butler to go home with the Best Actor Oscar this year, but I also don’t really love best anything awards.
Awards seem to create a hierarchy, and I’m rarely a fan of hierarchies. I know the reaction to that is “well not everyone needs to get a trophy.” I somewhat agree with that. But also, does anyone need a trophy? Accolades, encouragement, acknowledgement, sure. To be deemed “the best.” I’m unconvinced.
So here I am contradicting myself again. I think Austin Butler, and the movie Elvis in general, deserve the accolades they have received and will receive. You can tell how much work the entire crew put into that production. It is also clear that Austin Butler went above and beyond for this role, and his performance resonated with audiences. However, many other movies have as dedicated actors and crews and have resonated with different audiences, and I don’t think they are less deserving of recognition and awards. Why the need to create these lavish affairs to pinpoint one performance to designate “the best”? I can say that I appreciate the film festival awards more and maybe it’s just semantics, but “breakthrough” awards or “mastery of craft” awards are less offensive to my sensibilities.
Following this awards season has also given me a peek into the work that goes into taking home these awards. There are truly campaigns organized to win a Golden Globe, a SAG, a People’s Choice, an Oscar, etc… Interviews, screenings with Q&As, photoshoots, for your consideration ads, magazine covers. You really get to see the role of publicists in a new light. Rather than just the assumed damage control, they are out there scheduling copious appearances and some even accompanying their clients to each commitment. I mean, probably so that they can be on top of that damage control thing, but still it looks like exhausting work. Anyway, if you want those awards, you have to be committed to being marketed and branded from December to March. Maybe that’s fun for some people, but sometimes it can feel icky to watch. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve consumed every interview, Q&A, and article related to Elvis, so I am definitely feeding the machine. But I also did get to the point of scrolling and fast forwarding through some of them, because they became redundant. However, I was always happy for new insight into the minds of the creators.
While I don’t blame them for repeating themselves, it also would have been nice if the conversations could have varied a bit more. Who is doing the research before these interviews? So many of the same questions and themes. I suppose each outlet has different audiences. Not everyone is following the movie or the actor, instead they only hear what the outlets bring to them. Maybe the interviewers could just reference the other sources to see what had been said previously? It’s just a matter of adding a link, and then people clicking that link to hear different information if they so desire. At a Q&A, “you said recently….” And then just add to the question to elicit a unique answer. At some point it begins to feel like both parties are just going through the motions, and for what?
Yeah, yeah. I know they are just working the system. You’ve gotta win awards to get the jobs that you want, to work with the people you want, to have the choices in your career. Maybe just maybe there is a better way though. With so many talented artists in the world, I suppose this is a way of limiting choices for employers. If only it didn’t also limit the opportunities of the artists to share their talents with wider audiences. And no, I don’t think the answer is YouTube, tiktok, or any other social media. At least not in the way that it has evolved.
Now that I’ve given my professional advice about how others can do their jobs better and how decades long traditions should cease, I’ll go back into my hole. I’ll just be dumping my brain into my Notes app, and return to the blog as the mood strikes.