The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

The student news site of Wilmington Friends School

The Whittier Miscellany

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And the Oscar goes to….who cares?

It’s award show season! Oscars, Grammys, Golden Globes, Emmys, you name it! Nominations have been revealed and everyone is wondering if their favorite artists and actors are in the running to win an award for their skillful work. Well, maybe not everyone. According to USA Today, the Emmys, a famous award show focused on television, hit an all-time low viewership this January. Not only has viewership been down in television, but in movies too. According to Variety, despite Oscars viewership being up in 2023, the Oscars hit an all-time low in 2021. The Grammys also set a record low in 2021, which according to the Los Angeles Times only hit 9.227 million viewers, far lower than the tens of millions in previous years. Now notably, 2021-2022 was a year of extreme crisis as we were in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that these award shows had to adapt to new circumstances and go virtual, potentially affecting the viewership. Though, COVID-19 might not be the only reason award shows are declining in viewership. Statistics show that Gen Z is watching awards shows much less than older generations. But why?

 

Mrs. Butterfield, a performing arts educator at WFS, commented on why teenagers might care less about award shows. She said, “I think that technology and social media have played a huge role in that.” Since teenagers are constantly consuming clips online of award shows, perhaps that is a reason for the decline in interest in watching award shows as they are televised. Mrs. Butterfield then added that when she was a teenager, “We used to watch the Oscars a lot. That was the biggest one when I was growing up. I continue to watch the Oscars as I am older.” She also highlighted an interesting aspect of the Grammys, “I follow the Grammys, believe it or not, there is actually a classical category for Grammys so I do try to keep up with that a little bit.” 

 

Students at Friends added to the conversation by giving their opinions on the relevance of award shows to teenagers. Matthew Gordon 27, said “I think teenagers only care if one of their favorites gets nominated then watch just to see if they win. I listen to rap music every day. To win album of the year for a rap album it has to be one of the greatest albums of all time, most people consider GKMC by Kendrick Lamar one of the top 10 greatest rap albums of all time, but it lost the best rap album to The Heist by Macklemore which is one of the worst robberies of all time.” Not only do some feel their favorite artists get robbed, but also many think that awards shows are unfair. Easton Martinenza 27, said “I think they can be very problematic or unfair.” “I think the recent award show the Golden Globes went very wrong considering the host and a lot of people have a lot of problems with those award shows from what I’ve heard.” Mrs. Butterfield also commented on this, and when asked if she thought award shows were unfair she said, “Oh yes. I think sometimes there is not as much transparency as there should be about how things are chosen. I think there needs to be more transparency on the decision-making process.” Whether teenagers don’t pay attention to award shows because they think their favorite artists got robbed or because they find them to be unfair, it is proven by statistics that a controversial award show means an increase in viewership. According to the New York Times, there was an increase of 500,000 viewers during the 2022 Oscars when Will Smith went on stage to slap Chris Rock. This altercation brought a lot of attention to the Oscars in 2022, turning into clips all over social media.

 

Between unfairness, robberies, a lack of transparency, and problematic moments it is quite easy to say no to award shows. Though maybe if there is a change in the format or transparency of these events, more teenagers would be captivated by award shows despite social media. Mrs. Butterfield explained how “They now say ‘and the Oscar goes to’ but they used to say ‘and the winner is’. I appreciate that change in language, because yes, the nominated works were competing against each other, but there is now a distinction that every nominee has some kind of merit. It seems that not only are bigger changes needed to ensure fairness in the decision-making process of award shows, but small changes like this one could have all the greater impact on viewers, especially teenage audiences. Only time will tell what happens to award shows. These events could reach new heights and audiences by improving their structure or they could wither away and become a thing of the past. So, with all things considered, will you be watching the upcoming award shows?

 

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About the Contributor
Scarlett Murphy, Staff Writer
Scarlett Murphy is a new member of the Whittier Miscellany who is currently beginning her first year as a writer. Scarlett enjoys writing about current events in the Whittier and also loves creative writing using her own characters. Scarlett believes that writing is powerful and that words can be used to motivate, inspire, and educate others which prompted her to join Whittier. Scarlett likes to write as a way to advocate for herself, voice her opinions, and express her emotions. Outside of writing, Scarlett loves to read and Irish dance.

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