Why Do We Love Celebrity Award Shows So Much?


Awards shows have a strange way of sneaking into our lives. Even those of us who would rather watch paint dry than watch the actual ceremonies will, inevitably, find ourselves talking about the dumb show.

It starts early: as a child, you are led to believe that the Academy Award is the pinnacle of all things, as the Oscars are the awards that everyone talks about, everyone tunes in for, and they seem, for some dumb reason, to hold an importance that goes beyond all other awards, like say, that Nobel thingie or whatever. Whatever, science and peace! There aren’t any performances of lame Randy Newman songs at the Nobel Prize ceremony!

The popularity of said awards shows is fairly easy to understand: we like to be entertained, and we develop some strange bonds with our “favorites”; people we’ve never met but champion as if they are our sisters or neighbors or best friends. We refer to them on a first-name basis: “I hope Kate wins tonight,” etc, and we yell at them when they wear an ugly dress or make a stupid speech. We are reject cheerleaders, screaming for a side that can’t hear us, waiting to celebrate a victory by a complete stranger. And when it’s over, we forget: can you even name 5 winners from last year? Me, either.

This year’s Golden Globes promise to be glitzier and more over-the-top than ever; a choice that may seem strange or insensitive, considering the difficult economic times we are in. Yet perhaps some of us want to tune in for escapism purposes, to see people waltzing about in borrowed jewels and designer gowns, knowing that it is all for spectacle, just to have one night where everything seems, well, normal.

I am one of those people who bitches and moans about awards shows, but always ends up watching anyway. There is a tiny chance that something awesome or weird will happen, and I’d hate to be the only person on earth who misses it. But the real reason I tune in is the same reason I watched when I was a kid: it is really, really fun to watch people win. Especially actors you like. The awards are meaningless; they won’t change the universe, and might be a slight career bump (or a hindrance, at times) to those who receive them. But there is something really great about watching someone’s dream, however stupid we may think that dream is, come true.

And in a time where dreams are being lost and broken all over the place, watching one night of bloated, ridiculous celebrity fantasy might just be a decent way to pass the time.

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