Golden Globes takeaways: Hollywood’s award-show challenges in 2021 aren’t getting any easier
With a few exceptions, moreover, little was said about the matter by award recipients and presenters. If they were trying to be polite and not chastise the party’s hosts, that came at the expense of looking principled. Stars turned out and the show went on, sending a message that receiving awards trumps other considerations.
Those observations have implications for other award shows — mainly, the upcoming Oscars — none particularly reassuring in the prognosis for what comes next.
Delaying the awards calendar didn’t work, part I. In theory, pushing the Oscars and other award shows back by roughly two months provided a chance to buy time toward a greater sense of normalcy. We might be collectively closer to that, but we’re not there yet.
While the Emmys were an interesting novelty, the absence of in-person energy at something like the Globes — traditionally celebrated as the free-wheeling “party” in the way the Oscars aren’t — undercut the atmosphere. Beyond that, even with all the charitable pitches, some people who once might have enjoyed such frivolity, understandably, simply don’t feel that way right now.
Delaying the awards calendar didn’t work, part II. Another benefit of the expanded calendar was that there would be more movies from which to choose. But with many high-profile films held back hoping for theatrical releases, the pool of contenders is woefully light on titles with big commercial appeal. That includes not just best picture nominees, but for the Oscars, blockbuster movies that might have done well in technical categories.
The “what’s that?” response is getting worse. Streaming services might be convenient, but we don’t know how many people watch most of their offerings, and the abundance of them has further fragmented the audience, eliminating a rooting interest for many potential viewers.
But there’s increasing reason to believe this is just the new normal — a world where the audience has splintered in a way that what were once mass-appeal events are considerably less massive. A pandemic-fueled drop could further erode those habits.
The choice, in that case, becomes should Hollywood continue to (perhaps fruitlessly) chase people who they’ve lost or who simply don’t care, or make these programs the best that they can be for those that do?
Instead, the opposite happened. “In practically every sport, the number of television viewers nosedived in 2020, despite the fact that more people than usual were stuck at home,” Hill wrote.
Award shows seem to be following the same script. That doesn’t mean it’s game over, however the game has changed, in a method that, in the meantime, significantly appears like a no-win proposal.
Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.