By LARRY BURRISS
Take a look at what time it is. Now, I bet within two hours there will be an awards show somewhere on television. And if you can hold on for a few days, you can watch the 88th Annual Academy Awards, the Oscars.
It used to be we just had the Oscars and the Emmies, each running for hours at a time. Now, in addition to these two classics, we have, and this is only a small, partial list: the Grammies, the Tonies, the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Directors Guild of America Awards, The Writers Guild of America Awards. There's the M-T-V Movie Awards, the M-T-V Music Video Awards, the American Music Awards, the Billboard Music Awards, the Country Music Association Awards, the Academy of Country Music Awards, and the list goes on and on and on, through nearly 600 movie, television and music awards. And of these awards, dozens end up being televised.
And why this proliferation of awards shows? Well, underneath that red carpet is a cushion of green, as in money. You see, everyone gets to cash in on the awards. For the stars, the televised programs are little more than infomercials that can generate millions of dollars from ratings, album sales and box office receipts. For the networks, the programs yield millions of dollars of advertising revenue. And let's not forget the dress designers, hair stylists, florists, and the people who manufacture the gold-plated trophies.
Of course, if you ask the producers or sponsors, they will tell you the awards are for "artistic merit" or for "contributions to humanity through the arts." Well, if that is the case, don't you think we would be seeing the Nobel Prize Awards during prime time? Don't count on it any time soon.
What we perhaps need is an award show to recognize award shows. But come to think of it, that's already being done. Every year the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the Emmy folks, nominates the Academy Awards show for, you got it, an Academy Award.