Examples of ridiculous choices from award shows Pt.1
Date written: 2022.09.21
The award shows below are popular, but the awards in general do not represent the best artistic work from a given year, as demonstrated by the following egregious examples.
This examples below are (of course) nowhere near exhaustive — even for the shows listed, there are certainly hundreds of other examples of significant works losing out others due to some mixture of popularity, racism, sexism, and politics. I've just chosen to focus on examples that drew my attention and were particular appalling.
- To Pimp a Butterfly losing to 1989 for album of the year (2016).
- It was clear to anyone who actually listens to contemporary music that Kendrick Lamar's magnum opus would likely be the best rap album of the decade, if not the the best album of the decade period, and it was. Fifty years from its release, people will be still be listening to TPAB, and several of its songs will likely be studied in a variety of school English and music classes. If songs from 1989 are played in the 2060s, it will be because Shake it Off appears on a throwback playlist.
- Lemonade losing to 25 for album of the year (2017).
- This was almost as ludicrous as what happened the previous year, but at least Adele knew it: with her trophy in-hand onstage, Adele said she couldn't accept the award, and steered the conversation towards why Beyoncé should have won. Adele broke the trophy in half afterwards.
- Homecoming losing to Carpool Karaoke: When Corden Met McCartney Live From Liverpool for outstanding variety special (2019).
- From the setup alone, a Carpool Karaoke episode featuring Paul McCartney was bound to be excellent. But it is incomparable with one of the greatest concert films ever produced.
- When They See Us losing to Chernobyl in pretty much every category (2019).
- When They See Us is hard to watch. It's also a masterpiece, and thank god Ava DuVernay was the one to tell it. Chernobyl was great, but was also comfortable viewing in 2019: the events of the Chernobyl disaster were in the distant past of the USSR, and some key characters were fictionalized. By contrast, When They See Us made for uncomfortable viewing in 2019: it is based in NYC, the teenagers the story centers on were now alive adults, and the same person who called for their execution was the president of the United States.
- Blackkklansmen losing to Green Book for Best Picture (2019).
- Anyone entertaining the idea in 2019 that The Oscars had transformed to celebrate a more diverse range of stories had their myth dispelled when a racist film was celebrated over a film about racism. While Spike Lee did get an oscar that night, and far better, an ovation from Barbra Streisand, the night finished with Lee being snubbed by the Oscars for Best Picture yet again. (Two decades earlier, Do The Right Thing (1989) was not even nominated for Best Picture... and to add insult to injury, the winner that year was Driving Miss Daisy (1989).)
The Golden Globes
- I May Destroy You not getting any nominations (2021).
- The Golden Globes are not taken as seriously as the other shows on this list, thank goodness. Even so, the omission of I May Destroy You from any award in 2021 was particularly egregious. As Deborah Copaken, a writer on the (nominated) Emily In Paris wrote, "[My nomination excitement] is tempered by my rage over Coel's snub. That I May Destroy You did not get one Golden Globe nod is not only wrong, it’s what is wrong with everything." The reason why the show didn't get any nods is obvious. As Emma Specta of Vogue wrote, "it's difficult not to wonder whether Coel might be a better candidate for awards-season plaudits if her story were just a little more, well...white (or, to put it in the coded language that Hollywood execs favor, a little more universal)." The outrage helped lead to a boycott of the subsequent year's ceremony by NBC and others, which meant it was not televised.