MAD DOG: And The Winner Is ... Everyone!
The Grammies are over and the Academy Awards will be here before you know it. If it feels like we're being bombarded with awards shows, well, we are. According to Variety there were 332 entertainment awards ceremonies last year, which is up from a measly 252 the previous year. To put this in perspective, if you were to lay the trophies handed out in the past twelve months end-to-end starting at Hollywood Boulevard they'd all be pawned by Jan-Michael Vincent before you reached Sunset Boulevard. Think about it: that's nearly one awards ceremony a day. If experts say it's not necessary to take a vitamin pill once a day, why in the world would anyone think we need an awards ceremony that often? After all, this means at least a half dozen people a day are thanking god for their award, as if he/she/it's a voting member of the Academy and has nothing better to do than wade through a stack of movies to decide who should win Best Special Effects Sound Mixing In An Andorran Comic Short Film Directed By An Actor Who Should Stick to Acting. It means 332 chances to see glamorous stars wear dresses that have less chance of holding up than the current economic boom, which we now know is largely being supported by Jennifer Lopez's mass purchases of double-sided tape. As was her dress at the Grammies.On the other hand, it also means you'll get plenty of sleep, since it's pretty well guaranteed you'll pass out on the couch before the second set of presenters stands behind the podium stumbling over their capped teeth while trying to read lame jokes off cue cards.There are awards ceremonies for directors, cinematographers, makeup artists, and publicists. There are nights to honor animals, movie trailers, and specific social issues. Why no one's set up a series of awards for gaffers and best boys is beyond me. Except, of course, that no one's sure what they do. (HINT: They don't make mistakes or grow up to stand next to the groom at weddings for a living. Those are hobbies, not careers.) They give out the Golden Globe, Golden Eagle, Golden Raspberry, Golden Ring, Golden Satellite, and Golden Trailer, which contrary to what you're thinking doesn't honor movies made in Arkansas. The only award we're lacking is the one we'd enjoy most: Golden Silence.Who votes for these awards? Often it's people who actually do that particular job. Hair stylists vote for their fellow hair stylists; screenwriters vote for the top screenplays. Not surprisingly, film critics give out their own awards. Not only does the Hollywood Foreign Press Association present the Golden Globe, but the Hollywood Film Critics give out their own awards, as do the Los Angeles critics, Chicago critics, Hong Kong critics, and even Online critics. The problem is that awards don't mean anything if everyone gets one. Yet according to Those Who Decide These Things, it's not politically correct to leave anyone out. Is the point of giving an award to make sure everyone's self-esteem stays intact or to honor something they did that was exemplary? In schools around the country they now make children give a Valentine's Day card to every student in the class to ensure that no one gets too many, no one feels left out, and no one does anything with even an ounce of sincerity, something which will definitely prepare them for life in the corporate world. The Grammies tried to avoid this problem by giving Carlos Santana every award they had, which is saying a lot since they have 98 categories. Just kidding. Not about the categories, which do number 98, but about Santana. He didn't win them all, he only won the categories anyone gives a damn about.Since NARAS, the group that awards the Grammies, wants as many people as possible to get an award, they invent new categories every year, which is why there's Traditional Tropical Latin Performance (as opposed to Merengue Performance), Instrumental Soloist with Orchestra (as opposed to Instrumental Soloist Without Orchestra), and Rock Gospel (as opposed to Traditional Soul Gospel). If this trend continues, every voting member will have his or her own award, meaning we'll have to sit through presentations for Best Album by Sting That Didn't Sound Like The Last One, Loudest Song by Limp Bizket, and Most Intelligible Word by Bob Dylan. You might as well pull out your Daytimer and block out the first week of next February while you're thinking of it.It's true we'd all like to win an award, but does that mean we should? There's a reason there's only one Nobel Peace prize. Well, in addition to the fact that a quarter is flat so when you toss it only one side can face up. I won an award once: the Virginia Governor's Screenwriting Competition. I got to go to Charlottesville, Virginia where I was presented with a certificate and a check. True, then-governor George Allen didn't show up to hand out his award, but that was fine with me since his underling remembered to bring the state-issued check which cleared the bank and more than paid my way to Charlottesville to get it. Not much more, but that's not the point.Think about this the next time you're watching the Genesis Awards for animal welfare in movies, the International Angel Awards for films with a positive message, or even the Academy Awards. But please, think about it early. You know you'll be snoring as soon as the second set of presenters stands behind the podium stumbling over their capped teeth while trying to read bad jokes off cue cards.