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Award shows: tone down the politics

TAKE TIME TO CELEBRATE THE ARTS

Illustration // Madalyn Drewno

Everyone has a voice, and everyone wants to have it heard. However, there is a time and place for expressing certain feelings.

Award shows, such as the Golden Globes or the Academy Awards, are a time to celebrate the accomplishments of artists and revere the craft of filmmaking. Viewers settle into their couches the night of the show, popcorn in hand, rooting for their favorite films and actors, all while looking forward to a night of relaxation. However, sometimes this relaxation is interrupted by an unwanted spewing of political beliefs; turning a night of arts celebration into just another night of government criticism.

That isn’t to say that expressing one’s political beliefs on this kind of program should always be avoided. If someone feels strongly about a cause and wants to change the world, and they have the platform to spread these ideas, they should be able and encouraged to. Celebrities, however, already have this platform beyond the stage of an award show.

A celebrity’s post on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook will go viral within minutes. This kind of connection to thousands (and, in many cases, millions) of people allows celebrities to easily voice their opinions and beliefs, having them heard by the world almost instantly. Having this power at their fingertips, celebrities don’t have to use all the stage time at an awards show saying what they can post later.

Saying a quick something during an acceptance speech about politics is fine. It ensures their message will reach even more people than just their own personal fans or followers. The problem arises when politics are the only thing being talked about, drenching the program in politics and losing sight of what the show is really for: celebrating the art of film, and allowing viewers to do the same.

And in the case of many political speeches from the awards stage, they are not saying anything new, they are repeating what most already know they believe. The fields they are being acknowledged for are their achievements in acting, directing, or other important aspects of movie production. At that time, it is more important to acknowledge their high achievement regarding their work rather than the current political climate.

One recent example is when Meryl Streep was awarded the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes for “outstanding contributions to the world of entertainment.” Instead of taking the occasion to focus on a justly deserved acknowledgment of a lifetime of entertaining people with her acting, she used the time to address her views on the new president and the people who voted for him. While her speech may have been important and one she wanted people to hear, more time could have also been used to pay tribute to her art or to those who have helped her along the way.

There is a time and place to express opinions, but an awards show is, for the most part, not that place. Everyone who reaches the podium with a gleaming statuette in hand, reaches it for their art, their craft, and their ability to entertain. They should honor and celebrate that and the audience that made it possible for them to be standing there.

Tessa Blair
Tessa Blair

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