And the Award Goes to...
As the world continues to focus on the discrimination against people of different color and sex, a question is resurfacing among the American youth: Are award shows in America biased?
by Vivega Saravana Prabhu
Over the years, many have pointed out that American award shows have been favorable towards white individuals and male artists, discriminating against people of color. Although recently, more artists of different races and genders have received major awards, praising their work, many still complain about the lack of representation and call others to “boycott” these shows.
So here’s where the trilemma is presented: have American award shows been biased towards their nominees and winners, or have they changed for the better, or are they still the same even after all these years?
Award shows are unbiased:
As time has passed, it is certain, inevitable even, for people to change. Many award shows in America, such as the Academy Awards, the Golden Globes, the Grammys, the Billboard Music Awards and more, have now become more inclusive of all kinds of people. Recently, many individuals have won their very first of these notable awards, for their great talent and potential, regardless of their race and gender.
For example, in the 2020 Golden Globes, Awkwafina became the first performer of Asian
descent to win the Best Actress award. Furthermore, as many of you may already know, the South Korean film “Parasite” won four awards at the 2020 Oscars, and was nominated for two more. Additionally, the world’s most famous boy band, BTS, has also won Billboard’s Social Artist Award for three years in a row, regardless of the fact that they are a Korean Pop group.
Many of these award shows have progressed to adapt to modern times, eliminating discriminatory standards within them. And looking at the way they’re progressing now, the remains of their biased standards will continue to fade over time.
Award shows are biased:
Although some artists of various gender and race have been given the recognition they deserve through these award shows, some still claim that these shows are partial and biased towards specific groups and individuals.
According to an article by DEADLINE, during the Oscars, “[o]nly one actor of color was nominated in the major acting categories while [all] women were shut out of Best Director”. The TIMES magazine further pointed out that only five women have ever been nominated for the best director award in the academy awards 92-year history.
In the Golden Globe awards, for the third year in a row, no women have been nominated under the Best Director category, and no women of color were represented for the TV category. This infuriated numerous people, as there are many capable women that fit these categories. But unfortunately, the final winners of the 2020 Golden Globes awards were almost entirely white with a few people of color (Ramy Youssef and Awkwafina).
Recently in one of her interviews, Billie Eilish, who had won Best New Artist, Best Album,
Best Song, Best Record, and Best Pop Vocal Album at the 2020 Grammys, was embarrassed and agreed that she won most of these awards partially because of her race. This reveals the sad yet truly biased and unfair nature of these major American award shows.
Award shows can change for the better:
Although we live in 2020. We still consider these award shows predictable with barely any diversity in its nominees. You can expect the nominees, and especially the winners, to be mostly white and predominantly male. Yet, occasionally a person of color and maybe even women, has gotten nominated and received an award. For example, (as mentioned before) the movie “Parasite” has become the first international film to have won the Oscar for “Best Picture”. Also, Kathryn Bigelow became the first and only female director to win the Academy Award for “Best Director” in 2009. More than a decade has passed between these two winners and yet not much has changed in those years. People of different color and gender have won awards, but these kinds of occasions only occur every once in a while.
The American public should encourage award shows to be more open-minded in choosing their nominees. Boycotting is an option, but not the best one since the artists that win awards that year would go unrecognized for their work. Other potential methods could be sending out emails to the coordinators of these award shows, creating petitions, and expressing opinions on social media.