How Credible are Award Shows Anymore?

By Avery Hellberg


What do the Oscars, Golden Globes, and the Emmys all have in common? They are respected award shows that celebrate the pure talent and artistry of the film and television industries every year. But, do they really? As Hollywood has become seen as a nepotism factory and the film and TV industry becomes more and more saturated with Netflix original movies and reality TV, do these award shows really matter anymore?


Growing up, I would beg my parents to let me stay up late to watch the Academy Awards, envisioning myself one day holding a golden Oscar. Now, as a current Film and TV major who hopes to enter the industry one day, I’ve begun to question whether these awards are achievements to strive towards. The general public seems to feel the same way.


While COVID only exacerbated the problem of low viewership, award shows started losing viewers long before the pandemic. The Oscars, arguably the most prestigious of all movie award shows, plummeted to an all-time low viewership in 2021, when they only had 10.5 million viewers, according to Business Insider. As for years previous, in 2020 viewership was at 23.6 million, and in 2019 it was 29.6 million.


While these numbers are better than in 2021, they are still minuscule compared to viewership in the early 2010s, for example in 2015, when the Oscars had 37.3 million viewers, according to KTLA. With the increase in viewership in 2022, with 16.6 million viewers, this seemed to signify a hopeful turning point for the award show. That, or the Will Smith slap saved the entire show.


The lack of viewers is likely due to many factors. Primarily, the amount of people with cable television has been decreasing. With the rise in streaming services, the majority of TV watchers prefer to binge rather than continue paying for weekly episodes aired on stations that have commercials, according to Engadget. Because of this, it becomes confusing where viewers can access award shows if they don’t have cable.


Additionally, in recent years, the problematic aspects of these award shows have been brought to the surface. From the #OscarsSoWhite social media campaign that called attention to the lack of POC nominees and winners, to male filmmakers continuing to dominate in categories such as directing and cinematography, the award shows seems out of date.


Regardless of these faults, Eugene Viti, a Boston University student majoring in Film and TV, shares his thoughts on award shows.


“Even if they are flawed, it's still a culmination of many amazing products from media, and I’m entertained by them, so I would say they may not be worth it for the actual value, but more so for the entertainment and interest aspect,” Viti said.