The Grammy Awards, Golden Globes, Academy Awards, and Emmy Awards are typically the top award shows that most people keep up with. Being that these are the most prestigious awards out there, it means that the works nominated are the best of the best, and those nominated in each category are the best in that category for that year. Pretty simple, right? Actually, not so much.
Opinions on film and music are subjective, sure, but usually a large group of people can come to a consensus to award something that’s good. Unfortunately, award shows are much more political and much less straightforward. It is becoming apparent to fans and viewers who watch year after year that great artists, actors, and shows get snubbed of their deserving success.
The process of getting nominated for an award is essentially half the battle when trying to win an award. According to Billboard, anyone from record companies to producers, singers, musicians, and anyone else involved with the project can submit their song or album for consideration for a Grammy. From there, members of the voting panel vote for up to five selections to be in the nominated group for a category. From this point, things get a little mysterious. One hundred and fifty undisclosed “experts” review the voting panel’s choices, then cast “secret ballots” to make the final decisions for nominees. After being nominated, “Grammy voters” mail in ballots for who they want to win in each category, and then the results for who won are broadcast on television during the awards show ceremony (billboard.com). So far, it seems like a fair and democratic voting process, maybe a little weird with all the secrecy about who votes and who’s an “expert.” However, there is one key that ends up muddying the waters and throws anything fair or democratic out the window — nomination bribes and gifts.
Although the Grammys have denied the accepting of gifts and bribes as a means to secure at least a nomination, as stated by the Recording Academy Chair and Interim President/CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. in 2020, it sure does seem like foul play and favoritism may be occuring (insider.com). In 2020 alone, The Weeknd, Halsey, and Zayn Malik had all condemned the Grammys for being rigged and awarding only artists that partake in gift-giving and bribes. So far there has not been any concrete proof that the Grammys voters are accepting bribes and awarding the artists that give the most, but it seems like it to many viewers.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Golden Globes committee openly accepts gifts and nominates those who are the most generous. More than thirty members of the Hollywood Foreign Press, the group that decides nominations and awards for the Golden Globes, were given all-expense paid vacations to Paris and stayed in five-star hotels for two nights. The luxurious vacation was paid for by Netflix, and consequently, Emily in Paris was nominated for two Golden Globes. For those unfamiliar with the show, it revolves around the life of a rich, White woman named Emily who gets her dream job in Paris. The show got mediocre reviews from critics, and a lukewarm response from viewers for being about a privileged woman being more privileged in a foreign country, according to Variety (varitey.com). Not exactly anything riveting or groundbreaking, but good enough to be nominated for a prestigious film and television award, apparently. This nomination discrepancy raises questions regarding the validity of not only the Golden Globes, but all other awards shows. Is money buying wins when it shouldn’t be? Who knows, but that may have been the case with Emily in Paris.
Senior Honieh Hemati recounted times when singers and songs were robbed of being recognized at The Grammys. “I was really shocked The Weeknd didn’t win anything. He hasn’t won anything over the years either,” said Hemati. She brings up a good point: how is the biggest artist of the last decade not only not win, but also get completely overlooked for this past Grammy ceremony? Most likely, as in the case of Halsey and Zayn Malik, The Weeknd didn’t try to sweeten the deal to secure a nomination.
Winning isn’t everything, but it means a lot to those up for nomination or being considered for nominations. It is unfortunate to see a company like Netflix pump in thousands of dollars for a nomination for a program that objectively doesn’t deserve it. Hopefully, in the future, more independent and deserving projects will be recognized on such a large platform, instead of manufactured shows that were made with the sole purpose of winning.