Tonight is the annual TV-athon that is the Academy Awards, aka the Oscars. The TV channels can't show us the films, so instead they wax lyrical (or otherwise) on red carpet fashion and interview as many as possible for their brief promotional speech for a category in which the outcome has already been decided.
There's been a lot of controversy in the news about the awards - are they diverse enough, who makes the long lists, who gets to vote, why do we have to see the awarding of the technical awards when most of us have no idea whatsoever about the difference the technical stuff makes - and this year's awards have been no different. I happened to be in the US for the Golden Globes and watched them on an American TV channel, and they were very lengthy and there was certainly far too much mutual congratulatory back-slapping for my personal taste. But - I watched them.
So why *do* we watch them? Many of the films haven't even been screened in the UK yet, and a number of them are not to everyone's taste. The voting may or may not be along the lines of 'he hasn't had one yet and he deserves it' (or 'he may be a brilliant artiste but at a personal level I can't stand him so I'm not voting for him') but it is still interesting to see which films are deemed worthy/worth seeing, without the hassle of sitting through the trailers for another film that has only come to my attention courtesy of another film critic.
And of course awards are nice to give. Public recognition of being outstanding in one's field is a huge compliment, even if one doesn't particularly like being recognised in public. At a local level, we give them too. At the end of last night's final performance of the annual village pantomime, various significant contributors from a creative aspect were thanked in front of the audience, with lots of applause. At BCOS too, we have internal awards with associated banter for the general post-show humour, but we also like to thank external contributors very publicly, as so often the work they do, much like the cinematographers and sound editors, is essential without being highly visible - until it's not done, of course.
So here's to an entertaining session on very late-night TV and I'm keeping my fingers crossed for all those original screenplay writers who made the shortlist....