Why Do We Like Award Shows?


I saw, I think, five movies in theaters this year.  Three of them were superhero movies.  One was animated, and only the last one will be a major player during award season.

And while I watch a lot of TV, I never got into Breaking Bad, I don’t have the money to afford Showtime, I don’t have Netflix, and, for some reason, Suits didn’t get nominated for anything, so I haven’t really seen any of the television shows that will be nominated, either.

And yet, there I was, for three hours Sunday night.  Watching and judging and IMDB-ing and Googling as guys I’d just discovered had a small role in a movie I’d seen a decade ago won awards for their roles in movies I think I’ve heard of – and, of course, actors and actresses I know won awards for shows my friends tell me I should watch but I never do.


Why in God’s name do I care?  Why am I concerned with whether or not Joaquin Phoenix’s work in a movie I would never actually see earns him the special paperweight?  Why am I personally offended that American Hustle won a “best picture” award?  I haven’t even seen the other nominated films, but because I wasn’t moved by Christian Bale’s combover I’m assuming that someone else got screwed?  That some grave injustice has been done The Wolf of Wall Street and that such is, apparently, something I care about?

Why?  Why do any of us?  I don’t know anyone who’s seen Her, or Orange is the New Black.  Neither do you.  You’re not sure if those are movies, TV shows, or Cover Girl fall ad campaigns.  But I guarantee we each know someone who’d like a word with the Hollywood Foreign Press for their failure to recognize the great(?) work done in each.

And even if that outrageously specific assumption isn’t true, with the same little knowledge as me, you, too, sat through all three hours.  180 minutes judging Amy Adams for spending what you make in a year on this dress that she’ll never wear again and deciding that A Time to Kill wasn’t a fluke like you’d thought – that Matthew McConaughey should stop doing stuff like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and take on the more serious roles, because he really does have the chops.

Not that any of us know what “the chops” means.  Or, perhaps more to the point, not that any of us have any understanding or connection to that world at all.

So why?  Why do we watch?  Why watch these millionaires we don’t know accept a shameless pat on the back for their work in things we haven’t seen while thank other people we don’t know or have never heard of?

Because they already made a show about the type of people we know and have heard of. One recognizing average people who otherwise toil in obscurity as NoTicket’s very own Jeffrey Simpson Day said.

It was called Undercover Boss.  And it sucked.

Author: Joseph White

Joe Bianchino is a writer, producer, and radio host located in upstate New York. He is a life-long New York sport fan, Chelsea supporter, and Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter @JoeBNTS. Email him at