I have a love/hate relationship with the Academy Awards.
My complaints aren’t original. At its worst, Oscar night is a self-congratulatory love fest full of millionaires patting each other on the back. The broadcast is too long, 99% of the acceptance speeches are mind numbingly boring, and some of my favorite movies never even get a nod (and the Oscar for best foreign film goes to…Shaun of the Dead!). And yet, I watch it every year for one reason and one reason only…to see Salma Hayek fill out an evening gown.
No, I watch it for those little moments that are off the cue cards. Like last year when Jon Stewart pointed out the absurdity of the awards after a hip hop group won for best song. "Martin Scorsese: Zero, Three 6 Mafia: One." Or in 2002 when Michael Moore got booed off stage after his political rants against Bush (I wonder if they’d boo him now.). Or when Cuba Gooding Jr. brought some life to the show in ’96 after his win for Jerry Maguire (what ever happened to that guy?). Put simply, the Oscars are at their best when real life creeps in.
Okay, enough of the nostalgia. What does this have to do with the writing biz? For me, the Oscars brought to mind the subject of AWARDS.
I’ve had a couple editors nominate me for things in the past, but I’ve never made any finalists lists. I won’t lie, on some level it bothered me. Getting overlooked made me feel that my work didn’t have the same merit as others. Being an infant in this industry, maybe I didn’t have the writer’s leather-tough skin yet.
The question becomes, was I right to feel that way? After all, in most cases these things are judged by our peers, aren’t they?
And here’s a few more queries to keep you busy.
How important are awards in the publishing world? An Oscar can add a few zeroes to your next paycheck. What can an Edgar do for you?
On a personal level, are awards important to you? If you had to pick, would you rather have recognition from your peers or would you rather have a large following, while other writers looked down on your work?
Just a few things to think about tonight while watching beautiful people stumble through lame jokes written for them on cue cards. Let’s hope some of them fumble and accidentally say something interesting.