The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

The Student News Site of Menlo School

The Coat of Arms

Award Show Outcry Should Emphasize a Lack of Diversity In the Academies, Not Red Carpet Drama

Amber More

The Grammys, Oscars, Emmys and Tonys are preceded by speculation and followed by controversy each year. This tension isn’t solely the byproduct of fans anticipating certain results and being upset when awards aren’t won by their favorite nominees. From red carpet looks to how someone accepts an award, every detail of these shows is dissected. However, if we’re going to be hypercritical of these award shows, it should be directed at the lack of diversity in the voting committees within the academies which means the successes of many nominees are overlooked. 

When we sit down to watch awards shows voted on by the academies, we must remember that they are not fan-choice awards. The members of the voting committees of all renowned award shows are successful in the media industry and have extensive knowledge of their respective professions. Still, along with expertise, they all carry biases — it’s only human. As Jay-Z said when he accepted the Dr. Dre Global Impact Award at the 2024 Grammys, “It’s music and it’s opinion-based.” 

As viewers of award shows and consumers of the entertainment that they underscore, we must be honest with ourselves about why we disagree with the results. Was an artist or movie truly robbed of an award they deserved over all the other nominations, or do you just think that because they happen to be your favorite? I’ve found myself believing certain nominees were snubbed before, only to realize that I don’t have extensive knowledge of the other contenders.

However, allegiances to certain artists, performers and projects are difficult to ignore, especially when there’s a larger or controversial context. For instance, when Lana Del Rey left the 2024 Grammy’s award-less once again despite 11 career nominations, fans were heartbroken and resentful towards the Recording Academy, which is seemingly still holding her shaky 2012 Saturday Night Live performance against her. 

Similarly, in the late 1990s, rapper DMX didn’t receive any Grammy nominations despite having two No.1 albums, and director Greta Gerwig came up short in the nominations for Best Director for “Barbie,” despite the fact that it broke box office records and her three other solo projects have been nominated for Best Picture. Though DMX was eventually nominated for 4 Grammys and Gerwig was nominated for Best Director for her 2017 film “Lady Bird,” both cases, along with many others, reflect not only that individuals in the entertainment industry shouldn’t measure their success solely by these awards, but also that we should direct our criticism elsewhere: towards a lack of diversity within the academies. 

One could discuss how Gerwig is one of eight women who have ever been nominated for Best Director, but what they should really be focusing on is that only a quarter of the Director’s Branch of the Academy are women, even after efforts to diversify. Criticism of the Recording Academy’s lack of diversity led it to invite 2,400 new members, 50% of whom were people of color and 37% of whom were women, according to Billboard. Progress is being made, but nominees are still being judged by a nonrepresentative group.

Lastly, celebrities are people, and, in the same way that we have our opinions, they have their own style preferences. If there’s a certain look or vibe you’re hoping for, you’re likely not going to find it at these infrequent red carpet events — it’s not fair to be upset when our favorites don’t dress exactly how we want them to. So rather than fixating on the style choices or behavior of the nominees, let’s be more critical of our attitudes towards these award shows and changing the nature of committees that vote for them.

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About the Contributors
Lizzie Freehill
Lizzie Freehill, Online Editor

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 3

Favorite aspect of journalism: Watching the pieces come together as everyone does their part. It's a really fun and unique experience

Interests outside of school: politics, lacrosse, playing with my puppy Roxie, hanging out with my friends

Class of 2024

Amber More
Amber More, Creative Director

Number of years in The Coat of Arms: 1

Favorite aspect of journalism: watching everything come together from the first draft to print

Interests outside of school: rock climbing, Pop Culture, and Formula 1

Class of 2025

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