Leonardo Dicaprio is the latest voice to come out complaining about the Oscars. He feels that the Academy has snubbed him in the past over his roles. Add to that the ongoing row about the complete lack of ethnic diversity in the nominations this year and many are starting to question the integrity and relevance of these awards. Good, finally people are realising that handing a golden statuette to a multi millionaire is maybe taking the piss.
Every year another round of awards are handed out to musicians, actors, producers and directors as everyone wears expensive clothes and borrowed jewellery worth tens of thousands of pounds just to congratulate each other. In a world where the divide between rich and poor it is more obvious than ever that this public self-flagellation is getting embarrassing.
While there is an argument to be had about the lack of ethnic diversity, there are much bigger discussions about African-Americans that need to happen before we worry about nominating Will Smith or Idris Elba for a shiny bauble. With the poverty levels, gun crime and apparent freedom for white police to shoot young black men with impunity being real issues, playing dress up and pretending to be someone else is not really a priority is it?
Poor Leo feels unloved – poor baby. What a horrible position to be in: multi-millionaire who is in constant demand for work, lots of young women throwing themselves at him and international travel and free stuff on tap. Aye Leo it’s a hard life isn’t it. He and so many others need to get their perspectives sharpened and realise that as nice as it is to be recognised for the work you do, there are hundreds of millions of people who never get even a thank you for the efforts they put in day-to-day.
This isn’t a jealous rant – I don’t grudge these stars having a knees up and some mutual backslapping – but Ricky Gervais’s attitude towards the whole thing is much healthier. It’s not a serious thing in reality. It’s new doorstop, a thing to pop on a shelf somewhere, not something that should be elevated beyond it’s true value.
Too often awards of any kind – not just those for showbiz – are politically charged, decided by a clique, involve payments or even are based on enough people making a loud enough noise. We have nurses, paramedics, teachers, firefighters, carers, charity workers and other everyday workers who work on low wages to ensure the society they live and work in gets better. The only recognition they ever get is at the end of their working life, when they are handed the result of a whip-round in the office to mark their contribution and friendship.
So as much as I like to see good work rewarded regardless of the field in which it happens, let’s not pretend that Oscar Snubs, NTA Awards or Brit nominees is really that important. In all honesty it’s the technical crew, hair & make up, set designers, writers, editors and others in the background that should be highly praised more than the “talent”. Many run themselves ragged for a tiny fraction of the fees of the headline names.
Let’s celebrate achievement in life – but let’s not mistake celebrity for talent or money for respect.