The rise of awards show, particular TV spectaculars, has been incredible over the last 20 or so years.
Obviously, the Oscars are still as prominent as ever but the growth of the British arts, entertainment and sporting scene has been breathtaking in its scope and audacity. Comedy awards, TV awards, soap awards, film awards, the list is endless – and that’s before we get into music and sport.
Take the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year which looked as though it used to be held in a small school hall by one man and his dog while the rest of the nation dozed off and prepared for a hard day at work the next morning. Now, it’s a glitzy, monster-sized event held at the Excel with everyone invited, including the dog, cat and the ref’s whistle. It’s like an epic performance in itself: Lineker as strutting emperor revealing the shiniest triumph of a bombastic, best-ever sporting year.
The other awards shows are the same: more people, more tears and more neediness. Soon, there won’t be a venue big enough to fill all the hangers-on, entourage and ego masseurs that ‘stars’ bring with them.
This has been one of the greatest confidence tricks of all time: that everyone is having a party and is tuned in to the latest ‘big thing’ which is probably a film, TV show or piece of music you’ve never watched or even heard of. A sort of celebrity propaganda by stealth.
That said, I do watch a lot of them so you may say I’m a hypocrite. But really, I only wait for one thing. It’s the only true engagement or connection I get throughout the whole, chocolate-cake evening: the sequence where the people who’ve died are mentioned and given a musical tribute. That’s worth all the hassle. A devastating shot of emotion blowing away the superficial parade.