Grammys vs. Oscars: A Rave and a Rant and a Novel Idea

Most of us literary folk probably do not tune into much prime-time television. When we do, and if we can somehow tolerate the commercials, we expect to be entertained. At the very least, perhaps we will be a bit amused or inspired in a precious few random moments.

In early February, we tuned into the Grammy Awards on CBS, and later in the month the Academy Awards on ABC.

The Rave

Watching the Grammys, it seemed to us the focus was indeed to entertain the viewer. There was one live musical performance after the next, alternating between multiple stages. Yes, there were some speeches, but not very many, all related to either a major award or an important message. It seemed that just as we finished listening to one song performed live, the next artist was introduced and another song began. The entire program was a celebration of music, with an emphasis on that which was cut in the past year.

All of the performances were very well done, and among our favorites was one by the artist Sia. Her piece, "Chandelier," acted out by two dancers who made use of multiple rooms of an intricate, decorated set onstage, included a view of the singer facing a back wall—an interesting artistic style for which she is known. As we watched this musical "skit," we may have thought it was a recorded video, only to be pleasantly surprised in the end to see the camera back away from the set, rotate one hundred and eighty degrees, and show the audience.

The Rant

Several weeks later, the Oscars completed bored most of us to death. Using its classic format so unlike that of the Grammys, it was once again filled with speeches (most of which the average prime-time viewer cares little about), humor that failed to hit its mark, and pretentious glamour that revealed how full of themselves most actors are when a red carpet is rolled out.

There were several performances, in no way as many as the Grammys, and perhaps the most notable was Lady Gaga singing "The Sound of Music." We suppose a little nostalgia is nice to have, but one would think the performances would largely concentrate on movie material produced in the last year. And what was this, anyway, but the singing of a song: a musical performance. This is an award ceremony for the acting industry, let us remind you, not the music industry.

The Idea

Though unlikely that the powers influencing the format and content of award shows such as these will read a literary magazine, we'd like to share a thought. Would it really be too radical of an idea to design skits that would be performed during the Academy Awards, consistent with the movies up for nomination and others worthy of recognition, rather than hear long-winded speech after the next and see performances by musical artists rather than actors?

The producers of ABC and those involved in assembly of the Oscar program need to take note of how CBS has redefined the concept of an award ceremony that is broadcast on prime time television. They should harness the talent of those being honored, and bring this into the forefront of the program.

We hope you enjoy our selections for this Spring 2015 issue of The Summerset Review. It was not an easy one to put together, as we wrestled with a few health issues of those related to staff members, a winter that was much colder than it should have been, demands of work and writing, and a few other, minor obstructions. But we press on as we have been since 2002!

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