Anyone who has followed me on social media through the winter months know — I LOVE awards shows. Awards about television and film, particularly. I fell in love with them when I a young, budding high school thespian. I had to wrangle the remote control away from my younger brother for a few hours to watch the sparkly pageantry of the red carpet and the talk about the television shows and films I loved.
Watching the awards ignited my passion for seeing all the movies. All the television shows. Watching all those films and shows likely inspired my desire to become an undergrad theater major. Who am I kidding? Of course it did. I regularly wrote and rewrote my Oscar acceptance speech in my head back in the day. Though my calling took me professionally in directions away from the theater, my love of television and film and awards shows has never waned.
I suspect now that my love of awards shows goes well beyond the need for some glamour and sparkle in the dead of the Midwest winter. It’s really about the love of story. About telling stories and their enduring power to lift up what is best about humanity and reveal our shameful spots in ways that spur growth.
This year, for example, we are finally seeing a broader spectrum of stories being told. Black Panther — showing young Black and Brown kids (and White ones, too) that they can be superheroes. Spike Lee telling of the remarkable courage that made a black police officer infiltrate the KKK in Blackklansman. Roma revealing the grief-stricken beauty of the coming-of-age story of a Mexico City nanny.
As usual, the thing isn’t really the thing. The awards are really just an excuse to celebrate good storytelling. The thing that helps us reveal the deeper meaning of our humanity.
Watch with me, tonight!