Skip to main content

Excuse my rant here, but it's getting worse – the insufferable inanity that is awards season.

I used to get it, the whole carnival of one frock festival after another leading to the Academy Awards and the unveiling of the allegedly best movies of the year. Now I see an endless sprawl of mindless celebrity worship.

Tonight, dear heavens, we are inflicted with the inaugural ceremony that is the People Magazine Awards (NBC, Global, 9 p.m.).

What is this thing? Glad you asked. It is, according to NBC, all about honouring "cultural forces of the year." Don't get me started. What we are actually offered is "Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Bridges, Kate Hudson, Jon Hamm, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Upton, Chloe Grace Moretz, Josh Groban, Mindy Kaling, Michael Keaton, Chris Messina, Billy Eichner, Josh Gad, Ryan Guzman and Diane Guerrero." Exactly what they do is unclear to me. Show up, I suppose.

Also featured is music by Gwen Stefani, Pharrell Williams, Maroon 5 and 5 Seconds of Summer. The host is one Nick Cannon. I'm only surprised he's not going by the name "Nick Cannon 5" for the event.

Perhaps, like me, you asked, "Who is Josh Gad?" Well, after in-depth research I discovered he did the voice of Olaf in the movie Frozen. Good for him. Top man in his field, no doubt. And, perhaps, like me, you could not care less. By the way, if you google host Nick Cannon you will discover, as I did, that most of the things written about him and his doings (hosting events) appeared in – wait for it – People Magazine.

Now the purpose of People Magazine is for you, gentle reader, to keep up with the carrying-on of your favourite celebrities. At least, that is, the carrying-on they want seen in print. And the purpose of awards season is to sell movies to you. So there's that – a strictly business premise that, since it's been going on for years, must work.

But here's the thing – yes, awards season puts posteriors in seats at movie theatres, sells DVDs and compels people to pay to watch nominated movies on-demand. But, it's rarely the movies that most remember from awards shows. It's the clothes, the addled remarks, the whole red-carpet thing. The late Joan Rivers, when doing Oscars red carpet coverage a few years ago, once shouted, "Who wins, who loses? Who gives a damn!" Too true. By the time the Academy Awards unfolds, in its unfailingly tedious manner, the event is an anticlimax. And now we're asked to ogle yet another opera of celebrity hoopla.

Now in fairness, you might want to watch People Magazine Awards tonight. To save your sanity. Perhaps, after a hard day at work and the pressure of getting things together for the holidays, you need to lose yourself in utter inanity. You need to watch nothing more demanding than a stream of commercials for hair and beauty products interrupted at regular intervals by self-loving celebrities gushingly accepting awards for being just great. You have my sympathy. There is no need for embarrassment.

And there's the point of awards season, you see. It exists to distract us from, first, the pre-Christmas stress, next, the New Year collywobbles and, in general, it exists to distract from the frightening prospect of actually paying attention to geopolitical tensions, massacres of the innocent and the level of hatred we see in the world beyond our own homes.

It's not in the least bit about movies or, heavens to Betsy, "cultural forces of the year." It is actually a massive act of diverting reality. And we are keen on it. We know it's a crock, but we like our crock. Don't get me started.

The problem, such as it is, resides with the movie business and those unfortunates who write about it. At this time of the year and on and on until it's Academy Awards night, certain persons will be parsing the prizes handed out at awards shows with an eye toward predicting what movie will win big at the really big, really boring awards season capper. And it is a redundant exercise. A crock.

Mind you, tonight I may put my feet up and see what this Josh Gad chap has to say for himself. I just might. Excuse my rant.