Aside from the fact that the Golden Globes were, in fact, a complete and utter flop, I can’t shake a feeling of angst about the whole affair. Part of me loved the feeling of going back to normal, but on the other hand how come celebrities get to play dress-up while the public is told that one mask might not even be enough?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m normally on board with anything that will distract me from the reality of the pandemic. Seeing the actors that we know and love, or hate, in outfits so gaudy that my eyes can’t take it all in is definitely a way to remember life before COVID-19.

Watching the myriad of entries of the award show season was something that brought so many people together because it was like the pop culture Superbowl, where you could vote for your favorite actress, actor or film.  Award shows give people a fun tie-in to the shows, songs, plays and movies that they love.

The Golden Globes, remotely hosted by Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, tried to keep the spirit alive, despite being on opposite sides of the country. Unfortunately, this ended up feeling forced, fake and instead of being a distraction from our closed-off Zoom world, it highlighted the sad truth that what’s “normal” is so very different now.

I may be wrong in using the small screen to escape, but when the storytelling magic that has been a beacon of hope throughout the pandemic starts to mirror the real world, it lacks the ability to transport viewers away from their couches and capture wonder.

This notion fostered a small sense of bitterness for the industry that had carried me through this pandemic. If the event is going to be dictated by a virus, then the whole thing should follow its rules. Why do these select people get to do photoshoots and earn awards while the rest of us have to maneuver countless public health mandates?

While, yes, the Golden Globes were hosted “Zoom-synchronously,” the attitude of the red-carpet attendees was that of monarchs above their people, strutting like peacocks, without masks. The worship that the public donates to celebrities places them up on pedestals, and this pedestal gives them the dangerous notion that they are above the rules. 

If only the awards could be as they were, but seeing as they are not, the nominees ought to bear the responsibility to use their voices to push the public to following health guidelines, and for those who have, to not be hypocrites. The double standard that rests on the back of many audiences’ desire for more content seems to go against the grain of modern culture.

America has always been a country that seeks to check the power of its upper class. In the film and television industry, this was brought to light lately with the lack of racial parity in the awards’ recipients.

If that injustice can be challenged, then why not fight the imbalance in rule-following between easily recognized stars and the average citizen. After all, money and fame do not excuse someone from laws, or grant them extra rights.

Now, that is a harsh lens to hold our most esteemed entertainers under, but the expiration date of COVID-19 isn’t branded on the carton and the awards season is just kicking off.

The next two months hold some of the most important award shows of the year with the Grammys on March 14, the Screen Actors Guild awards on April 4 and the Oscars will be April 25. These mark the highest awards for musicians and actors. Hopefully they learn from the Golden Globes, and hopefully they reinstate the sense of wonder that can be achieved by a little box in a living room.

Dawson Neely is a staff writer. Follow him on Twitter at @DawsonNeely. 

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