And the Oscar goes to … not your favorite.
Awards season brings out the best – and worst – in celebrity worshippers. It’s easy to crack your knuckles and go on a Twitter tirade the second you feel someone’s been robbed of a trophy they deserved. But why do you care so much in the first place?
Chalk it up to our culture’s general obsession with celebrities. But don’t let your feelings about these stars consume your life.
“Fans of any media event must acknowledge its entertainment function and intentionally create a disconnect between art on screen and one’s real life,” says Melvin Williams, associate professor of communication and media studies at Pace University. “It is natural to feel disappointment when a favorite star does not win. However, do not allow it to linger or compromise your mental health.”
Why do we care so much about awards, celebrities?
Most of us don’t hang out with celebrities on an everyday basis. That means they can be a vessel for our hopes, dreams and disappointments as opposed to real people with whom we engage.
“Stars are a blank screen upon which we can project any feelings we want – which, of course, includes hate as well as love – to any degree of intensity,” says David Schmid, associate professor of English at the University at Buffalo.
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Typically, if the intensity is too much, there are some deeper issues at hand.
“From my own observations, most persons who engage in celebrity worship at the borderline pathological level were probably already suffering from some sort of mental illness before they became so engaged in celebrity worship,” Gayle Stever, professor of psychology at SUNY Empire State College, previously told USA TODAY.
That said, there’s been a groundswell in recent years begging for more diversity at awards shows. Any feelings of frustration in our personal lives regarding race and identity in society may play out via representation in art and when it is honored.
“Usually, what has happened in such cases is that there has been an excessive identification with an actor or artist and the outcome of an award decision,” says Glen Robert Gill, associate professor, of classics and general humanities at Montclair State University. “The viewer has tied some aspect of their self-identity to whether or not the star wins.”
Though the lines can blur, remember, a film or performance can mean something without the societal gold standard of recognition.
“Representation at an awards ceremony matters, but it can’t matter more than representation in the art itself, so we can’t put the cart before the horse, or the award above the film, as it were,” Gill adds.
So, if your favorite actor loses on Oscar night …
- No one “stole” anything. “Remember that nothing was taken away, nothing was lost,” Gill says. “The film and the performance that you appreciated is still there, and your appreciation and that of the community remains, unaffected. And this fact, in turn, reveals something about these awards.”
- Recognize when there might be a problem. “If your negative reaction or frustration at the outcome of an award exceeds your positive reaction or appreciation of the film or the performance you wanted to win, you might want to rethink your priorities,” Gill adds.
- It’s OK to channel some energy into it. Of course, get invested during an awards show and specifically Oscars night if you want. Just prepare yourself. As Schmid says: “With respect to this year’s Oscars, I expect an outpouring of negative emotion if Michelle Yeoh doesn’t win Best Actress.”
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