Volume 92, Issue 55

Wednesday, January 6, 1999



Editorial Board 1998-99

Monetary motives

Editorial Cartoon

Monetary motives

And the nominees are in.

In the entertainment industry, the first months of a new year are spent considering the events of the previous one, picking out the best and worst of every category imaginable – from musical and cinematic feats, to attire, to implants.

The culmination of this nostalgic parade comes in a barrage of award shows, hitting television screens at a steady pace. These highly publicized events and the media circus which surrounds them are as dependable as the seasons. The red carpet, pushy photographers and Mary Hart's interviews of celebrities "just honoured to be nominated" are staples to the award show diet.

This frenzy, although commercial, has some justice in its creation – the industry is honouring its top artists for excellence over the course of an entire marketing year.

However, all the hype surrounding these kinds of shows goes hand in hand with network ratings. A consequence of awards shows becoming marketable is an inaccurate representation of what truly constitutes the best of the year.

With the list of nominees for 1998 announced yesterday, it seems the Grammys have succumbed to this fate.

The Grammys are awarded for achievement in music by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. It is stated within the academy's mandate that the awards are based on excellence in artistic achievement, creativity and ingenuity, not on sale statistics. This is honourable as a principle, but does not appear to be exercised.

Saturating the list of nominees in the popular categories are bankable names who enjoyed phenomenal chart success this year. While it's not impossible to enjoy both commercial and artistic prosperity, the specific nominations are not conducive to this scenario.

Record of the year nominations went to the Brandy and Monica duet "The Boy Is Mine," as well as "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls. These songs did enjoy repeated play at every public school dance and racked up millions of dollars in sales – but to suggest their formula contributions stand out as the most artistic and ingenuitive accomplishments of the year is ludicrous.

Following suit is the nomination of Celine Dion's hit "My Heart Will Go On," as both song and record of the year. How can this song truly symbolize artistic work when all of Dion's previous mainstream hits sound exactly the same?

That is not to say award shows like the Grammys have become completely tarnished. But when the public is told of the greatest achievements in 1998, it can't be forgotten to take them with a grain of silicone.

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Copyright The Gazette 1999