February 25th, 2008


Steven A. Taylor's Gramacademy Awards Brouhaha (There Will Be No Country For Kanye) Round-Up

Because I opted to not individually Round Up the Grammys and the Oscars. Because these are two awards shows in dire need of punching up. Because I don't REALLY have enough to say about what went down.

First of all, we're talking about shows that eclipse three and a half hours, so right there you've got to have quite the fortitude to withstand such ass-numbing monotony. Yes, they're boring, but for ultimately different reasons.

Even though there are 100-some-odd catagories, they only hand out something like five Grammys onstage. This, is good, even though they pretty much give away the winner by having them perform minutes before their featured catagory. What's BAD is how every performance HAS to be either a collaboration or a medley or both. But, you never get clever combos, it's always the same thing: beautiful youth performing with decrepit old geezers.

Well, 2008 takes the cake. Beyonce and Tina, Alicia Keys with a dead Frank Sinatra, John Fogarty with a plastic Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis's propped-up corpse. I kept waiting for Jerry Lee to play the piano with his feet like the old days, followed by his leg snapping off and a pile of dust spilling out.

The only performance that had any impact upon me whatsoever was Kanye West rapping with Daft Punk pushing buttons on a monitor. Which brings me to another point: Shame On The Grammys For Playing The Music On Kanye! His mom just fucking died and when he finally gets an award and a chance to honor her, they start in with some fucking Slayer-esque heavy metal riffing! He actually had to stop midway through and say, "Now would be a good time to stop the music." I mean, it's just awful! These awards shows need to stop with interrupting the winners. If you're worried about how bloated things are, maybe lay off the montages and have the presenters who aren't comedians keep their remarks short and sweet. When Helen Mirren (the presenter) is up there longer than Daniel Day-Lewis (the award winner), something is wrong.

Of course, I say that as a segue to the Oscars because this show is too damned long because they televise too many damned awards. 24! Do you REALLY need separate catagories for Sound Editing AND Sound Mixing? Do I care what the winner of Best Costume Design has to say? I'm sure this is an exciting time for them, but unless you're an industry insider or a member of their families, BUGGER OFF!

As far as winners are concerned, I wasn't particularly surprised that No Country For Old Men cleaned house (Best Picture, Best Director(s), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Supporting Actor); I'm just glad that they didn't fuck up my locks. Javier Bardem and Daniel Day-Lewis were immortal this year. Kudos to having the foresight to give the foreign actress the nod over a pretty weak Best Actress list. I thought the Juno writer was about as moved as I've ever seen anyone up there, so that was nice.

As for the Grammys, fuck it. I could care less. There's a pretty big disconnect as far as Album of the Year was concerned though, since Herbie Hancock won with a contemporary jazz album of Joni Mitchell covers. Exsqueeze Me? Baking Powder?

There's no arguing with how the Oscars are an elitist's award. Most of the time, the movies people ACTUALLY go and see aren't the ones that win awards, because people are stupid and they generally gravitate towards the crappier movies. Water finding its own level and all that. Yeah, Transformers and Spiderman 3 and Alvin & The Chipmunks made a killing this year, but they're not deserving of our praise!

But, with the Grammys, they're pretty much on the pulse of what's popular. Lots of awards go to Justin Timberlake and Alicia Keys and the Foo Fighters and U2 and the rest. But, whenever it comes to Album of the Year, they get super conservative and award it to artists who've mostly paid their dues.

Take the last ten winners, aside from Outkast, where's the rebel picks?

Herbie Hancock
The Dixie Chicks
Ray Charles
Norah Jones
O Brother Where Art Thou?
Steely Dan
Lauryn Hill

In that time, Kanye West is 0 for 3, Eminem 0 for 2, and Generic Alt-Rock Nomination is 0 for 8! Pathetic. It says a lot about the music industry that I own exactly 1.5 of the last 10 Albums of the Year.