The 2020 award seasons brought many surprises and upsets. Beginning with the Grammy Awards, Billie Eilish swept the “Big Four” awards with the Album of the Year, Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best New Artist, which hasn’t happened since 1981. On the other hand, both Ariana Grande and H.E.R received five nominations without winning anything. Another major snub was Beyonce’s “Spirit” from the Lion King which lost in the Grammy Awards, the Golden Globes, and wasn’t even nominated in the Oscars, which only had one woman of color nominated: Cynthia Erivo. Another Grammy surprise included Madonna’s win of best-remixed recording for the second time in nine years. The moment to remember was Demi Lovato’s come back performance with her heart-wrenching song “Anyone” after almost two years. Tyler the Creator’s win, Best Rap Album, brought up an issue about the categorization of his music and what it meant. After his win, he said, “Half of me feels like the rap nomination was a backhanded compliment… On one side, I’m very grateful that what I made could just be acknowledged in a world like this. But also… whenever we, and I mean guys that look like me, do anything that’s genre-bending, they always put it in a ‘rap’ or ‘urban’ category. … I don’t like that ‘urban’ word… Why can’t we just be in pop?” Another memorable moment is when Lewis Capaldi was mistaken for a seat filler—a mix up which he took in stride. The awards season this year has further emphasized issues surrounding race, class, appearance, and gender that need to be addressed in the future.
The Oscars invoked serious upset over their lack of diversity in both the race and gender department. Without a single woman in consideration for Best Director, and no one of color nominated in the major acting categories, the uproar in the media is nothing compared to the irony of having two people of color, Issa Rae and John Cho, reveal the nominees. Women of color such as Jennifer Lopez, Lupita Nyong’o, Zhao Zhushen, and Awkwafina were all exempted from the list of nominations. Cynthia Erivo was nominated for her role in Harriet, leaving people bewildered as to why she was the only talented woman of color selected as a nominee. As for women directors, it wasn’t as if there was a lack of talent; Lulu Wang, Alma Har’el, Melina Matsoukas, Kasi Lemmons, Olivia Wilde, Lorene Scarfaria, and Greta Gerwig were all snubbed. This isn’t a break from the 92-year history of the Oscars which has only had five female Best Director nominees. This theme of underrepresentation extends to the LGBTQ community as well with Elton John’s biopic Rocketman and Chris Butler’s Missing Link. With the new decade just beginning, it seems like a step backward. 2019 was much more diverse with Roma, Greenbook, and Black Panther being nominated. Hopefully, next year’s award season allows everyone the opportunity to be represented and recognized for their talent and dedication.
Graphic: Kate Minn