IS it "cool" for artists to reject awards and Hall of Fame inductions?
July 26, 2005 03:55PM
Wouldn't it be great if artists rejected awards, period? Isn't it like a douchebag showoff thing to get together in a room full of business people to accept an award for selling a lot of CD's? It seems like a bunch of insurance agents congratulating each other on topping themselves on how many new policies they've sold over the previous year. Wouldn't it be great for an artist to go up to a podium to accept an award and tell them to stuff it? What about not acknowledging a nomination for anything when it is publicly annonced, not showing up, treating the award like it is worthless? The same sentiment goes for Hall of Fame inductions, where artist are treated like museum pieces. I hate how subjective it is, where a committee elects to allow some artists into their stupid Hall of Fame, while ignoring other great artists. Whoever watched any of these shows and thought they were cool? Don't they always come off as some sort of "old fart" event?
Re: IS it "cool" for artists to reject awards and Hall of Fame inductions?
July 26, 2005 06:50PM
Hmmmm ... I don't know how "cool" it would be ... Guess it depends on the artist, and the award. And, really, one would have to be in the artist's shoes to know. (For my money, "cool" is at least as subjective as any awards ceremony or Hall of Fame induction.)

The idea of an artist dissing an award that they've just won, though, makes me think of the very few times in my life I've gotten "revenge." It felt gratifying ... for about 30 seconds, tops.

I've read that, for years, Woody Allen would get together with his regular jazz combo, same night, same club, every week, to play his clarinet. (Perhaps he still does.) On at least one occasion, he made it clear that he'd be a no-show at the Oscars, even though he was nominated for an award, because the ceremony would interfere with his regular gig. Now I'd call that cool.

But IMO, getting up to the podium and telling the awards committee to stuff their award, in front of the whole audience, would mainly amount to trading one "douchebag showoff thing" for another.
Re: IS it "cool" for artists to reject awards and Hall of Fame inductions?
July 27, 2005 12:01AM
You make a good point about "trading one "'douchebag showoff thing"' for another" if it accomplishes nothing more than a weird, awkward moment. On the other hand, doesn't the whole entertainment industry need some kind of kamikaze act by an artist to kick it in the ass? Music, film and TV seems more obssessed with bullshit celebrity PR and less about the art itself, now more than ever. I think someone doing the things I've suggested would be a necessary affront to the entertainment industry in a way, loosely, analogous to The Sex Pistols "God Save the Queen" boatride behind the Queen on the Thames River in 1977. It is an attempt to show that it is nothing but show, just vacuous bullshit.
Re: IS it "cool" for artists to reject awards and Hall of Fame inductions?
July 27, 2005 01:06PM
Yeah, I agree about the media's obsession with celebrity PR, to the detriment of actual creativity.

One risk that an artist would run, though, by pulling some "kamikaze act" would be that his protest -- no matter how well-planned, clearly intentioned or meaningful -- would get co-opted by the media. It wouldn't even take much spin, really; all the media would have to do is de-contextualize it somehow. This board's concurrent thread about music in commercials discusses that notion a lot.
Re: IS it "cool" for artists to reject awards and Hall of Fame inductions?
July 27, 2005 07:11PM
Kamikazi acts happen all the time at awards shows. Ends up forgotten, edited out, or only in the eyes of the drunken recepients.
Blowing off the award happens all the time, too. Often the recipient politely agrees to a satellite hookup but is obviously disinterested. When you devote your life to an industry it's nice to see the recognition of your peers - depends on the award.

Re: IS it "cool" for artists to reject awards and Hall of Fame inductions?
July 27, 2005 07:47PM
Once in a great while, you'll see a satellite hookup on an awards show where the artist is performing in concert. If the artist wins an award, they can announce it from the stage during the concert, and they can be seen live, via satellite, making this announcement, thanking the fans for their support, basking in the applause, etc.

Ultimate dedication? ("Award nomination or not, we're not interrupting our tour.") Or ultimate narcissism? ("If we win the award, we can accept it in front of TWO audiences at once!") You be the judge.
Re: IS it
July 28, 2005 11:50AM
The only time I ever saw someone truly reject an award was when Marlon Brando sent a native American woman to reject his Oscar for "The Godfather," for political reasons, relating to the U.S. government's historic bad treatment of native American people.

Post Edited (07-28-05 08:52)
Re: IS it
July 28, 2005 01:47PM
That incident on the Oscars was in 1973, John. Did you see it, when it happened? (I ask merely out of curiosity, not to undercut your comment about it.)
Re: IS it
July 28, 2005 04:24PM
i did

she was increidibly uncomfortable and nervous/shy about the message

Sacheen Littlefeather

it was rumored at the time that they were lovers
Re: IS it
July 28, 2005 04:53PM
I saw a tape of it years later. It was a big deal in the news at the time.
Re: IS it
July 28, 2005 06:18PM
Didn't George C. Scott do it as well...albeit in less dramatic fashion?
Re: IS it
July 28, 2005 06:29PM
George C. Scott told them he wouldn't accept it if they gave it to him and wouldn't be showing up for the ceremony, which he didn't. He just ignored the whole thing.

He said he didn't believe in awards like that, but people who knew him suspected he always thought his work in the Hustler and Dr. Strangelove were his best performances and if those weren't judged good enough to win him an Oscar, he sure as heck wasn't going to accept one for anything else.

Too bad Pacino didn't feel that way about Scent of a Woman. If they didn't give him the gold for Michael Corleone, he shouldn't have taken it when they gave it to him as a consolation prize for that ham sandwich.

Post Edited (07-28-05 15:31)
Re: IS it
July 28, 2005 11:02PM
Respectfully disagree on Pacino. To me he was pretty brilliant in that role (the movie itself, sadly, is not so brilliant). The performance is certainly hammy but in the best sense of that negative term - it's outsized but also nuanced in surprising ways. It's done in bold strokes, but is smartly conceived and executed. The role has become widely parodied and imitated however that shouldn't prevent us from recognizing it as a bravura example of the craft of acting - it's the most convincing technical representation of blindness I've ever seen on film at the very least. Plus just think about how that particular character is written on the page and imagine any other actor pulling something memorable out of that mess. It is a shame that he didn't get an Oscar for Michael Corleone however, no question about that.

Post Edited (07-28-05 21:31)
Re: IS it
July 28, 2005 06:25PM
It turned out that Sacheen Littlefeather was an actress whose given name was Marie Cruz. She is still alive, and currently resides in northern California. She does have native American ancestry.

Brando had hired and sent her to the Oscars to make this presentation, in the event that he did win the Best Actor award for *The Godfather*. He had prepared a long rejection/protest speech for her to deliver ... something on the order of 15 minutes' worth. When the producers of the Oscars show found out, they told her, emphatically, to limit it to 45 seconds.

She received a mixture of cheers and jeers for her truncated speech. Other presenters and award recipients the rest of the night made all kinds of references to it.

"Kamikaze act" or "douchebag showoff thing"? Probably a bit of both. I am inclined to agree with Michael Caine, though. He criticized Brando for sending Ms. Littlefeather to deliver such a rejection speech, rather than showing up to reject the award and face the potential booing and heckling himself.
Re: IS it
July 29, 2005 02:44AM
Yeah, I can see your point. I most likely do hold the movie that contains it against the performance more than it deserves. So my apologies to Al. And he was damn brilliant in Angels in America.

Awards of any kind should be given five or ten years after the event - then voters would have a chance to see that the good stuff grows in stature with time while the stuff that's merely fashionable at the moment fades. Thus, Fargo might have a Best Picture Oscar while the English Patient, which absolutely no one cares about anymore, would be remembered mainly as a movie that was released the same year as Fargo that no one remembers much about anymore.

Heck, give em five years and maybe even Grammy voters would realize that Elvis Costello was a better new artist than A Taste of Honey.
Re: IS it "cool" for artists to reject awards and Hall of Fame inductions?
July 29, 2005 03:37AM
Yes, that way it might put an end to the "best new band/actor" award who actually has been working and creating art for possibly many years. Recognition should be given throughout artists 'gestation' period.
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