6 Famous Awards Way More Full Of S#!% Than You Think
The greatest achievement you can hope for after a lifetime of work in your particular field is probably a solid clap on the shoulder as security escorts you out the door. But, some people do win large, meaningful awards for their excellent work -- or so they would like you to think. In truth, many of the most prestigious awards are a bunch of bunk. Like ...
The Golden Globes Are Probably Awarded Based On Bribes
The Golden Globe Awards are the poor man's Oscars, but if you put your heart and soul into film or TV, you would probably rather win one instead of two handfuls of shiny nothing. The bad news is that no matter how good you are, your eligibility for a Golden Globe might come down to whether or not you can afford to buy the judges an expensive dinner.
If you're on a budget, you could always just buy yourself an MTV Movie Award.
For a recent example, in 2011, the Globes nominated three awards apiece for both the utterly forgettable Johnny Depp/Angelina Jolie film The Tourist and the movie-length Christina Aguilera album advertisement Burlesque (20 percent and 34 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, respectively). Critics of the awards wonder whether this has anything to do with the fact that Sony Pictures, the company behind both films, paid to fly the Globes voters to Las Vegas and treated them to a luxury hotel and a private Cher concert. Presumably, the deal was that she wouldn't stop singing until Sony's films were granted the nominations.
But, the corruption behind the Golden Globes goes way back. In 1982, actress Pia Zadora won the Golden Globe for Best New Female Star for her performance in Butterfly. If you know Butterfly for anything, it's probably the fact that it swept the Golden Raspberry Awards that year, including Zadora herself for both Worst Actress and Worst New Star.
At least Zadora recovered from that embarrassment to star in a classic.
So, how did one of the worst movies of 1982 manage to get a Golden Globe? Probably because Zadora's husband, Israeli multimillionaire Meshulam Riklis, treated the voters to a night at the former Riviera Hotel And Casino, which he happened to own.
The scandals surrounding the awards have been so numerous that they've lost multiple broadcast deals over the years because of them. It shouldn't come as a huge surprise that in 2011, the Golden Globes were sued by a former publicist of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and accused of engaging in payola schemes for nominations and awards.
They were also sued by the general public for being a masturbatory waste of everyone's time.
But, hey, we're not saying that your Golden Globe is worthless. You could probably hang stuff on it or use it to prop open a door or something.
The Grammys Are Controlled By A Secret, Anonymous Committee
Officially, the process behind Grammy nominations is pretty straightforward: Artists submit their work to be nominated, the Academy votes for the top five nominees and then votes again for the winner. You know, the same way that most awards work. Except that, in the case of the Grammys, there's an extra step that you don't often hear about -- the judges receive the votes, crumple them up, throw them into the incinerator, and then pick the nominees they personally want.
There was also that awkward time when their request for more mackerel at the awards' dinner got communicated wrong.
Since 1994, the Grammys have employed a secret panel of judges who have almost unlimited power to tweak the awards in any way they see fit. The secrecy is ostensibly to eliminate the possibility that they can be bribed by the music industry, but it has the effect of creating a kind of music Illuminati whose sole discretion can make or break celebrity careers.
Legend has it that the committee was formed in response to the greatest crisis in Grammy history -- the possibility that "Macarena" was in the running for an award. Whether or not that's true, it's certainly a fact that the Grammys had been struggling for relevance for quite some time, due to the fact that the voting members were frequently out of touch with the public interest and kept packing the nominations with granny pleasers like The Three Tenors and Tony Bennett, at the expense of more relevant artists.
And let's not forget the time they nominated Dinah Washington for Best New Artist in 2013.
The result is a group of people whose job is to tweak the nominations if they stray too far from what the public is likely to relate to. Tony Bennett might be an outstanding artist, but the Grammys lose ratings if the Academy keeps awarding him over, say, the Baha Men, who won the award in 2001 for that great contribution to the American songbook, "Who Let the Dogs Out." Man, 2001 was just a bad year in all metrics.
Baseball Hall Of Fame Is Tainted By Racism And Favoritism
The Baseball Hall Of Fame was established in 1936, an award granted by the Baseball Writers' Association Of America. As you would expect, voters select their nominations based on a player's ability to, you know, play baseball. But, there's another factor that comes into play. Voters are asked to consider the "character" of the player. What does that mean? Basically, anything you like -- from their charity work, to their willingness to buy the team drinks after a game, to how black they aren't.
"Fine ... We guess ..."
The Hall Of Fame's laissez-faire rules basically mean that nominees can win an award based on how nice they are to the people who vote for them, and they regularly schmooze with the reporters and writers who make up the BBWAA in order to score bro points. For example, Woody Paige (Denver sports columnist and regular ESPN panelist) has been good friends with former Yankee Goose Gossage since the '70s and has even said that he "would vote for him even if he wasn't deserving. I like voting for friends." Paige has also admitted that he "always votes for Rockies," his hometown team.
Although in his defense, that might just be out of pity.
Of course, the knife cuts both ways. If the voters don't like you personally, you can say goodbye to that Hall Of Fame nomination. And unfortunately, due to shitty human nature, that often comes down to the melanin content of your skin. A 1999 empirical study conducted at Mount Holyoke College concluded that the Hall Of Fame has a strong voting bias against non-white players, while at the same time, even known cheaters can get a place in the Hall if they cozy up enough with voters. Pitcher Gaylord Perry confessed to doctoring baseballs in 1974, and then kept playing for years after. He had no problem getting into the Hall in 1991. And Ty Cobb won his place in the Hall after years of being known as a racist and a possible murderer and a stint of climbing into the stands to beat the shit out of a guy with no hands. (To clarify that sentence, it was the victim who had no hands. Cobb's hands were intact, which proved invaluable in both baseball and punching.)
Corporate Awards Have Zero Oversight
Businesses love corporate awards for obvious reasons. But, how did a company such as Comcast, which is consistently regarded as one of the most hated companies in the known universe, earn dozens of these types of awards in 2014?
Researchers at the University Of Massachusetts Amherst studied prestigious awards such as Fortune magazine's "100 Best Companies To Work For" and found that most of the awards are granted solely on the basis of data provided by the company. For comparison, imagine if the Oscars were awarded solely on the basis of how much a director likes his own movie.
On top of that, much of the data that is gathered for nominations such as "most ethical company" and "most LGBT-friendly company" were sourced from workplace surveys that are frequently not anonymous. If your employer hands you a survey about whether or not you think they're a bunch of sociopathic, racist, and homophobic assholes, and the first question it asks is your name and position, honesty is not a priority.
"It seems everyone loves our company except the 27 employees named John Doe."
More damning, the awards are often given out by consulting firms, which may seem like a conflict of interest since these firms often wind up doing consulting work for these same companies.
TL;DR: That's why Comcast is the best!
Figure Skating Is The Most Corrupt Event In The Olympics
Don't be misled by how silly it looks -- figure skating is one of the most physically demanding events in the Olympics, and joining the team, let alone winning a medal, requires years of training and discipline as well as the ability to look serious in a sequined unitard. And all of that matters not in the slightest, since figure skating is more rigged than the Zimbabwe presidential election.
Which is how Sasha Cohen briefly became its President in 2009.
In 1998, Ukrainian judge Yuri Balkov was caught trying to fix the competition. You would probably assume that he would be banned from the Olympics, but, no: He was only suspended. For one year. Which doesn't matter much when you're talking about an event that takes place every four years. Yep, he went right back to the judge's chair in 2002.
As far as anyone knows, he played it straight this time, but that doesn't mean other judges didn't pick up the corruption baton. In 2014, Russia and the United States were accused of attempting to rig multiple events in their favor by voting for one another. But, hey, at least the Russians and Americans are getting along for a change. Isn't world peace worth the integrity of an ice-dancing competition?
Though if the respective leaders ever want to settle their beefs with a skate-dance off, we're absolutely behind the idea.
The Nobel Prize Does Not Recognize Women
There's probably no more prestigious award in existence than the Nobel Prize. Spanning multiple fields of scientific and cultural achievement, getting a Nobel Prize is like beating the final boss in the game of life. And, at least in the scientific fields, you can pretty much forget about it if you have a vagina.
At least they haven't started giving women pink Nobelle Prizes.
The Nobel Committee has gone to some pretty great lengths throughout history to avoid giving science awards to women, even if they are responsible for the actual science that was awarded. In 1957, Chien-Shiung Wu discovered beta decay, but they gave the award to the two dudes who theorized its existence. In 1962, Rosalind Franklin was part of a team who helped confirm the structure of DNA, and the Committee gave the award to her male colleagues.
Most famously, in 1974, astronomer Jocelyn Bell Burnell discovered pulsars and made the mistake of telling her thesis advisor Antony Hewish, who was immediately awarded the Nobel Prize for being A Man Who Heard About A Big Discovery His Student Made.
"I would like to thank my penis for making this possible and for just generally being cool."
Of course, these examples are all from decades ago when you basically picture all of society being like Mad Men, so it probably doesn't surprise you. But even in more recent years, out of 862 awards handed out, only 43 of them have been to women.
On a more positive note, things are beginning to change. The fact is that today's science awards are often handed out to people who have been meticulously researching their subject for half a century, so when the Committee hands out an award, it's usually for a project that started in a time when women really were dissuaded from studying science in favor of studying the biological makeup of a sandwich. Therefore, we can't really suggest it's biased, so much as it still reflects the biases from the time of the Cold War. That's technically better, right?
Whoever this secret Grammy council is, they sure can be a bunch of A-holes -- like that time they gave Steely Dan Album Of The Year over both Radiohead and Eminem. See that and more in The 7 Most Unforgivable Grammy Award Snubs Of All Time. And see why winning the Academy Award really isn't all that cracks up to be in 5 Great Careers Destroyed By The Post-Oscar Curse.
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