The 2018 Grammy Awards which held last Sunda revolved around one man – Bruno Mars.
Mars won in all the categories in which he was nominated, and this has raised a few questions.
Not a few expected rapper, Jay-Z to cart home a couple of statuettes out of the eight nominations he received for his personal and socially conscious latest album 4:44. This was not to be.
It’s not the first time this sort of thing is happening. Award ceremonies often start and end with controversies. Sometimes, this stems from a major national issue such as the Black Lives Matter movement or a notion in certain quarters that a section of awardees will forever remain outcasts when it comes to clinching the winners’ prize.
Bringing it down home, we don’t have to look too far back to recall what happened on the first day of 2016. Two label owners and music heavyweights in Nigeria butted heads over the next rated category where their protegees had been nominated.
YBNL boss, Olamide insinuated that Lil Kesh had been cheated out of winning the coveted prize that ended up being snagged by Mavin’s Reekado Banks.
For days, social media audiences argued for and against how deserved it was that Reekado emerged as the next rated artiste.
It’s the curse of award ceremonies. Someone somewhere is always going to be disgruntled about how things pan out. A couple of people are always going to feel the one they were rooting for was denied the top prize if they lose out to a rival.
One nominee is sure to believe they are more deserving than the eventual winner.
Expecting an award ceremony without dissatisfied individuals or groups is like expecting an English Premier League match to be devoid of any controversial judgements by the referee. It’s almost impossible.
While the idea of recognizing those who have made a significant mark with their artistry is laudable, the truth is those who have their own personal favourites are going to form the pool of judges. This already presupposes that the process will be subjective.
The scenario isn’t different when the voting public is given the leeway to name their preferred winner. Because every human has a personal bias, the votes will not often sway in favour of the most deserving person.
One time someone was conducting a poll where he asked who people would rather vote between their friend who entered for a competition but was clearly not the best contestant and a stranger who was more deserving of the prize. Most people said they would vote their friend. I was one of them. And the reason is simple – loyalty.
As long as humans are in charge of selecting winners in any contest at all, there will always be the possibility of the best man losing out.
It’s why no wise man should measure his success by the amount of awards he clinches or fails to win. It’s why a person should never be bothered if they are nominated for an award or not.
There are hardworking, intelligent, and smart people who are making their mark in their little corner of the world every single day. These people may never get publicly recognized, but pray tell, does it invalidate their achievements?
There are even those who are relatively well known for their contribution to society but have also never been nominated for an award. This reality does not water down the importance of their remarkable deeds.
Before Leonardo DiCaprio won Best Actor at the 2016 Academy award for his sterling performance in The Revenant, everyone had all but given up on that iconic moment ever happening.
He had come close many times, and at some point, it was even rumoured that the Academy had a bone to pick with the Titanic star. Hence, the reason he was snubbed many times. And even though he won on his fifth nomination, there had never been any doubt in the mind of audiences around the world that DiCaprio was one of the best in the art.
In the same vein, veterans like Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, and Harrison Ford will always be revered whether they end up winning that elusive Oscar or not.
Award ceremonies aren’t bad in themselves. However, there’s the ever-present tendency of reducing a person’s worth to a few minutes of applause and a piece of metal. Let alone the fact that vote-based awards are mostly popularity contests.
The most gratifying kind of applause comes from being appreciated by regular men and women who value your work.
Discerning people recognise greatness when they see it; and trust me, such recognition does not come from the number of awards a person has on their shelf.
Asa ranks among the top 5 best Nigerian artistes in the modern era. Yet, I am not sure she can boast of half of the awards some artistes who are more of one in name than in art have received.
Hardwork should not be embraced because of the fleeting glory that comes with receiving a figurine and perfunctory applause. Rather, it should be a part of our lives because it’s the only way we can become all we were made to be.
Apart from an inner conviction that you are living your best life, the heartfelt message of thanks from a complete stranger trumps any award you can receive.
The smile that plays on the lips of a true fan when they hear your name, the unsolicited vote of confidence from a John Doe who has encountered your work – this is kind of recognition you should crave and work towards.