For starters, it’s not like award shows represent a flawless genre. Indeed, it often seems that half the people who watch do so just to mock them and gripe, both about the winners selected and the shows themselves.
A primary lure of these ceremonies has been the promise of spontaneous moments: the exultation and acceptance speeches, and the weird alchemy that combination can produce in a live setting. A secondary attraction — and really the bigger one for many — is the spectacle of it all, including who wore what.
Awards in the age of coronavirus don’t provide much of that — sacrificing the rush that goes with the thrill of victory, broadcast live.
In each show, winners were notified and allocated time to offer their thank-yous. The absence of an audience sapped what would have been emotional, crowd-pleasing moments, such as Alex Trebek accepting his award for “Jeopardy!” amid his battle with cancer.
The deft use of clips brought additional production value to both shows. The BET Awards cleverly featured host Amanda Seales in different outfits in a variety of projected backgrounds, as demonstrated by the green screen shown behind her at the very end.
Even the recorded acceptance speeches gave several recipients the opportunity to prepare something of substance — reflecting all that’s going on in the world — beyond the usual litany of thanks to agents, managers and executives frequently issued from the stage in the heat of the moment.
The at-home setting also allows for additional intimacy, such as Jason Thompson of “The Young and the Restless” accepting an Emmy with his young kids laughing alongside him — hokey, sure, but cute nonetheless — or “Days of Our Lives'” Olivia Rose Keegan having friends and family hold signs aloft that read “Justice for All” and “I Only Have 30 Seconds.”
During those awards, “Sesame Street” executive producer Benjamin Lehmann closed his acceptance speech for the long-running children’s program by saying hopefully, “Next year in person?”
“Next year in person” would be welcome for a host of reasons that have nothing to do with which showbiz figures receive a trophy. Until then, these award shows demonstrated that it’s possible to get through the process in a way that honors the recipients and potentially engages an audience — just in a different manner, for a very different time.