It's interesting to me how trends flow. Three months ago, we were all fired up about the controversy surrounding the Academy Awards, which sparked several interesting conversations. Some of those conversations included comparisons to other awards shows. So as I sat and watched the MTV Movie Awards, I wanted to see how different the show is when compared to the Oscars. Here are the three biggest differences that I noticed:
The Oscars have been a big part of my life experiences as it relates to artistic recognition. Even when I've never heard of the movies nominated (which happens more and more each year), I still find a reason to watch the event in its entirety. Conversely, up until this year, I had never watched the MTV Movie Awards, despite the fact that most of the films are considered blockbusters that I've heard of (and a few that I've actually seen).
Now how is that possible? How is it possible that the show that has all the movies that I've never seen get more of my attention than the show that recognizes the movies that I actually have seen? It boiling down to brand awareness. The Oscars bill themselves as the King of Awards. It's very regal, very formal (despite its planned chaos), and very glamorize. Because the Academy Awards have been around since the 1929, it has the pedigree to be able to brand itself as entertainment's highest achievement. This year, the MTV Movie Awards celebrates its 25th year. The show almost feels like it was created to be everything the Academy Awards are not. It's loud, it's fun, it's pop culture references and swearing. The Oscars focus on artistic achievement. The MTV Movie Awards are about big blockbusters. They brand themselves as the most popular. The Oscars brand themselves as the best of the best.
The MTV Movie Awards seems built to give the fans, and only the fans, a true entertainment experience. I mentioned earlier just how loud the MTV Movie Awards are. MTV treats the show more like a concert than a conventional awards ceremony. The actors and nominees are there for the fans to celebrate. They are not necessarily there to celebrate themselves. The nominees are a much larger part of the show for the MTV Movie Awards. When winners are announced, there isn't much awe or surprised behind their expressions. Not all of the nominees are even in attendance (and why would they be, since they would be sharing space with a legion of rowdy fans for two hours).
The Academy Awards are all about prestige. The people in attendance are stars of the highest caliber. Whether they've been nominated or even had a movie produced during that year's ceremony doesn't even matter. This is a celebration of the talent, not of what the fans approve of. The winners cry and get emotional because the is for them, not the fans. It's not about what's popular or what made the most money. It's about what's considered a high artistic achievement.
Obviously, the fans get to vote for the MTV Movie Awards. The Oscars has a committee that does the voting. This affects the kind of award categories available. The categories for The MTV Awards feel like gimmicks, and they need to be gimmicks because there has to be certainty that people will vote. They have awards like Best Kiss and Best Fight Scene because fans wouldn't know enough about audio mixing or cinematography to vote for it, meaning that the pool of awards is far more limited for the MTV Movie Awards than they are for the Oscars. This also affects branding. I know off the top of my head what the major categories are for the Oscars. And I know the type of movies that typically get nominated. The MTV Movie Awards produces the same kind of predictability because, as long as the film was popular and made lots of money, we'll have a sense of who will win. In fact, categories might even be created to ensure that a certain movie is recognized.