The first show of the 2015 Star Awards – which “affirms and recognises the contributions” of artistes and production members – happens this Sunday, and at the event two of the three sponsored awards will include the “BottomSlim Gorgeous Legs Award” and the “Tokyo Bust Express Sexy Babe Award”. Unlike the other competitive categories which are (at least) contingent upon the acting abilities of a performer or the skills of a crew member, as well as the critical acclaim garnered, these two awards are just lazy attempts to appease its sponsors. In addition, individuals who vote online could win slimming treatments vouchers or customised bust treatments respectively through the lucky draw contests.
The “London Choco Roll Happiness Award” is the third of the three sponsored awards, and while the objectification is perhaps less pronounced it is no less ridiculous.
A convenient justification is that such arrangements are inevitable in entertainment and show business – especially when polls for the world’s “sexiest” or most “beautiful” person are ubiquitous, as well as when celebrities are often judged by and for their appearances – though the deconstructed focus by the Star Awards on specific body parts brings to mind a segment last year when television host John Oliver and his team criticised the Miss America pageant. Referencing a PBS documentary it was revealed that the scores of the contestants in the early days were broken down based on their body parts: “five points for the construction of the head, five points for the limbs, three points for torso, [and] two points for the legs”.
Organisers could have been more creative with its sponsored awards, recognising for instance celebrities who have been involved in community service or volunteerism and even those who have amassed strong social media followings, but ultimately the superficiality of these ceremonies bastardises well-intentioned, meaningful awards. And the fact that the Star Awards is getting away with this lazy and somewhat offensive endeavour – objectifying its artistes with the awards while playing to the insecurities of individuals with its lucky draw contests – is a sad indictment of the mainstream entertainment industry in Singapore.