The Nobels are the originals, of course. Not all awards are as noble as the Nobels. There are now hundreds of awards and awards ceremonies for all kinds of things.

Magazine - Awards

Instructions

Do the Preparation task first. Then go to Text and read the article (you can also listen to the audio while you read). Next go to Task and do the activity.

Audio icon Download audio 2.8MB (right click & save)

Awards

by Chris Rose

The Nobels are the originals, of course. Alfred Nobel, the man who invented deadly explosives, decided to try and do something good with all the money he earned, and gave prizes to people who made progress in literature, science, economics and – perhaps most importantly – peace.

Not all awards are as noble as the Nobels.  Even though most countries have a system for recognising, honouring and rewarding people who have done something good in their countries, there are now hundreds of awards and awards ceremonies for all kinds of things.

The Oscars are probably the most famous, a time for the (mostly) American film industry to tell itself how good it is, an annual opportunity for lots of big stars to give each other awards and make tearful speeches. As well as that there are also the Golden Globes, apparently for the same thing.  

But it’s not only films – now there are also Grammies, Brits, the Mercury Prize and the MTV and Q awards for music. In Britain, a writer who wins the Booker prize can expect to see their difficult, literary novel hit the bestseller lists and compete with "The Da Vinci Code” for popularity.  The Turner Prize is an award for a British contemporary artist – each year it causes controversy by apparently giving lots of money to artists who do things like display their beds, put animals in glass cases or – this year – build a garden shed.

Awards don’t only exist for the arts.  There are now awards for Sports Personality of the Year, for European Footballer of the year and World Footballer of the Year.  This seems very strange – sometimes awards can be good to give recognition to people who deserve it, or to help people who don’t make a lot of money carry on their work without worrying about finances, but professional soccer players these days certainly aren’t short of cash!

Many small towns and communities all over the world also have their own awards ceremonies, for local writers or artists, or just for people who have graduated from high school or got a university degree.  Even the British Council has its own awards for “Innovation in English Language Teaching”.

Why have all these awards and ceremonies appeared recently?  Shakespeare never won a prize, nor did Leonardo da Vinci or Adam Smith or Charles Dickens.

It would be possible to say, however, that in the past, scientists and artists could win “patronage” from rich people – a king or a lord would give the artist or scientist money to have them paint their palaces or help them develop new ways of making money.  With the change in social systems across the world, this no longer happens.  A lot of scientific research is now either funded by the state or by private companies.  Perhaps awards ceremonies are just the most recent face of this process.

However, there is more to it than that.  When a film wins an Oscar, many more people will go and see it, or buy the DVD.  When a writer wins the Nobel prize, many more people buy their books.  When a group win the MTV awards, the ceremony is seen by hundreds of thousands of people across the world.  The result?   The group sell lots more records.

Most awards ceremonies are now sponsored by big organisations or companies.  This means that it is not only the person who wins the award who benefits – but also the sponsors.  The MTV awards, for example, are great for publicising not only music, but also MTV itself!  

On the surface, it seems to be a “win-win” situation, with everyone being happy, but let me ask you a question – how far do you think that publicity and marketing are winning here, and how much genuine recognition of achievement is taking place?

Download

Discussion

Tags

Comments

In my verdict, awards usually go to people who are really doing a good jobs but sometimes these awards go to people who don't deserve at all. This happen because of some reasons.

Most awards are nowadays simple marketing operations. Their goal is getting money, tricking uninformed people and promoting people or activities without real value. People must be very alert to recognize what awards are honest, what is not very easy.

Amazing article. Its spoke my mind.

im new this page its very helpful this articles are great

Hi. Nice article but I don't totally agree. The Oscar is the award for a job well done. We all enjoy music, movies, we all in our busy lives need entertainment. Oscars are given for a live career, and I think that Leo di Caprio deserve the award this year. And as a female I go for Kate Winslet . For a live time career the Oscar goes to Morgan freeman. And, oh yes, you forgot the Pullizer award. The most important journalists received it.

Hi! First of all I want to thank the writer of this article. It's really well written.
I think that the only aim of people nowadays is money. And even these awards have this same aim. Sponsors and organisers earn money more than what they spend in these awards. On the surface it seems like sponsors and organisers don't win anything and their only purpose is to recognize people who deserve to be recognized but what they win from publicity and the benefits for their marketing are much important for them. It's a nice thing to honore people who deserve it by these awards but often they are not fair. As I read on comments a lot of people have the same point of view as me. Let's take Leonardo DiCaprio as an example. He is one of the best actors ever. He played in all kinds of movies. But he never won an Oscar I think that it's not fair and he deserves to win more than a lot of people who already won. Let's hope that this year they will admit that he deserves one.

The article didn't say other prize, the Razzies, it's an award ceremony in recognition of the worst in film. :-D :-D

Hi everyone
I didn't know that Alfred Nobel invented deadly explosives, can you believe it ? In my personal opinion I think that prizes are good because all of us need to be recognized when we make good things.

He invented the dynamite...

People nowadays make use of award ceremonies to achieve their purposes, especially the awards given for best actor, film or music. Many people have been whispering that the results have been manipulated and pre-determined.
However, i think the initial intention of giving out an award is good, as it recognize the hard work, contribution made by a person and motivate the person to do even better.

Pages