Granderson: It’s awards season. Introverts should get a free pass to skip campaigning

One might assume that the people who vote for film, TV and music awards would be aware when the contenders are released and would already be thinking about them when this time of year rolls around. But no.

Before there’s awards season, there is campaign season, when the air is thick with the phrase “for your consideration.” It pops up where “ho, ho, ho” and holiday cheer used to be.

Stipple-style portrait illustration of LZ Granderson

Opinion Columnist

LZ Granderson

LZ Granderson writes about culture, politics, sports and navigating life in America.

Campaign season is life’s palate cleanser — a reminder that while much of the entertainment industry’s facade isn’t real, the competition is. And while everyone loves working collaboratively, the reality is campaign season is a lot like a condensed season of “Survivor.”

For the major awards — depending upon the category — the circuit of promotional publicity is physically demanding, especially for creatives who are also working on new projects concurrently. And there’s always this nagging question buzzing around your ear like a gnat: Does any of this matter in a competition in which some voters can reject the merits of a piece of art simply because it was created by someone they do not like?

Or who didn’t play the game.

Or wait their turn.

It isn’t just the entertainment industry that puts on this circus. Journalists have awards season too. Whatever the field, these competitions are about highlighting your work and mounting a charm offensive. That comes naturally to some folks, but for contenders who fall within the 39% of Americans who identify as introverts, not so much.

Even alone, in the quiet of my own office, the process of submitting my work for consideration for a prize is uncomfortable. I cannot imagine how intense it must be for the introverts whose work is being considered for their industries’ highest honors on a much, much larger stage. And those whose publicists are setting up endless brunches with potentially influential folks.

For years I had assumed all the folks in front of the cameras at this time of year were having the time of their lives. And many are. However, I’ve come to understand that creative introverts dread campaign season. They’re allergic to the self-promotion. Not to mention that the world is designed to reward extroverts. In school, they get the attention of teachers. At work, they speak up in Zoom meetings. Introverts would rather not. But you can’t reap the harvest in awards season if you don’t plant seeds through self-promotion.

And with the Golden Globes happening this weekend, the work that goes into promoting the work is really just beginning for Barbenheimer and the gang. Of course, being rich and/or famous with a nice set of abs helps — whether one is an introvert or not. However, having access to life’s comforts doesn’t always translate into being able to live comfortably.

It’s a trade-off. And when you look beyond all of the glitz, you see that we all have some version of a campaign season.

In your world, maybe it happens at the company’s annual golf outing or holiday party when the ambitious folks work the bosses for a promotion. Hollywood’s moment comes with red carpet and couture, but that industry’s creatives are a lot like the rest of us: lobbying to have our hard work recognized.

To be seen.

To be considered.

And after a year in which hundreds of thousands of workers went on work stoppages across the country, including writers and actors, it must feel particularly strange for many in Hollywood who now go from fighting for one form of consideration from the industry to campaigning for this one. Even more so for the introverts who didn’t want to leave the cocoon to do either.

For extroverts, maybe it’s like an extended holiday season, full of fun and surprises.

We introverts are bracing ourselves for less-than-fun, but we know that sometimes competition matters because we believe our work matters.

@LZGranderson

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