SAFTAs 2012: The Controversies

I made some predictions about the Saftas and I am happy that most of my choices did make the cut. I may not be Roger Ebert but clearly I do know a thing or two about performing arts... if I do say so myself. Anyway, the date is set for the Saftas and Mzansi is looking forward to a night of stars to shine.

Unfortunately, as it has become a norm with these awards, there are some controversies that has marred what should be the biggest event in our industry.

The first bomb came at the expense of 7de Laan. The SABC 2 Afrikaans soapie was scrapped from the competitive Best Soap category. The "excuse" from the organisers is that the soap has failed to submit the show in any of the other categories thus making the show ineligible. 

Ok, that sounds fair, right? WRONG. The problem with this feeble excuse is that it does not fly given the fact that the winner for the Best Soap in South Africa is voted for by the public thus making all soaps in this country eligible for nomination in principle. 

Interestingly, 7de Laan has proven to be very popular with the voting public. It boast the bragging rights of being the only soap in Mzansi to win the coveted award three times in a row. That is why this b**ch-slap sent shockwaves across the industry.

Bear with me here, I know I can be a tad slow sometimes (I was a bottle baby), to me logic dictates that 7de Laan should never have even been questioned about this let alone be scrapped given its track record. 

This is a public vote category and "the public" love 7de Laan according to the Saftas votes. Who in their right mind in the organising committee thought this embarrassing decision would be ok? 

These awards are already shrouded in controversy with industry players even doubting their credibility, do they really need silly decisions like this? I think not.

While on the issue of credibility. As it has been the case since the inception of the awards, this year has not been without the usual detractors. 

Again, industry folks are crying foul because the organisers have once again failed to give the names of the people who are in the panel that nominates and chooses the winners. 

Some of the big hoo-hah comes from the fact that the nominees are apparently voted decided upon by 104 "judges" who work within the industry and who are previous category winners. 

To be fair, I do not have an issue with that as even the famous Oscars have former winners and nominees on the list of members of the Academy that selects and votes for nominees and winners. BUT who are these SAFTA judges?

However what I do have a problem with is the nomination process for soapies. I was flabbergasted to learn that soaps have to submit episodes for considerations.

What that means is that a show like Generations could have a crappy storyline for an entire 2 years but have one episode where it shines then they submit that episode and win all the awards. 

That to me is plain ridiculous. I would have thought it makes sense to judge a show based on a run for a specific season. That would mean if the SAFTAs judge shows based on a 24 months period then they judge a soap on how it performed in that duration.

Another unfortunately issue with this nomination process is that the SAFTAs run on a 2 year season which means actors we have long forgotten about end up creeping up on the nomination list after 2 years and we are left thinking; When last was she on screen? Why is she there?

That said, despite all the drama, this year the nomination does reflect a wide variety of talent. Many of whom I personally believe deserve the recognition. 

Shona Ferguson, Thato Molamu and Louise Barnes have done a superb job in their roles on The Wild, Generations and Scandal, respectively.

On the positive side; apparently this year's sixth Saftas drew a record number of 233 entries despite the show often derided by TV and film critics who are shut out from actually judging the award categories. 

Last year journalists were literally shut out of the venue and had to watch the event on TV screens setup for them outside. No seriously! This is not a joke. Hopefully this year the setup will be more accommodating to people who actually a pivotal role in the success of this industry. 

1 comment:

ZinG said...

you're back! that was long break hey...

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