What do The Weeknd and Glenn Close have in common? On the surface, not much.
But recent events have united these two well-respected artists against one common enemy. The ‘gatekeepers.’ Who are the gatekeepers?
In general, they’re the group of people guarding the ‘gates’ of success in film and music. And these few people decide the fate of artists small and large.
And unfortunately, gatekeepers do more than tell us what’s good and bad in music and culture.
Glenn Close is an absolute legend in the acting world. She’s well respected among peers and fans alike. Vanity Fair said she’s been “long considered one of the greatest actresses of our time. ”
In her 40+ year acting career, she’s been nominated for an Oscar seven times, which is the record without a win.
So you can understand why she still hasn’t quite gotten over some of the more questionable Oscar victories during her career. Most notably, she expressed her confusion over Gwenyth Paltrow’s 1999 ‘Best Actress’ win for her role in “Shakespeare in Love.”
Check out her take below:
“What? It doesn’t make sense,” Close said, confounded by Paltrow’s win (that Glenn Close was not competing against).
And as Paltrow continues down her strange, Goopy journey, that win becomes all the more confusing. The movie Paltrow starred in “Shakespeare in Love,” also won Best Picture.
What? Does anyone still talk about this movie? Did anyone even watch it?
The fact that it beat out two of the biggest war epics in the past 20 years in “Saving Private Ryan” and “Thin Red Line” makes it all the more mind-boggling. But it’s not just the film industry gatekeepers that are stupefying.
I’ve already covered how The Weeknd faced a cold, senseless rejection from 2021’s Grammy nominations. With a critically-acclaimed album and a record-breaking single, The Weeknd couldn’t even muster one nomination.
And he was rightfully upset.
The voting committee consists of people working in the music industry, but as one Grammy screener told Complex, the voters are still often clueless:
Famous people tend to get more votes from clueless Academy members, regardless of the quality of their work.
Former record executive Steve Stoute claimed that when it comes to “the legacy and perspective on what’s art and what isn’t,” the committee is “blatantly lost.”
And The Weeknd wasn’t alone. Even Justin Bieber was at a loss by some of the committee’s decisions:
Pop queen Halsey recently said that the nominations are “not always about the music.”
So when artists like Glenn Close or The Weeknd make a fuss, it’s not always because they’re bitter. It’s because something might actually be wrong with this process that’s become intertwined into all of our lives.
You might not care about The Weeknd or Glenn Close. But the problems that these artists are highlighting affect all of us.
The core of the issue is that a select few are making major decisions on behalf of all of us—a select few that we did not choose.
Check out the group of people who will be deciding on the best movie of the year:
But it goes beyond award shows.
What is the electoral college but a select few who decide for the whole? Do we get to choose them? No. Political parties often nominate an elector to represent them. Essentially, politicians aren’t allowed to be electors, but they’re allowed to choose the people who are . Does that sound democratic to you?
Gatekeepers in Silicon Valley, and their algorithms, have made a confusing mess of how we perceive the world. As outlined in The Social Dilemma, a select few decision-makers at companies like Apple, Facebook, Google, and YouTube get to decide what we see on our feeds and searches. And unfortunately, it’s not going well.
So when people like Glenn Close and The Weeknd ring the alarm, don’t be too quick to dismiss them as rich, Hollywood quacks. They just have a headstart on seeing the problems that affect us all.