2022 Academy Awards rebrand to be more inclusive. If so, here’s what I predict.

By Brianna Mack
November 18, 2021

Alicia Keys grammy

Viewers of the 2022 Academy Awards can expect refreshing changes thanks to the recent restructuring of the Recording Academy’s voting process. The Academy says they want to rebrand to be inclusive to artists of all backgrounds, but the truth of whether they will stick to this intention will come out with the nominations on Nov. 23.

I can predict some winners, if that actually happens.

If the Grammys want to completely rebrand, then I predict that Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish, SOUR by Olivia Rodrigo, Donda by Kanye West, CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST by Tyler, The Creator, Plastic Hearts by Miley Cyrus, Planet Her by Doja Cat, star-crossed by Kacey Musgraves, and The Off-Season by J.Cole will be nominated. 

This would be the first time that this category is led by women. If the Recording Academy wants to restructure the way that they are perceived, then they should acknowledge the strong year that women have had in the music industry. Albums like star-crossed and SOUR had some of the best songwriting this year.

My predictions are based on the wave of people speaking out against the Grammys in 2020. Deborah Dugan, the former CEO and president of the Recording Academy, filed a series of complaints against the Recording Academy in January 2020, accusing them of sexual misconduct toward their female employees (she called the Academy a “boys club”) and rigging their voting system in favor of artists that have any kind of relationship with an Academy member. In her report, Dugan blamed the lack of diversity in the Recording Academy’s membership for the lack of rewards given to women and Black Americans. She said that the Academy’s “secret committees” allow them to justify their exclusivity. 

A few months after the Dugan controversy, pop star the Weeknd exposed the Academy for giving him an impossible ultimatum: Perform at the Super Bowl halftime show or the Grammys. The Weeknd received zero Grammy nominations for his album After Hours after choosing to headline the halftime show. The Recording Academy received backlash after the 2021 nominations were announced because After Hours was one of the best-selling, highest-charting albums of the year.

When asking Cabrini University students their thoughts on whether the Grammys will really change due to the recent outrage many of them said they don’t think the Grammys will because of their high status in the music industry. Criminal Justice major Tymirra Willimas said, “I honestly don’t think that they’ll stop.” Because the Weekend is one artist and Dugan is a woman, Williams believes that the Grammys will not have to change their ways. 

These two major events caused the Recording Academy to restructure its voting process. The new CEO of the Academy, Harvey Mason Jr., announced in April 2021 that they are removing the “secret committees” in favor of majority voting for members of the Academy in the four major categories: Album of the Year, Best New Artist, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year.

My predictions for Best New Artist are based on the diverse array of musicians who have released quality projects in the past year. To qualify for this category, artists can only have released one album or a minimum of five singles. I predict that Olivia Rodrigo, Charlotte Day Wilson, The Kid LAROI, Celeste, Conan Gray, Tate McCray, Snoh Aalegra, and Arlo Parks will be nominated. All of these artists have had immense success in their respective genres in the past year, but the women have been able to stay in the spotlight for most of the time. For example, despite releasing her debut album ALPHA in 2021, Wilson has co-written chart-topping songs with artists like Drake and Daniel Caesar. 

My predictions for Record of the Year are “Happier Than Ever” by Billie Eilish,  MONTERO (Call Me By Your Name)” by Lil Nas X, “good 4 u,” by Olivia Rodrigo, “Kiss Me More” by Doja Cat featuring SZA, “Peaches” by Justin Bieber featuring Giveon and Daniel Caesar, “telepatia” by Kali Uchis, “Positions” by Ariana Grande, and “transparentsoul” by WILLOW featuring Travis Barker. This category focuses on highlighting the production of the song. 

These predictions have are representative of more minority groups than in past Grammy nomination history for this category. Not only were songs like “transparent soul” experimental for the artist, but they also largely exceeded success in their respective communities. The Grammys should aim to recognize this success.

My predictions for Song of the Year are “willow” by Taylor Swift, “Driver’s License” by Olivia Rodrigo, “Leave the Door Open” by Silk Sonic, “justified” by Kacey Musgraves, “Your Power” by Billie Eilish, “Damage” by H.E.R.,  “Good Days” by SZA, and “Woman” by Doja Cat. This category focuses on awarding the songwriters and composers of the song. “Your Power” and “justified” are two examples from this category that discuss tough topics like abusive relationships and dealing with complicated feelings post-divorce. The content that many of these songs discuss is refreshing from the content in a typical song on pop radio. In addition to diverse backgrounds, the Grammys should recognize the diverse topics that artists discuss in their music.

My predictions are based on what I’ve documented in the past year about the changing music industry. If the Recording Academy wants to show that they have changed, then the Academy will nominate a more diverse group of artists than in past years.

 

Brianna Mack

Brianna Mack is a communications/music industry and business major. Her love of reading, writing, and music blossomed in middle school by writing short stories for class and joining the choir. She started writing for news and was one of the first participants in the choir during her freshman year of high school. In her junior year, she took a course that inspired her to learn intense research methods. These methods apply to the ways she prepares every article and essay that she writes. She enjoys her work in the Writing Center as a peer tutor because she has always loved writing. She is the president of the XMusica Society, which is the presenting organization on campus. Brianna has two younger siblings. She commutes an hour to school every day, is an active member in her church, and helps facilitate a bible discussion group at Swarthmore College.

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