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Why the Emmys made me sad - Jason A. Smith

I've always liked watching awards shows. Whether it's the Emmys, the Academy Awards, or the Grammys, I enjoy finding out who won what.

Of course, once upon a time, that's what these awards shows were actually about, along with seeing what everyone was wearing.

These days, though, it seems like the focus has shifted more toward who said what.

Celebrities have become notorious for using their platform as presenters, performers or award recipients, to spout off their opinions on all things political. Occasionally, that platform gets these celebrities into trouble.

Enter Sally Field.

I've always liked Field, beginning with her performance in the first "Smokey & The Bandit" movie with Burt Reynolds and carrying on through her performance as Forrest Gump's mother. She's a great actress, and when she sticks with what brought her to the dance, there are few performers I enjoy watching more on a consistent basis.

That's why I was saddened to see her ramble on as she did on Sunday night's Emmy awards show, complete with one of the most vulgar expletives anyone can say, in my opinion.

Yes, she was censored, but in the age in which we live, the entirety of her statement is accessible with a few clicks of a mouse, so her comments have an even wider reach than they might have had in the old days.

Certainly, she is entitled to her opinion. Apparently, that opinion is she doesn't agree with the Iraq war, or wars in general. I may disagree with her on that. She has the right to believe whatever she wants, and her passion for her beliefs led her to say what she said.

As I composed this column, I sat and pondered why I was so sad when I heard Field's comments. It's not because I thought she was on board completely with the war. It's not because FOX decided to censor her just as she was saying a word I hate.

Then I figured out why I was sad, and the reason was rather bizarre to me.

I was sad for those involved in the night's other notable moment. I was sad for shows like "30 Rock" and "The Sopranos" - neither of which I've ever even watched. I was sad for individuals like James Spader and Jeremy Piven, both of whom took home trophies for their work on their respective shows.

I was sad for the cast of "Roots," who appeared on stage in celebration of the landmark miniseries' anniversary.

Why was I sad, you ask? I was sad because when it was time to write this column, I had to be reminded of everything that happened on the show, thanks to the seemingly endless coverage of Field's tirade that overshadowed the rest of the broadcast.

Something tells me I'm not the only one who fits into this category - though I must admit I was happy to have forgotten about Al Gore's presence on the show, if only for a while.

It just strikes me as being beneath someone of Sally Field's stature in the industry to bring attention to herself in the way she did. Her Hollywood legacy deserves better than that, and so do the people who still watch awards shows for the awards.

Jason A. Smith covers crime and courts for the Henry Daily Herald. He can be reached at (770) 957-9161 or via e-mail at jsmith@henryherald.com.