I am running desperately late with providing you with this reader, as the grande finale of the awards season, the Oscars, is already happening tonight. But then, what’s an awards season without a reader, dear reader, so let’s go.
- Still OK to take issue with women directors being snubbed – again.
Oh, so many people have already said their public peace about this. Stephen King, who sits on the board of people who decide about Oscar nominations and such important matters, tweeted earlier how he only looks at the quality of the films, not whether the director is a woman or otherwise not a white middle aged man. Who’s to disagree with this? Surely anyone would want their film to be awarded by its merits, not by what type of genitals they carry around in their underpants?
Yes but. Only ever nominating films by the same white middle aged men year in, year out, sends an important message: only certain types of films will be considered worthy of the honour. That only a particular viewpoint by a particular segment of film producers and directors will be appreciated by the selection board that also consists of middle aged white men. That women directors are still category “other”.
The important thing to keep in mind is that Oscars, or any other awards, are not about getting to schlep home a tiny brass statue. The nominations are announced months ahead of the ceremony. Nominated films are granted extra circulation in cinemas and overall huge press opportunities (reviews, interviews) that in turn generate a lot of money. It’s the money and visibility you will want for your film, not a pat on the head by some highbrow critics and two months running time at an obscure independent Belgian movie theatre.
Prince William, the President of the BAFTA, gave a speech at the BAFTA ceremony last week. He was very upset about the lack of diversity in the nominations this year. I looked on in sympathy (on TV, I must add – I was not present at the awards) and was waiting for his point to came across. It didn’t. Yes, he’s saddened by the choice of BAFTA nominations this year. Also he is the president of the BAFTA. *puzzled*
- OK to only care about the circus, not really the films.
I find the ceremonies themselves a tedious watch. Who has the time to listen to random sound engineers thank their hamsters and dead grandmothers? No, I’m there for the dresses (again, in spirit). I find the most pleasant way to study what people are wearing is checking the papers online for professional photographs.
I also enjoy reading about the prep that goes into the gala-looks. Delightfully many stars these days share blow-by-blow details of their hair- and makeup sessions on Instagram. This can be very entertaining, depending on how drunk/high they already are when their glam squads are applying the finishing touches.
Some will indulge us with their full 360° awards season prep countdown that also includes diet and exercise tips. I’ve lived over four decades and am no longer fooled. “Clean eating, drinking lots of water and exercising 3-4 times a week” means eating dust (the sort that can be collected from atop your reading lamp is supposed to be particularly laden with anti-radicals) and nothing else. Yes, water is allowed, and then a lot of lard-freezing, fillers, body-sculpting of various kind and don’t forget platypus-walking so that you, too, can look like Jennifer Lopez when you turn 50.
- But also the films are often good.
Of this year’s lot I have seen and liked:
Almodovar’s Pain and Glory with Antonio Banderas,
Judy (amazing Renee Zellweger as Judy Garland)
Marriage Story (Scarlett Johansson and Adam Driver)
Bombshell (Charlize Theron, Margot Robbie, Nicole Kidman), see more here
American Factory (document by the Obamas)
The Two Popes (Jonathan Pryce, Anthony Hopkins)
Once Upon a Time in… Hollywood (Leonardo di Caprio, Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt *see next bullet*)
- I now have the answer.
I recently said in an interview that for most of my professional life I have been writing speeches for middle aged men and had gotten so used to imagining what they would say that I felt like I’d forgotten what my own voice sounded like. Imagine my absolute delight when it hit me that Hollywood stars hire speechwriters for the awards. This is an astonishing fact, as most of the acceptance speeches are absolute shit ie. 90 seconds of rambling lists of collaborators’ and family members’ names.
However, so shit are the speeches normally that if someone does give a good acceptance speech, an international hunt for the speechwriter ensues. This year’s thus far gem was pronounced at BAFTAs, albeit in absentia as the winner was rekindling his relationship with one of his kids: Brad Pitt’s.
Writing speeches for middle aged men just got a whole new perspective. The next time he casually mentions to you that he’s hiring and if you’d know anyone, have absolutely no hesitation to pass on my email address.
Thank you for your understanding.
Final point: Don’t forget the awards snacks. I usually go for cheese and tea. The biblical spread in the picture is my discreet European antidote to the all-American merry-go-round. Unfortunately by the time I got to documenting my feast for the blog, I had already destroyed a block of Brillat Savarin. Thus only hard cheeses remain in the selection, which I know to be a faux pas.
What’s more European than smelly cheese and tea? Your Super Bowl snack it certainly ain’t.