KILLINGS, daily columns and blog —

Column: Film and TV

Award season: Oh, the horror

by Anthony Morris , February 13, 20132 Comments

Photo credit: Alexis Fam Photography

Everybody loves the Hollywood awards season. It’s a magical time of year when all your favourite stars get dressed up to the nines to receive awards honouring them for all their hard work – and I’m sorry, it’s only the second sentence and already I want to throw up. The awards season is a cancer on the world of film – a self-promoting prostitution of everything that the movies should be about in a desperate attempt to get the tabloid press to pay attention to something that is technically an ‘art form’. It’s safe to say I’m not a fan.

For those few who are blissfully unaware, awards season grinds out over a few months and covers a whole range of awards ceremonies, from the UK’s BAFTAs and Australia’s much-maligned AACTAs to the various technical guilds in the USA. Recognising hard work is something no sane individual could object to, but these awards aren’t about that. The whole point of these lesser ceremonies is that they herald the coming of this month’s Academy Awards – the only coverage any of the other awards get is ‘what does this mean for the Academy Awards?’

If the groups handing out the awards cared about their individual awards, maybe they’d hold them after the Oscars. But just like the notoriously dubious Golden Globes – an event voted on by less than a hundred nobodies and designed entirely to promote ‘The Golden Globes’ by making sure the films nominated are a) already popular, and b) in the running for an Oscar – these awards are merely riding Oscars’ coattails down the red carpet. The Oscars are the Superbowl of film, the Grand Final of creativity in the art form.

The worst thing about awards season is…well, it’s not really possible to single out one ‘worst thing’ as there are so many elements competing for that dubious honour and ugh, see how easily the evil of awards-based competition takes hold? Even a simple declarative sentence is corrupted by the ‘Fight! Fight! Fight!’ ideal that these awards symbolise. The arts should be free of this worship of competition, an area where your own individual response to the art in question is the only thing that matters. But history has taught us that your personal fondness for Fast and Furious 5 isn’t going to get 30 seconds of red carpet footage aired at the end of the nightly news.

The worst thing about awards season is that, at a time when we are supposedly celebrating the rise of the nerd and the knowledge-based egalitarian culture this archetype brings, movie awards continue to drag film in the opposite direction. Movie awards take art and turn it into a fight – with a fashion show bolted on. They take something for nerds, and turn it into something for jocks and cheerleaders. It’s not about enjoying the films on their merits: it’s about ‘teams’ and winning, dammit.

The Oscars are little more than a blood-free boxing match with the actresses on the red carpet playing the part of ring girls. It’s not like being crowned the winner means anything in a quality sense. While this year comparing Argo and Zero Dark Thirty sort of makes sense, as they’re both movies about the CIA saving the West from sinister Middle Eastern types, how do you compare them to Lincoln? To Silver Linings Playbook? To Beasts of the Southern Wild? Apart from the year of release and the English language, what do these films have in common that anyone can say makes one somehow ‘better’ than the rest? And if they can’t be compared, what are we talking about here?

Getting dressed up is fun, the ceremony can often be entertaining in itself and if you want to give yourselves awards I say go for it. Just don’t pretend those awards have anything to do with quality. Financial success is measured in box office returns; everything else is judged by history. Who remembers last year’s Academy Award winners, let alone those of a decade ago? In case you’ve forgotten, The Artist was 2012’s big winner, taking out Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor; not even 365 days later, does anyone really think that was the best film of that year?

No Sally, I really don’t.

 

Anthony Morris is a Killings columnist and has been reviewing films for almost 20 years for a variety of publications, many of which have closed down through no fault of his own. Though his insistence on reviewing every single Adam Sandler movie may have played a part.  




  • http://app.legu168.com/pro/KarinRous/tab:info put gold in your ira

    Hello to every body, it’s my first pay a visit of this weblog; this blog carries awesome and in fact good information in favor of visitors.

9781926428239

Abigail Ulman

Cold Feet and Hot Little Hands: Abigail Ulman on writing – and not writing – her first book

Post-book deal, every time I sat down to try to write something, I felt paralysed by some kind of literary stage fright. I had shown my work to other people before – for writing workshops, and submissions to literary journals and competitions – but I had never before written a story while thinking This story is going to be published in a book. Or, more accurately, This story idea is nowhere near good enough to be published in a book. Read more »

9781926428239

Sian Campbell

Girlhood and The Woman-Child in Abigail Ulman’s Hot Little Hands

Each of the stories in Hot Little Hands navigates girlhood in some way, from the lives of high school-age teenagers to those of young twentysomething women. ‘Girl things’ such as horse camp, gymnastics, feminised bodies, clothing, periods, crushes, yoga and gossip weave through the fabric of the text. Though the subject matter is often adult – the girls of Hot Little Hands navigate abortion, sex trafficking, young motherhood, drugs, and deportation – the girls themselves are not… even when they technically are. Read more »

Dont-Try-This-at-Home-_-cover_-FINAL1-300x460

James Tierney

Subscriber Stories: Angela Readman’s Don’t Try This At Home

As a subscriber to publisher And Other Stories’ distribution model, I am in the unusual position of reviewing a book – Angela Readman’s short story collection Don’t Try This At Home – that thanks me by name for making its existence possible. Read more »

amy-schumer

Rebecca Shaw

Amy Schumer and the equal right to be funny

I don’t think men should be banned from making jokes about contentious subjects. I am of the belief that anything can and should be laughed about, and if done right, it can be beneficial. But more often, women are doing it right, and women are doing it better. Read more »

womens-home-companion

Kate Iselin

Trivial Pursuits: The media and ‘women’s interests’

Women, especially in public life, exist as a part of men’s worlds – a big part, sure – but still a part. Even as women become more vocal in demanding accurate and respectful representation, we are kept at arms length by a mainstream media which struggles to catch up. Read more »

SGbTsPQ

Rebecca Shaw

Command and Control: Trophy daughters and overprotective dads

There is no doubt that an overprotective parent is better than a parent who couldn’t care less what their child gets up to. And there is no doubt that most overprotective mums and dads are well-meaning. But paternal ‘protectiveness’ shticks often boil down to fathers not wanting their daughters to have sex, and by extension, get pregnant. Read more »

kstew

Joanna di Mattia

Kristen Stewart Through the Looking-Glass

Kristen Stewart is an actress who has been criticised, maligned even, for an acting style that transmits from set to screen as sullen, adolescent, wooden, blank, fidgety and inelegant. But perhaps she’s an actress concerned with authenticity, and the defining feature of her style is to show us herself by appearing like she’s not acting at all. Read more »

it-follows-4

Anwen Crawford

Behind You: The subtler horror of It Follows

I don’t watch many horror films. Lifelong victim of an overactive and slightly morbid imagination, I regularly envisage disasters, natural or otherwise, that might befall me, without requiring the added stimulus of cinema. Read more »

anne-dorval-and-antoine-olivier-pilon-in-xavier-dolans-mommy

Joanna Di Mattia

All About His Mother: Xavier Dolan’s fierce women

Xavier Dolan has created an exuberant body of cinema that privileges women (and others on the margins) as complex, chaotic beings. Dolan’s fierce mothers are cleaved from the pedestal that so much of cinema places them on, so that they may dig around in the dirt that is life. Read more »

Struggle+Street+KEY+IMAGE

Anwen Crawford

Shame and Stigma on Struggle Street

Struggle Street framed poverty as a combination of genetic inheritance and natural disaster – a barrier to be overcome only through ceaseless positive effort. Those who sabotage themselves through bad choices are therefore fair targets for our scorn, while those who gain employment or remain sober deserve praise for overcoming the odds. The deserving and undeserving poor, in other words. What an old story. Read more »

TheSlap_Show

Genevieve Wood

The Slap: What’s lost when a cricket bat becomes a baseball bat?

‘A cricket bat wouldn’t make sense in an American context’, says Tony Ayres, executive producer of the US adaptation of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap. He’s right, of course – it wouldn’t. But when, in US playwright Jon Robin Baitz’s version, the eponymous slap occurs as the result of a swinging baseball bat, something’s not quite right. Read more »

empire-tv-review-fox

Anwen Crawford

Rise of an Empire

Watching Empire, I wondered why there haven’t been more television shows about record labels, the music industry being the cesspit of venality that it is. Forget TV dramas about police departments and hospital wards – a show about a record label comes with all that conflict, plus outfits, plus songs. Read more »

svfw crop

Katie Williams

Silicon Valley Fashion Week?: Fashion, technology, and wearability

Last week saw the inaugural Silicon Valley Fashion Week? (yes, with a question mark) unfold in San Francisco. The show promised ‘drones, robots, and mad inventions’, and tickets sold out swiftly; attendees were clearly eager to see more inventive clothing in this heartland of nerds. Read more »

AnimalCrossing copy

Katie Williams

Digging For Meaning in Utopia: Storytelling in Animal Crossing

Animal Crossing is a series of games in which – as my partner once remarked incredulously – ‘nothing ever happens.’ In its latest incarnation, Animal Crossing: New Leaf, you become the unwitting mayor of a town populated by anthropomorphic, bipedal animals. Read more »

DUKMRUTRHLU31425064919799

Katie Williams

The Currency of Games: The real world cost of in-game purchases

A new item introduced in World of Warcraft lets players purchase a month of playing time for the real-life price of $20, which they can then sell to other players in-game in exchange for virtual currency. It’s an exchange of real money for a virtual currency that has in-game value but none in the physical, ‘real’ world – and it makes me incredibly uneasy. Read more »

Arts House_Image_10c_Oedipus Schmoedipus (post)_Credit – Ellis Parrinder copy

Jane Howard

A Case for Diversity in Theatre

Attracting different audiences to the theatre is about many things. It’s about accessibility for people without high disposable incomes, but it’s also about marketing and publicity; about creating venues which are physically accessible for people with disabilities; and about ensuring the performers on stage are as diverse as we want their audiences to be. Read more »

2909252617_1f456d0c81_b

Jane Howard

A Working-Class Mythology: Ironing boards at the theatre

In theatre, there is perhaps no prop piece more mythologised than the ironing board, which came to signify the birth of contemporary British theatre. Read more »

ForceM6609

Jane Howard

Witness and Connection at Melbourne’s Dance Massive

In a city where it feels not a day goes by without an arts festival, or three, happening, Melbourne’s Dance Massive is resolutely unique. Australia’s largest dance festival is by necessity heavily reliant on Melbourne-based companies and shows that will go on to tour independently of the festival. The festival is undeniably of, and for, the dance sector in Melbourne. Read more »