Long faces and sour grapes: when awards ceremonies don't go by the script
Prolific writer and commentator John Walsh contributes columns to the paper as well as writing features, interviews and restaurant reviews. He has been editor of The Independent Magazine, literary editor of the Sunday Times and features editor of the London Evening Standard.
Tuesday 15 January 2013
The Award for Best Face at the Golden Globes went to Tommy Lee Jones.
As Will Ferrell and Kristen Wiig performed an hilarious double-act of misunderstanding the plot of several nominated films, the sour puss that Jones displayed, amid all the perma-beaming, shining-eyed beauties at the first night of the movie industry's awards season, could have curdled milk.
Perhaps he'd been told he was going to be pipped to the Best Supporting Actor gong (in Lincoln) by Christoph Waltz playing, in Django Unchained, almost exactly the same role he played in Inglourious Basterds.
But might his thunder-over-Mount-Rushmore face have been a sign of the Academy's disapproval of the Globes?
For years, it's been accepted that the Globes are a kind of dry run for the Oscars, a kid brother of an award; an apprentice prize; a work-experience award; its choices cautiously safe options to be officially rubber-stamped by the infinitely superior Oscars. Now, though, they've gone all off-message. They gave Best Film to Argo! For Christ's sake! Didn't they get the memo that it was supposed to go to Lincoln?
Did the words "Spielberg" and "America" and "abolishing slavery" not add up to the top film of the year?
And though Argo concerns a real-life American intervention in the Middle East, well so does Zero Dark Thirty, which is about US Seals assassinating a monster in recent history, not about some scaredy-cat US diplomats sneaking out of Tehran in the 1970s, and is therefore much more Oscar-worthy. Jeez. And they gave Ben Affleck the Best Director silverware! Ben goddam Affleck, who's not even in the nominations for a best-director Oscar. They've given him the prize over Ang Lee, and David O Russell and, holy moly, Spielberg! What are they, nuts? Has everyone forgotten Gigli?
At a stroke, the Golden Globes judges have ensured that, when the 85th Academy Awards ceremony is held on 24 February, conversations among the academicians will be a little strained. However much they praise the directors of Lincoln and Django and Les Mis and Life of Pi, there'll be a suspicion in the air that, maybe just for one year, they've Got It Wrong.
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