The best of the worst: Diana film starring Naomi Watts reigns at this year’s Barfta Awards
Awards recognise the clangers to have disgraced the screen this year
Nick Clark is the arts correspondent of The Independent. He joined the newspaper in June 2007, initially reporting on the stock markets. He has covered beats including the City, and technology, media and telecoms and made the switch to arts in December 2011. He has also contributed articles to the sports section.
Friday 28 February 2014
Before the razzle dazzle of Sunday’s Oscars comes another awards ceremony, but one that does not aspire to Hollywood glamour.
Instead, the Barfta Awards – chosen by the British Academy for Rubbish Films and Terrible Acting – recognises the cringeworthy and the clangers to have disgraced the screen this year.
And while it might not surprise anyone who paid to see it, The Independent can reveal that Diana has dominated the 2014 prizes, picking up the two top awards.
The event was set up by the showbiz website Popbitch, and its co-founder Camilla Wright said: “There was only going to be one winner in my mind this year.”
The film directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, which focuses on the last two years of the princess’s life, landed the award for worst film, while its star Naomi Watts picked up worst actor, in light of what organisers called a “misfire of biblical proportions”.
Saying that it took her “eight or nine goes to watch it,” Ms Wright explained: “They used an actress who looked nothing like Diana, in settings that looked nothing like reality, and the script… it was impossible to believe what you were hearing.”
It is certainly a popular choice with critics, who panned the film when it was released in September. One said of the lead role: “Wesley Snipes in a blonde wig would have been more convincing.”
The Independent’s reviewer, Anthony Quinn, described Diana as “Mills and Boon, a would-be tragic romance that spares us nothing in soppiness or banality”. The dialogue, he added “seems to have been translated, badly, from another language. It will provoke much mirthless laughter.” Particularly risible lines picked out included: “You don’t perform the operation, the operation performs you.” That was delivered by Naveen Andrews, who played Diana’s surgeon lover Dr Hasnat Khan.
Diana beat Richard Curtis’s effort About Time, as well as Run for Your Wife, the Danny Dyer film that earned just £747 on its opening weekend. There was a special mention for I Give It a Year, however, which had “characters so cardboard, dialogue so forced and shoe-horned in stand ups so blatant it would be a contender in any year”.
And while 12 Years a Slave gears up for best picture at the Oscars, 12 in a Box, starring Miranda Hart, made the Barftas shortlist for worst film.
There is currently no physical award for the unlucky winners other than “spiritual vibes,” Ms Wright said. “Next year we may come up with an actual award to give people.”
The academy, whose prizes precede Saturday’s Razzie Awards, the US equivalent when it comes to recognising bad cinematic efforts, is anonymous but consists of both film makers and reviewers, said Ms Wright.
“There is a lot of pride being taken by the academy that bad films are not just something that Americans can do. We deserve to take pride in running America pretty close.”
The worst international film went to Movie 43, the star-studded film that was described as the “Citizen Kane of awful”.
Richard Gere, Uma Thurman, Kate Winslet and Hugh Jackman were all in the film – as was the unfortunate Naomi Watts.
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