Oscar nominations were announced today. Most of the film industry has gone absolutely mad over them. I’m left wondering if the people who voted have actually seen half of these films. So here’s a little exercise. Listed below are the nine films nominated for Best Picture this year. I’ve seen the first five, and have ranked them in order, the other four are somewhat random.
- The Artist
- Midnight In Paris
- The Help
- The Tree Of Life
- The Descendents
- War Horse
- Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close
Now here’s a list of eighteen films which weren’t nominated for Best Picture. Your task is to count how many films on the bottom list should have been on the top list, and consequently vice versa. If you can’t find at least four films to swap over, you’re doing it wrong.
- Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy
- Take Shelter
- Super 8
- We Need To Talk About Kevin
- A Separation
- Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes
- The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
- The Ides Of March
Excellent. If you’re not weeping into your cocoa at the sheer injustice of it all by now, then you have my pity.
If ever you wanted proof that democracy is an inherently flawed concept and that we should all move to a glorious dictatorship, then the announcement of today’s Orange Rising Star Award is a case in point, a catalogue of idiocy that reflects poorly on you, me and everyone we know. Most awards ceremonies are content with allowing 40-50% of their decisions to look bad at the time and worse on reflection, but the BAFTA film awards seem to have come in for a particular level of stick, as the recent announcement of the longlist seemed to please precisely no-one.
But the Orange Rising Star award, the one publicly nominated award at the BAFTA ceremony next month, has taken the cake, the biscuit and various other types of confectionery for levels of general stupidity, and no-one is free from judgement here.
1. The Orange Rising Star award is stupid
I don’t disagree as such with the idea of a rising star award, as if you’re going to hand out glittery baubles to people for being in films, you might as well reward newcomers. But in the six years it’s been handed out so far, the Rising Star award has largely been given to people who’ve somewhat, er, risen. Over the last three years, it’s gone firstly to Noel Clarke, who’d been on screens in Doctor Who for four years, and was nominated on the strength writing and directing a sequel to a film that he’d also written, two years earlier. Two years ago, Kristen Stewart was hardly fresh faced when she won on the strength of several Twilight films, and last year was Tom Hardy.
I have a heterosexual man crush on Tom Hardy almost as big as the one I have for Ryan Gosling – i.e. huge – but he was the bad guy in a Star Trek film ten years earlier, had won an Evening Standard Theatre award in 2003, and even his turn in Bronson was the year before his smallish part in Inception finally got nominated for the award. Tom Hardy, Rising Star in 2011, was 33 at the time he picked up the award. Whoever thinks these people are rising stars are idiots.
2. The voting process for the Orange Rising Star award is stupid
The announcement today was of the final shortlist. This is a shortlist of five that’s been selected from a longlist of eight. It’s difficult to consider this to be anything other than a shameless marketing exercise on the part of Orange, as if you’re going to ask a panel of experts to pick a list of eight people, then eliminate only three of them in the first public vote, why not just get the experts to pick five in the first place? Or cut from eight to three? Asking the public to vote twice, for something with little return for their second vote, just feels overly cynical. Whoever put together this process is an idiot.
3. The five choices out of the eight nominees are idiotic
Jessica Chastain. Remember her? My top ginger of 2011, she went from relative obscurity to worldwide stardom in 2011, having been in… (deep breath) The Tree Of Life, The Debt, The Help, Texas Killing Fields, Take Shelter and Coriolanus in the last twelve months. Surely the textbook definition of someone whose star is rising. If the Queen of Gingers isn’t to your liking, though, then consider Jennifer Lawrence. Unbelievably powerful in Winter’s Bone, she followed it up with a scene-stealing turn in the X-Men prequel this year, and has nabbed the starring role in the next big Harry Potter / Twilight type thing, The Hunger Games.
Sadly, both of these up and coming talents (and Felicity Jones) have missed out on the final five, at the expense of the people in the picture at the top. If you know numbers one and four in that line up on sight, then you’re doing very well. Any award ceremony that puts them in (and they are Adam Deacon and Eddie Redmayne) above Chastain and Lawrence has committed a fail of the most epic variety. And whose half-brained decision was that, exactly? Ours, of course. The public failed to vote in big enough numbers to keep the right people in, or indeed to have the sense of taste to work out who the right people were. People are idiots.
4. Anyone who didn’t vote and who allowed this injustice to happen is an idiot
I didn’t vote. I’m an idiot.