As a recent nominee at an incredibly low-profile awards ceremony, (being involved in the creation of a product that was nominated for an Innovation in Education Award at the BETT Awards which was held in the dizzily glamorous setting of a 3-star hotel in London Bridge) I feel eminently qualified to offer insider insight to the goings on at awards ceremonies. Whilst I suspect that nominees for Brits, BAFTAs and Oscars may not actually have to nominate and pay for their own nominations, it might stop some of the cringe-inducing feign modesty and overt surprise if they did.
Obviously, most people enjoy a bit of escapism and the occasional opportunity to put on a best frock and have a nice swank about but, and I don’t wish to come across as some kind of Amish-in-training, the extravagance of the Oscars swanking is frightening; attendees sporting outfits that most of us wouldn’t even dream of looking at the price label of, let alone buying and wearing, the majority of whom get given them free anyway (ah the irony). All kudos to Helen Hunt, as ever, but in this particular instance for trying to break the cycle by wearing an H&M dress.
There’s also the hideous in-crowdness of it all; the same old faces being wheeled out to present, attend or just hang out. Perhaps it’s naive to think the invitation list is compiled with something other than column inches in mind but surely if Elton John and his latest fashion accessory baby Zak’s bank balance were lesser, their late night high-fiving around a room of drunken strangers might have been heralded as tantamount to child abuse.
Actors and directors always maintain that they don’t do what they do for the awards, in which case why not adopt a New Year’s Honours list approach? A few people gather in a room, have a think about it, publish a list in a broadsheet and then have a small private ceremony maintaining the dignity of all involved? Instead, Tinseltown has televised and shared globally its own self-referential fishbowl of an event purely to perpetuate the interest in and subsequent desire to be a part of the movie industry.
For me, most of what Hollywood spews forth is superficial, formulaic and lacking in either realism or enjoyable escapism, and therefore watching a ceremony that celebrates those films and the people involved in their creation holds little interest even if it does involve that romcom runaway successful set of ingredients: the most handsome, best-dressed, star-studded cast of the moment, a couple of grand masters/mistresses, a few lame jokes, a fully contained element of suspense, the odd quirky surprise (Anne Hathaway’s nips), a catchy tune, a few tears, maybe a drunken moment of hilarity/disappointment or two and finally an attempt at authenticity (sound design, editing awards).
Perhaps though, I’m not setting up the situation correctly: Me in front of the TV with an enormous tub of ice-cream, hair in curlers, a box of tissues for the weepy moments and my fave galpal on the other end of the phone, just wishing that level of glamour were within reach of my dour, humdrum existence….except of course for the fact that I am NOT a character in [Insert latest Jennifer Aniston film title here]!