x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Films are great enough without the awards shows

As a film journalist, I can't stand film awards. If you've already seen the film, does the fact it wins an award make you feel better about it?

As someone who writes mainly about film, there's one thing I probably shouldn't admit to. No, not that I'm allergic to the cinema, that would be ridiculous. They can be a bit chilly, yes, but I've kept a handy jumper in the car at all times (note to self: wash jumper). No, my embarrassing admission is that I hate awards. Oscars, Baftas, Golden Globes, the lot. Can't stand them. Despise them. Loathe them.

It's not the actual awards per se, although a room full of millionaires thanking each other for helping them become millionaires isn't something I'd call entertainment, but the utterly ridiculous build-up and the pseudoscientific speculation that goes on around them.

Sure, go see a film, like it, love it, tell your friends about it, write about it, tweet about it (see, I'm totally finger-on-the-pulse), stick it on your MySpace, see it twice if you like (sometimes necessary for films such as Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and less so for Guy Ritchie titles), buy the DVD, buy the soundtrack, whatever. But why get yourself into a sweaty red-faced flap over whether the film should then go on to win an award or not? Unless you were involved in the production somehow and want the recognition, I just don't see the point.

"Oh, I'm so gutted that [insert preening Botox-faced A-lister] didn't win Best Actress, it's so unfair." Why? Trust me, she'll be OK. "I was relieved that [dreary emotional drama based on a far better book] got the Best Film, [insert millionaire director with impressive property portfolio] really deserves it." I've heard both these statements and my first response (before reaching for the shotgun) was: why? Why do you care about these people? They certainly don't care whether you win "Most Improved Behaviour" or "Tidiest Desk" at your end-of-year awards, so why should you spend any time concerned about their mantelpiece?

If you've already seen the film, does the fact it wins an award make you feel better about it? I thought the Lord of the Rings: Return of the King was amazing. When the film won the Academy Award for Best Picture, my feelings towards it were unchanged. Likewise, I'll probably watch The Shawshank Redemption every time it comes on TV, even though it lost out to Forrest Gump (which I doubt I'll hurry to see again) and my sofa can probably tell you how Tim Robbins escapes.

I don't get it. I've seen people who didn't bat an eyelid when Israel started bombing Gaza but were on the verge of tears because some woman in a nice dress half a world away didn't win a little gold statuette or get the chance to have a painfully gushing acceptance speech become an overnight YouTube sensation.

As ever, it's the journalists who exacerbate the situation, packing their pages with paragraph after paragraph of calculated theory about who should win, why they should win and why in the end they didn't win, but didn't they look nice not winning.

And yes, I am one of them.

So, who's it going to be, Clooney, DiCaprio or Pitt? They all deserve it.

 

aritman@thenational.ae