Monday 16th January


So the Golden Globes, seen by many as the dry run for the more prestigious-not to mention financially viable-Oscars next month, have been dispatched with very little in the way of surprise. That is unless ,like me, you wonder why Drive and its stand out performance-certainly amongst the years best if not the best- from Ryan Gosling managed to be ignored as not only a winner but from actually being nominated, Gosling was nominated for Crazy Stupid Love and The Ides Of March so he wasn’t left totally out in the cold. It was not alone in the glaring omissions category-surely a new category which should be included in future years- as also missing were We Need to Talk about Kevin-both Tilda Swinton and Ezra Miller turned in amazing performances- The Help, which has impressed its audiences although critics remain sniffy about its sentiments, and countless others including the independent Weekend  featuring a heartfelt performance by newcomer Tom Cullen. It was no big shock to see The Artist sweep the board taking home six awards as it is indeed an irresistible film offering up a refreshing alternative to the crash, bang wallop CGI dominated films which infiltrate and pack out the multiplexes at this time of year. No surprise either that industry stalwarts George Clooney and Meryl Streep took home prizes either as both have paid their dues although in Streep’s case she has been ably rewarded being the most Oscar nominated actor ever-16 times so far- and Clooney although winning the supporting actor award a few years back has never taken home the big prize so far. The chances are good  both will reprise their success-along with The Artist- at next months ceremony but who knows what way things will pan out as the Oscars generally rely on how well the nominated have played the Hollywood kowtowing game as opposed to just being judged on merit. A link to a full list of winners can be found below.

Do these ceremonies actually make any difference to a films success in any way? Or are the lists simply compiled to boost sales rather than credibility or kudos? Usually the lists are compiled by industry insiders who are constantly schmoozed by agents, PR teams and actors themselves in the hope of winning the necessary votes to win so the former financial incentive seems more likely than any artistic merit. The same applies to music events such as the Grammies and the Brits which far from having the finger on the pulse are usually so behind the times as to be laughable.

Last years Brits were a case in point with The XX winning best newcomers award for an album which came out in August 2009. At this rate the Beatles could be nominated for most promising breakthrough act at next months show. Actually the Brits are quite an embarrassing representation of the state of the music industry although last year witnessed an upswing in the artists who won with Arcade Fire, Laura Marling and the aforementioned XX emerging triumphant. This year however Adele looks set to sweep the board although PJ Harvey may give her a run for her money. Adele has sales figures on her side and the record industry will no doubt feel the need to pay its cash cow homage by kissing her ample sized butt and reward her with the prize. Not that it is wholly undeserved but 2011 was definitely a year for female musical artists- Laura Marling, Lana Del Rey and a revitalized Kate Bush are also contenders- and it will be a close run thing. The male section however as far as I can see is about as uninhabited as outer Siberia and the group section belongs to The Black Keys although the likelihood of them winning is unlikely. Not winning is not always a bad thing as far as credible longevity is concerned as winning generally means your album becomes overexposed and abused in so many ways-adverts, programme links, Dancing on Ice and the X Factor for starters- until songs no longer engender any emotions apart from ennui and nausea. Witness Adele’s Someone Like You as a prime example of a song which has almost been reduced to cliché.

This weekend I went to see Shame starring Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan giving two award deserving performances. It is a high calibre psycho sexual study of a sex addict Brandon played by Fassbender in a performance which calls for a lot of full on sex scenes and full frontal nudity. In fact can I be the first to nominate Fasbender’s, noticeably large, private parts- on show for most of the first five opening minutes- for an award of their own as they certainly dominate the screen. The film  relies on so much more than sensationalism-and nudity- however and however impressive Fassbender’s meat and two veg are McQueen does not make an unnecessary meal of them and Shame emerges as a deeply disturbing though fascinating insight into not only the depravity of his addiction but also the mind numbing intensity of its monotony. Mulligan more than ably supports Fassbender as his wayward sister Sissy and Steve McQueens direction is not only innovative and thought provoking- keeping the audience out whilst simultaneously drawing them in- but highly effective. Probably too risqué for the Oscars next month but I wouldn’t be surprised if Fassbender and Mulligan were at least, deservedly, nominated. A full review can be found here.

Another interesting prospect this week is the Margin Call which details the fall out and events leading up to the financial crash of 2008 featuring a roll call of several major Hollywood players- Jeremy Irons, Kevin Spacey, Demi Moore, Zachary Quinto and more- and is interesting as it will allow us to put familiar faces to the names of the anonymous people responsible for much of the financial mess and plight we live in today. January also sees the Turner collection on display at the RSA on the Mound and this year I will definitely catch it-usually I remember about the first or second of February after it has been packed away for another eleven months- and is worth seeing as it is part of our heritage and it is free.

Here is a clip of should be Brit winners the Black Keys with a stand out track from their album El Camino, Gold on the Ceiling. Also here is a scene featuring Ryan Gosling in Drive worthy of an Oscar for intense speculation and tight lipped angst with an explosive outcome that is guaranteed to unsettle.

Below is the link to a full list of Golden Globe winners


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