Movie awards season is the best. I know that we’re all supposed to be a bit disdainful of the whole thing – groups of old white men voting to congratulate slightly younger white men (and sometimes, *whisper it*, a black woman) amid ridiculous displays of opulence – but I think that even the most hardened sceptic has to admit that there’s certainly something seductive about the glamour, and something wildly entertaining about watching these extravagant events unfold. For every painful Ryan Seacrest red carpet interview (“who are you wearing?”) (who am I kidding I LIVE to hear who they’re wearing), there’s a Jennifer Lawrence falling up the stairs on the way to collect an award, or a Melissa Leo saying “fuck” in her acceptance speech: these things are – admit it – the most entertaining debacles on planet earth, and no debacle is grander than the Academy Awards, for which the nominations were announced last Thursday.
Some were as expected: 12 Years A Slave – a take on American slavery by the British director Steve McQueen which is often described as ‘unflinching’ and ‘courageous’ but is, more simply, just completely brutal viewing in a way that every thinking human ought to experience at least once or twice – is a sure thing for Best Picture. Its star, Chiwetel Ejiofor, also looks set to take home the Best Actor prize, but faces stiff competition from Matthew McConaughey, whose physical transformation in Dallas Buyers Club (as well as his recent transformation into a great actor after years of bad romcoms – who’d have thunk it in those halcyon days of The Wedding Planner?) is radical enough alone to attract attention. It could also be the year of the perpetually fantastic, perpetually overlooked Leonardo DiCaprio: with The Wolf of Wall Street and its director Martin Scorsese behind him, it wouldn’t be a shock if voters finally recognised his consistently great work.
There were also some pretty big surprises, the most glaring being the ineligibility of the Cannes Palme d’Or winning Blue Is The Warmest Colour in the Best Foreign Language Feature category, and its lead actress Adéle Exarchopoulos, in the Best Actress race (she is the only person who has ever moved me to tears by eating spaghetti, and, put frankly, she’s better than Amy Adams who will probably take the Actress statuette for American Hustle). 23 year old person Jennifer Lawrence received her third Oscar nomination in four years (think about that and then think about how little you have achieved) for her hilarious supporting turn also in American Hustle, and actually-quite-good-actor-turned-absolutely-properly-mental-rock-star Jared Leto got the nod for his performance as a transgender AIDS sufferer (has anything ever sounded more Oscars?) – both are great and should take home the trophies.
The ceremony is on Sunday March 2nd, and will take place, as always, at Los Angeles’ Kodak Theatre. Join me and other fans of quality cinema the world over – we’ll be sitting in our beds, swearing loudly when our dodgy live streams freeze, and caning Diet Red Bull so that we don’t fall asleep whilst making very important tweets about Meryl Streep’s dress (I say “we” but I’m really just speaking to personal experience). It’s glamorous, this Oscars business.