With the Golden Globes airing on March 1st, we are fully in the throes of the new-look Hollywood awards season, and I’m having some feelings around it all.
Normally, I adore the spectacle of Hollywood award shows. My friend and fellow film nerd Declan and I have been known to enjoy picnic carpets at home together for the Oscars. Some have the Eurovision, or the FA Cup Final, and we had this. We loved inhaling the heady glamour of it all. Casting an acidic, critical eye on the gowns, hemlines and sartorial statements was our lifeblood.
It’s not that we are huge fashion experts – far from it; I still don’t know how to pronounce Lanvin properly – but there was something hugely amusing about cooing breathlessly at the great gowns and ironically crowing “you in danger, girl”, at any outfit that we felt didn’t pass muster.
Declan would blast out witty memes on Twitter while I screamed with laughter, high off my chops on Doritos and Prosecco. I know in more recent times, it’s become highly naff to focus on the fashion side of Hollywood award ceremonies (the #AskHerMore campaign recently called on red carpet interviews to ask actresses about more than their outfits). But this girl can’t help it.
How do the socially distant, pandemic-appropriate award ceremonies feel? Well, not brilliant
Just like Kate Winslet herself I would stand in front of the bathroom mirror as a youngster holding a bottle of Dettol and pretend it was an Oscar statuette. Unlike Winslet, I have since won nothing more than a few raffles and the odd argument. (I never had designs on being an actor, but I always wanted to be a writer.)
Where other young girls dreamed of the full-blown glamour wedding dresses, I dreamed of Oscar gowns. To my young mind, Oscar dresses were signifiers of success, of hard work rewarded, the outfit donned for a lap of honour and a glorious moment in the sun.
How will this year’s award season frock parades go? It’s hard to tell. The Emmy’s producers reportedly sent a letter to nominees last year advising that they’d be ditching the black-tie dress code for a more informal theme of “come as you are, but make an effort”. No doubt advocates of #AskHerMore would be thrilled with this development, as would the nominees who often wear three pairs of Spanx down the red carpet and spend a day getting ready.
As best as anyone knows, the Oscars organisers are still planning to hold an in-person event in April this year, albeit in multiple locations.
The big obstacle in the way of my true enjoyment of awards season this year is the simple fact that I’ve not seen any of the nominated films
This weekend’s Golden Globes ceremony will be virtual, as will the Screen Actors’ Guild award in April.
How do the socially distant, pandemic-appropriate award ceremonies feel? Well, not brilliant.
Last year’s Emmy Awards, held in September, featured nominees on Zoom, in their own living rooms. You’d think that an insight into the actual living quarters of the A-list would be reason enough to tune in, but the truth is, it’s not as exciting as you think. We were reduced to looking at Paul Mescal sitting next to a yucca plant (he wrote on Instagram: “This is nuts. I am wearing Louis Vuitton on my stairs for the Emmys!” Not that you’d know from the Zoom thumbnail. But anyway.)
There’s also been another awards season development that I’m less than enamoured of. When the SAG and Golden Globe nominees were recently announced, there was barely enough time to read the list of nomination recipients before the list of who hadn’t been nominated came in jig-time.
There’s something so mean-spirited about this awful whataboutery; something that’s woefully endemic in Twitter culture. There will always be award losers – that is the nature of the beast. But do we have to be so bloody shrill about it? This year, Netflix’s Emily in Paris (so-so froth) gained Golden Globe nods, while Michaela Coel’s I May Destroy You (sublime stuff) was left out in the cold. The blowback was deafening. And while Coel is deserving of any and all plaudits, something about the public’s takedown of other nominees felt . . . not cool.
But the big obstacle in the way of my true enjoyment of awards season this year is the simple fact that I’ve not seen any of the nominated films. Where before I could rattle off previous form, odds and predictions like a seasoned pro, now I have no skin in the game. Promising Young Women? Not seen it. Nomadland? Heard it’s great, but nope. Sound of Metal? That one escaped me too.
If anything, the nominations are reminding me even more acutely of one privilege we lost in the last 12 months; that of sitting in the darkness among others, popcorn on lap, awaiting transportation, catharsis, sensory overload and the ambrosia of great screen craft.
If you’re lucky, your €10 cinema admission will take you to brilliant new places, make you think, and wring out your emotions. And, try as it might, the at-home experience can’t ever hope to properly replicate the real thing.
While I wait for my time in the dark again, for that primal and womb-like space, I suppose there’s always, well, the gowns and the yucca plants to look forward to.