Monday, February 09, 2009

The Three-Step Program

Watching the BAFTA awards last night the question that almost immediately sprang to mind was: Have awards ceremonies always been so utterly goddamned dull? Obviously, barring the odd “upset”, this late in the season the winners and losers have pretty much been worked out, but the repeated process of presenter-announcement-winner’s speech with no diversions only made it seem even more tedious than usual.

I’m not saying they should mix it up with some bonkers assault course from the nonsensical Total Wipeout that the nominees have to negotiate to get their paws on the winner’s statuette, or simply make the losers sit in a pan of meat gravy and then let a pack of rabid dogs loose on the floor of the Royal Opera House, but something could have done to liven it up. Thinking back over the past couple of years, the real entertainment came from Stephen Fry’s typically witty presentation.

Last year was tragic enough with Fry bowing out and Jonathan Ross taking his place, especially with the broadcast sound going completely to cock at the outset. But now that he’s emasculated himself so as not to forsake his BBC salary, become just another bland, light entertainment mouthpiece, they might as well have gone with a smiley face drawn on a sheet of brown cardboard with a black marker or a grey-coloured sock puppet.

Then come the winners’ speeches, divided their name checking between the personal and professional so that there’s hot sex that night and another job the next morning. But it’s only when someone goes off script and says either something utterly outrageous or totally heartfelt that it rises above the soporific lifting the audience there or at home from their glassy-eyed daze. Since we know pretty much who is going to win and pretty much what they’re going to say, the only interesting part of the ceremony is the final award: the annual BAFTA fellowship.

This is the highest accolade bestowed upon anyone by the Academy, given in acknowledgement of an outstanding contribution to film. This year’s was presented to Terry Gilliam who has produced an utterly remarkable body of visually creative work, from the Monty Python animations to Jabberwocky, Brazil, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen and 12 Monkeys. For someone who likes to work outside of the studio system it would have been interesting to see what he had to say about becoming part of the establishment.

Except of course, because the BBC had only allotted a certain amount of time in the schedules for the ceremony and it was almost up, his actual speech was slashed to ribbons for broadcast. As for the clip reel screened before he was brought up on stage, what the hell happened there? I emailed a friend who was at the ceremony last night to see if it was shown there in that same mangled form but she hasn’t got back to me yet.

Otherwise it was the fault of whatever twonk was slicing away in the edit suite. Even if they were battling a strict deadline it was still pretty poor stuff. If the BBC has to split the ceremony over two channels – three if you count the pre-show crap they’ve started to screen – because they don’t want to move the donkey dick of a costume drama that is Lark Rise to Candleford from its regular slot, what are they showing the BAFTA awards for anyway?

For one night a year can’t they shunt the whole thing to BBC2, or BBC3 if they have to, schedule some piece of shit film that everyone has seen before immediately afterward so if it runs long nobody gives a damn, and just play the whole thing from beginning to end? At least that way the animation wins, along with a couple other categories that are obviously deemed unimportant by whatever fucktard was in charge. wouldn’t be squeezed in at the end as a backdrop for the credit roll.


At 10:03 am, Blogger Honest Ed said...

The BBC's presentation was absolutely bizarre. The clip reel was amateurish. There's clearly a pecking order in the sequence of the awards. It was sad to see that the writing awards were shuffled onto the BBC2 segment. Obviously not as important as the special effects award which at leas made it onto BBC1. They also showed how out of touch with the audience they are. Best animated film section - the one section of the night likely to be peppered with genuinely good popular films - is tossed off/away under the closing titles. And the same with the best animated award to Nick Park.

I'm a voting member, and I suspect that many like me voted for Slumdog because it was the only one that didn't make me gag at the thought of voting for it. 'Course, that doesn't account for how Kate Winslett got hers.

At 9:13 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

Best Animated Film was where Persepolis and Waltz With Bashir got nominated, but yeah, fuck it, let’s hear more or someone thank the studio astrologist and their personal fluffer.

Watching the reel for Gilliam’s Fellowship award, even in its proper state, the clips were pretty poorly chosen. I get that at times they were trying to say something about Gilliam but, given the wild imaginations that he has brought to life, where were the clips of Sam Lowry soaring through the clouds or the nightmare Samurai, the future-set scenes from 12 Monkeys, the scenes from Fear and Loathing where the drugs seriously kick in? Really, they could have done better.

Oh, and pretty much right after posting I got a reply from the pal who had been at the event and she didn’t know what the hell I was talking about when I asked out the repeated clip footage so it was down to some goober in the edit suite. Yeah, thanks BBC!

At 10:40 am, Blogger Honest Ed said...

For me the highlight of the night was James Marsh's shirt.

At 12:43 pm, Blogger qrter said...

I didn't see any of it (sitting with a black bag over my head), what bits of Brazil did they include in the montage?

Just out of curiosity, because I think it's his best work, I guess.

At 4:45 pm, Blogger Good Dog said...

There was a brief snippet of the camera rocketing to Lowry in the chair in the cooling tower interrogation room. The main scene was when his mother is having her cheeks pulled out and stretched during one of the cosmetic procedures and Sam is talking about not wanting his promotion.

I could see what they were trying to do, equating Lowry not wanting a promotion to Gilliam not being part of the "establishment" but it was a bit pish.


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