Sunday, 24 January 2010

A Word On Awards

Celebrating the dubious: Karl Lagerfeld presenting Britney Spears with her Bambi Award in 2008.

OK, considering that this is supposed to be a daily blog about film, I admit having recently skipped quite a few matters of alleged importance to the film world: Most importantly, the deaths of Eric Rohmer and Jean Simmons, but also the Golden Globes, the Producers Guild and the SAG awards.

Truth be told, even though I have on occasion reported about some or other award ceremony, prizes bestowed by film festivals excepted, I'm not much of a believer in awards, least of all the Golden Globes and the Oscars, both of which have an annoying tendency to always ignore those film which, at least in my humble opinion, would really have been deserving of receiving any award. See, for instance, two years ago, when Steve Mcqueen's brilliant 'Hunger' was snubbed by both the Academy and the Foreign Press Association. With that, both institutions lost what little credibility and reliability they had left in my eyes, and it confirmed my suspicion that the world of awards is only a reflection of the world that surrounds us all: it's all about money, in other words: The films with the biggest campaign-budget, not to mention those which have received the most press coverage due to their enormous marketing and promotion budgets (see, for instance, 'Avatar') are the ones likely to walk away with awards while smaller films which few people have heard of, let alone seen, because the producers lack the necessary funds to get the word - and their film - out there, are usually ignored.

Besides, the world of awards is almost as inflationary as the Reichsmark was in 1922: The (film-)world is awash in them, with new ones cropping up every year and the majority of them are not just plain unnecessary, but also downright dubious (Example: can someone tell me, please, what the criteria for Germany's coveted Bambi award are?). But of course, an award ceremony means press coverage and exposure which then translates into cold-hard cash. In addition, all sorts of businesses from fashion labels to car companies have long cottoned on to the fact that an award ceremony is the best advertising they can get as it combines high exposure and visibility with glamour and, lo and behold, art. In actual fact, an award ceremony is little more than an extension of a film company's press campaign for the film(s) they've got in the running, with quality being just one among many factors why a film may end up in the list of nominees.

The second reason why I tend to ignore most things to do with awards on this blog is invariably related to the above one: Because they're reported and talked about everywhere else from all sorts of blogs to the front page of the BBC, I feel that I don't have to put my two pence in as well. Besides, writing about it means I care, and frankly, that I do only to a certain extent.