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Thursday, 17 January 2008

Heard The One About The Starlet and The Writer?

Last year, Eva Green won the Rising Star award at the Orange BAFTAs - and this year the ceremonies promise to be even more glamorous. The old joke goes that the starlet was so dumb, she slept with the writer - but the striking film writers in America silenced the Golden Globes, and look set to do the same for the Oscars, which means London may get a world-class awards night. Eyewear, like all UK citizens, has yet to see some of the films nominated (members get sent copies to watch at home in some instances before general release), but can make some predictions - want to bet?

Atonement will likely win Best Film. The Bourne Ultimatum should win Best British Film, though Control may do. The Bourne trilogy was astonishingly good genre work, and has rejuvenated The Bond series in the process, so deserves the kudos. Film Not In The English Language should go to The Lives of Others. Lead Actor will be Daniel Day-Lewis. Lead Actress will be the brilliant Julie Christie, whose work in the superb Canadian film Away From Her was so brave, and moving. Javier Bardem, for the weird killer role, will win the Supporting Actor gong; Cate Blanchett, for the weird musician role, will win for Supporting Actress. Radiohead musician Jonny Greenwood should win for the There Will Be Blood soundtrack. And, this year's Rising Star? No star was more provocative, or instantly noticed, than sensual Tang Wei in Ang Lee's ravishing, deviant thriller, Lust, Caution.

Note: Spotters of contradictions in Eyewear (do I contradict myself? Very well then!) may ask why I can celebrate movie awards, but question the use of them for poetry? The reason is simple: movies were invented, in the early 20th century, as glamorous delivery systems for images that would captivate audiences - their artfulness has emerged in tandem with their never-concealed popular appeal. Film awards are all about sight and sound - seeing the stars step out from behind the big screen. Poetry awards are pale imitations of this phenomenon - for poetry is not a spectacle, nor a spectator sport. There is no need to "see or hear" poets beyond their work, written or spoken. And, film awards are watched by millions, even billions, so the level of scrutiny is high - we know when a gross injustice has been perpetrated. Because so few people know, or care, about the poetry collections competing for prizes each year, there is far less open debate - or transparency - in the process. Finally, I must confess, I have always loved movies, and they delight me, as does pop music, almost equally to poetry.
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