The Rusted Globes

Remember when the Globes were golden? No, me neither. They were always a bit of a joke in the industry, beloved by the celebrities who’d be seduced by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), mocked by the hosts (Ricky Gervais has some rather entertaining, nihilistic bits from the ceremonies), and scorned by film and TV critics.

Awards are always contentious. There will always be snubs, undeserving winners, baffling nominations, and bias. Some voterships, such as the Academy who run the Oscars, have been making public efforts to improve their representation and the transparency of the voting process. In theory, this should lead to a more representative selection of nominations each year, more accurately reflecting the tastes of audiences and filmmakers alike. The HFPA made no such efforts after the publication of an exposé by the LA Times into the group’s questionable financial behaviour, and distinct lack of even one Black member. In response to the subsequent outcry, the HFPA vowed to do better, yet didn’t meaningfully specify what would be changing. NBC, who usually broadcast the ceremony, cut ties, and dropped it from their scheduling.

It may come as a surprise to you then to hear that the Globes actually went ahead last week with no televised ceremony. Coverage of nominations and predictions, which would usually be extensive in the running months, were instead reduced to a handful of actors sharing a quiet post of celebration on Instagram.

Instead of a big show, there was a series of tweet announcements for each award, some of which were rather odd. An award for West Side Story (Steven Spielberg) was announced with: “If laughter is the best medicine @WestSideMovie is the cure for what ails you.” If you haven’t seen West Side Story, it’s a Shakespearean tragedy set in post-war New York in a context of racialised gang violence, featuring tragic inevitability, racism, heartbreak, misery, poverty, and murder. Basically, it’s full of shits and giggles. This tweet was deleted and then rewritten, albeit they also quoted the wrong musical for Ariana DeBose’s win for Best Supporting Actress in her role as Anita in a different tweet announcement, which was left up and is still available to see. This encapsulates the general disaster of what the Globes have been for a long time, and continue to be: fundamentally out of touch.

Perhaps a new awards ceremony will take its place. Maybe an established institution, like the BAFTAs, SAG Awards, or even the IFTAs, may gain prominence. As far as the Globes are concerned, however, we should let them rust.

Disney’s Pixar Belch

As a child, my parents didn’t take me to the movies very often, but some of my earliest memories of sitting in the magical space of the cinema were to see the new Pixar film. One of the unique aspects of watching the latest Pixar was that there was a short film played just before the feature started. I’m writing in the past tense, because Disney recently announced that the upcoming release from Pixar, Turning Red (Domee Shi), will be the third Pixar film in a row to premiere on Disney Plus.

Initially, the straight-to-streaming decision made sense to me. Cinemas were closed, and this necessity to release made films would prevent a pile-up of releases, allowing us to experience new stories when we needed a connection to the outside world in the midst of our collective isolation. Yet, Disney has exhibited other animated films since the pandemic, particularly in the build-up to Omicron, so why is Pixar, one of its flagship, household-name acquisitions, being restricted to the TV screen?

This baffled me all the more when I saw the poster for Bob’s Burgers: The Movie (Loren Bouchard & Bernard Derriman), and that it would only be getting cinema exhibition (at least in the States). Don’t get me wrong—I love Bob’s Burgers and am very excited for the movie, but if there were ever a film that would be right at home on Disney Plus, it’s that one. 

On Disney Plus, the Pixar films don’t automatically play the shorts that would precede them in cinemas. These shorts are where developing talent would get their chance to prove themselves to executives and audiences. They are still available to watch on the streaming service, and are still being made, but the audiences they would have received with cinema exhibition are undoubtedly diminished. If Disney are not going to exhibit Pixar films in the foreseeable future, they could at least connect the features to the shorts as they would have in the cinema, and give these emerging artists their audience.

What’s Onscreen

If you like Spider-Man, you’ve already seen Spider-Man: No Way Home (Jon Watts), and if you don’t care, you haven’t. It’s out now. That’s all I can say about the matter.

I wasn’t much of a fan of The Matrix Resurrections (Lana Wachowski), but enough people with opinions I value have adored it, so I’m willing to concede that I’m wrong. It’s certainly very different from the original (the only one I’ve seen), and embraces a meta, tongue-in-cheek attitude against the cultural tendency to endlessly franchise every successful bit of existing IP. Just don’t go in expecting a thrilling, philosophical head-scratcher like the first one. That may be where I went wrong.

The Tragedy of Macbeth (Joel Coen) is a startling piece of cinema, currently being shown in some cinemas, but available to watch on Apple TV+ from January 14. This latest adaptation of Shakespeare’s notorious tragedy justifies its existence through its specific engagement with the cinematic form. This isn’t predominantly through epic set-pieces, as in Polanski’s and Kurosawa’s adaptations (though the witches’ scenes certainly strike the senses). This is instead achieved through the intense performances of the cast, and their dominance in front of the camera through close-ups, and medium close-ups. This style choice allows an intimacy with the expressions, reactions, and behaviours of the characters that theatre would not permit. The language is still challenging as with all Shakespeare, but this visual proximity to the characters allows the performances to speak, even if the words struggle to be understood.

Another delight currently available in cinemas is Licorice Pizza (Paul Thomas Anderson), which features a great cast, soundtrack and the option to see it in 35mm in some screens. It’s set in the San Fernando valley in 1973, and follows Alana Kane (Alana Haim) and Gary Valentine (Cooper Hoffman) as they try to find their place in the world. This isn’t a film that’s plot heavy, but if you’re willing to spare a couple of hours, be transported to the lives of these charming characters and their experiences, you’re in for a treat.