“There must be something wrong with you tonight…you have no reactions, not a single smile, and it’s BAFTA night!” he said. And yes, both is true, there was something wrong and I did not smile.
The 68th British Academy Film Awards were held last night at the Royal Opera House in London, to honour the best British and international films and its contributors in 2014. Richard Linklater’s “Boyhood” remained in spotlight and snatched the main awards for Best Director and Best Film (as well as Supporting Actress statue which went to Patricia Arquette), while “Grand Budapest Hotel” swept the night with five wins.
Julianne Moore won the award for Leading Actress for her role in “Still Alice” and “The Theory of Everything” earned the Best British Film honour, with Eddie Redmayne taking the statue home for the Best Actor. The biopic about Stephen Hawking also picked up the prize for Best Adapted Screenplay. The coloury arty comedy “The Grand Budapest Hotel” received the honours for Best Costume Design, Production Design, Makeup & Hair, Original Music and Original Screenplay. The music drama “Whiplash” scored the awards for Best Supporting Actor for J.K Simmons, Best Editing and Best Sound, naturally.
Now let’ see what’s wrong with this picture (if there is something wrong).
Ken Loach, an English film and television director once said that “films can give value to the experience of ordinary people, that it is through the drama of everyday life we may see glimpse the possibilities for the future.” On the other side, let me quote a particular Swedish genius, Ingmar Bergman who once said that “no art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.” Yes, art, let’s focus on that. (p.s. I’m guessing Linklater was inspired by the first quote, and Wes Anderson with the other).
Jokes aside, looking at the past, present and future award season I cannot but wonder whether we (the film buffs, members of film boards and etc) forgot what we should look at while deciding if something is good and worth awarding. And while nourish that thought I was left with a bitter taste last night. No, it is not a question whether I preferred one film to the other, believe me. And no, it is not the question of being a film elitist and that every year I need to search for needle in the hay. It is a merely a thought that maybe film (in the eyes of the award boards who get to decide) lost it’s art concept.
Are we talking about a new age where we pay more attention to technicalities and new technology rather than art, writing or scenery? “Or maybe the boards are just not diverse enough”, said the man from the beginning of this post.
It’s a tough race, “Boyhood” vs. “The Grand Budapest Hotel” isn’t it? Especially if we bare in mind all above mentioned, from Ken Loach and Ingmar Bergman, to the personal thoughts of this blogger. Yes, “The Grand Budapest Hotel” won more awards, but I have to admit that that bitter taste I was talking about was definitely due to the emotion I felt when the British Academy decided to award “Boyhood” for the main two awards. And all I could think of after seeing it was what made one film better that the other.
I couldn’t stop wondering whether that decision came because of the film’s production and filming characteristics (yes, 12-year period is very long), and not because of its quality. On the other hand, it seemed to me that “The Grand Budapest Hotel” had more art components and therefore should have been “involved” more. Oh well, I know what you will say, it’s just a matter of preference…but I do believe it is much more than that.
Whether the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – the Oscars will have a different approach it remains to be seen.