The Ticket Awards: Film
The strong showing of 'Blue is the Warmest Colour' suggests erudite Ticket readers just can’t get enough Franco-Tunisian neo-realism, writes Donald Clarke
See winners list below
It is always unwise to second-guess the electorate, but it is not unreasonable to assume that, had Gravity made it into our critics’ top 10, that fine film would have taken the top prize. After all, Alfonso Cuarón did take more than 50 per cent of the votes in the race for Best Director.
Mind you, winner by an even larger margin in the best film category, Quentin Tarantino’s supposedly divisive Django Unchained might have given it a run for its money. Then again, Emmanuel Lubezki, Cuarón’s cinematographer, did have the highest percentage vote in any of the film races. If wishes were horses . . .
The most commercial candidate won in almost all categories. That’s fair enough. Judi Dench triumphed for crowd-pleaser Philomena. Good Vibrations took the Best Irish Film prize (though the team behind Pilgrim Hill will be pleased to hear they managed a creditable second). Despicable Me 2 is currently the biggest film of the year in Ireland; so we shouldn’t be all that surprised to see it romping past the more positively reviewed Frozen (which many may not have seen yet) in the animated competition.
All that noted, look beneath the bonnet and you discover some stirring news about the Ticket’s erudite readership. The big surprise is the strong showing for
Blue is the Warmest Colour. That film finished second in the best film race – ahead of the enormously popular Star Trek Into Darkness – and Adèle Exarchopoulos, star of Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winner, was runner-up to Dame Judi in the Best Actress competition.
Two comparisons are worth making here. Michael Haneke’s Amour, last year’s Palme d’Or champ, only managed to finish mid-table in the 2012 Ticket awards. In today’s charts, Paolo Sorrentino’s The Great Beauty, despite registering terrific box-office figures for a foreign-language picture, came in at a distant number six.
So, there really is, among the Tickerati, an unusual swelling of support for Kechiche’s lengthy, sexually explicit drama. Maybe our followers skew towards the young and tolerant. Maybe they’re just fans of Franco-Tunisian neo-realism. Either way, Blue is the Warmest Colour has found an audience.
Are there disappointing results here? Well, our inability to make cults of either Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England or Shane Carruth’s Upstream Colour remains disappointing. Then again, maybe this is what a proper cult looks like. Despite attracting ecstatic reviews (and securing the director a job on Doctor Who), none of Wheatley’s spooky films – Kill List and Sightseers paved the way – has made any significant impact at the box office. Carruth’s films travel in even greater obscurity. Yet people who know these strange entities adore them. I’m guessing the two per cent who voted for Upstream Colour would swim through molten lead to see Carruth’s next film. That’s the thing about cults.
On the other hand, it is encouraging to see how many people have been moved into action by Blackfish. A comfortable winner in our Best Documentary section, Gabriela Cowperthwaite’s critique of the marine-park industry played for months at arthouse cinemas and managed to kick up a forceful backlash against Sea World’s treatment of killer whales. Barely a day goes past without another musical act announcing their withdrawal from a gig at that resort. The documentary film is still very much a force to be reckoned with.
What else? Well, the Matthew McConaughey renaissance continues apace. The frequently topless Texan towered his way to victory for his turn in Mud. Mike Patton’s victory in the soundtrack category for The Place Beyond the Pines will warm the hearts of Faith No More fans. Buried (literally some argue) on its release, The Wicker Man, winner of Best Reissue, is now firmly established as a
Then there’s Diana. Oliver Hirschbiegel’s study of Princess Diana’s last years never sounded like a great idea. But the resulting catastrophe surprised even veteran observers of cinematic atrocities. Naomi Watts’s career is holed beneath the water. Hirschbiegel, director of Downfall, has been improvising excuses ever since. The real shock was that, despite its curiosity value, the picture also managed to be a financial flop.
For all that, enough Ticket readers saw the thing to allow it an overwhelming “victory” in the Worst Film competition. We can, I think, all unite around that collective two-fingered salute. Merry stupid Christmas.
Alfonso Cuarón - Gravity
Gravity - Emmanuel Lubezki
Matthew McConaughey - Mud
Judi Dench - Philomena
Before Midnight - Richard Linklater, Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy
BEST IRISH FILM
The Place Beyond the Pines
Despicable Me 2
The Way Way Back
The Wicker Man
Hunger Games: Catching Fire
GAME OF THE YEAR
Grand Theft Auto 5