Take it away readers, your time has come . . .

Fri, Dec 21, 2012, 00:00

So you, the readers, have once again decided that The Ticket’s film corner has got ghastly taste and may need some sort of brain operation. An unbowed DONALD CLARKEtakes stock of how you voted

STOP complaining. The Ticket poll is a near-perfect simulacrum of the democratic process as it functions in most western societies. Everybody is free to vote as they choose, but only for the candidates that we party bosses put their way. It is not, perhaps, surprising that the most commercially successful film on the ballot paper, Looper, ended up taking the prize for best film. Neither is that a cause for any gnashing of teeth. Rian Johnson’s time-travel flick confirmed that original thinking is still welcome in mainstream cinema. Let’s hope Johnson and his team come up with another equally fresh idea, rather than immediately making for Sequel Gulch. Silver and gold medal finishes by, respectively, Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master and Benh Zeitlin’s Beasts of the Southern Wild reassured us that readers of this publication are at home to oddity.

The situation was similar when the unofficial consolation prize of best director was tabulated. Everybody loves Ben Affleck’s Argo and the square-headed actor confirmed his rehabilitation with a comfortable victory. PT Anderson and Michael Haneke, director of Amour, also dragged up a significant number of votes.

Despite tearing up our screens in The Hunt, Mads Mikkelsen was walloped in the best actor race by Joaquin Phoenix. He may have to settle for The Ticket prize. Daniel Day Lewis, star of the upcoming Lincoln, is, by all accounts, streets ahead in the battle for the best-actor Oscar.

There are, in fact, few enormous surprises in the winning films and personalities. The Dark Knight Rises closed Chris Nolan’s Batman trilogy in some style and, as expected, grabbed the prize for best franchise picture. Searching for Sugar Man won a lot of friends and – though sleeper hit Bill Cunningham New York ran it close – the film was probably always the favourite for best documentary.

What Richard Did was the closest thing we had to a breakout Irish hit this year and it ended up polling well over twice as many votes as runner-up Grabbers.

Inside sources at the count centre give us interesting news about Michael Fassbender’s victory in best Irish performance. True, he is by far the most famous name on the list. But it is still worth marvelling that the Kerryman received more votes than any candidate in any of the music or cinema categories. He’ll be with us for some time.

The worst film also scarred up some psephological aberrations. Rock of Ages looked like a film that wanted to be so bad it was good. In the end, Ticket voters decided that – by a colossal margin – it was just plain awful. The makers of the useless The Watch can console themselves with the knowledge that they came last in this particular poll. That’s some sort of achievement.

What is, however, most interesting is how badly some films figured. It might reasonably have been assumed that the race for best franchise was a battle between Marvel Avengers Assemble and The Dark Knight Rises. In the event, the Marvel superheroes finished way back in fourth place behind Batman, The Muppets and The Hunger Games. Hooray for The Muppets. We felt the inclusion of that film might trigger some weary groans. Not a bit of it. Our sensible readers recognised it as a felt-covered classic.

More depressing for your film team was – in the wider world and in this poll – the poor performance of three films we regard as contemporary classics: Leos Carax’s Holy Motors, Peter Strickland’s Berberian Sound Studio and Ben Wheatley’s Sightseers. The Carax and the Strickland film, despite ecstatic reviews in most places, stumbled into the bottom three of our best film poll. Béla Tarr’s forbidding (and brilliant) The Turin Horse garnered over twice as many votes as Strickland’s picture. Ben Wheatley – director of a very funny, very accessible film – failed to make it into the top five in the director’s race.

None of those films broke through at the box office either. Now, it is, of course, possible that all three are ghastly and we need some sort of brain operation. But the positive receptions they received at festival screenings suggested there is a willing audience for pictures that blend surreal high-jinx with something a little like populist entertainment. Is there still time for them to become cults? Does the cult movie still exist as a concept? Worrying times.

Clocks was ticking, The xx marked the top spot, Little Green Cars sped ahead and a Scottish neuroscientist opened your minds – the Ticket Awards were (mostly) a triumph of good judgment, writes JIM CARROLL

IIt’s all Cleisthenes’ fault. Bloody Cleisthenes, why couldn’t that aul’ Greek bollox keep his oar out of things all those years ago? Everything was tickety-boo in ancient Athens – well, some people were fuming, but you’ll always get that in Greece – until that dude came aloud spouting off about democracy and giving power to the people. You can blame everything from the current Government to The X Factor on Cleisthenes and his flaming democracy.

Therefore, QED, you can blame Cleisthenes for the results you’ll see on these pages. We, the motley crew of critics and reviewers who sing for our supper with The Ticket, are also casting aspersions on that ancient Athenian at this time of year as we see what you, the readers, have to say about the year in pop.

It’s a bit of a salutary lesson. Week in and week out, we run the rule over the new releases and acts which come our way. We supply 150 or so pithy words for a review, award a couple of stars and move on to the next batch of fresh pop albums. We’re the ones who set the boundaries for 51 weeks of the year so this once-a-year excercise in democracy and choice is something we sniffily put up with.

In some ways, it’s clear that our week-in-week-out education of the masses (known in some quarters as brainwashing) has worked wonders. It’s great to see the readers giving the love to The xx (Best Band), Electric Picnic (Best Festival) and Bruce Springsteen (Best Roots Act – yeah, I know, Bruce is about as roots as Donald Clarke). Psy’s Gangnam Style gets the Best Video nod because there’s probably no one in the country who has not seen it at this stage. And he looks a bit like Pat Rabbitte in a certain light.

It’s also quite reassuring to see a hell of a lot of votes for Little Green Cars, who comfortably took the Best Irish Act category. The band are also on that BBC Sound of 2013 poll longlist that is going to be getting a lot of attention in the coming weeks, but actually winning a Ticket Award is a much more prestigious shizzle. Patti Smith’s star turn at the Electric Picnic is your choice for Gig of the Year, kicking Jack White and Watch the Throne’s asses in the process. It’s another victory for feminism.

Then, we come to the more, er, interesting decisions. It appears that it’s not just the TV editors responsible for picking the music to use over sports’ highlights who have that Emeli Sandé album on the brain. The Scottish neuroscientist was ubiquitous in 2012 and that probably explains why she trumped Grimes, Cat Power, Frank Ocean and Kendrick Lamar for the Best Solo Act accolade. Let’s hope she doesn’t turn out to be another Tasmin Archer.

Julie Feeney’s third album, Clocks, is your choice as Best Album for 2012 beating off a whole host of much more fancied releases from Delorentos, Django Django, Jessie Ware and Frank Ocean (no love in Ticket readerland for ol’ Frank). Is Clocks really the best album released in 2012? Well, The Ticket’s readership say so. That’s democracy for you, as Enda Kenny and his men in the pin-striped suits know all too well.

Speaking of democracy, here’s another result which will have you going WTF? and ensure another slew of letters to the editor querying the paper of record’s continued use of “WTF?”. The winner of the gong for Track of the Year is Carly Rae Jepsen for Call Me Maybe. WTF? indeed. Yes, readers of The Ticket take their cues from Justin Bieber. Who knew? The word from the editor’s office is that we’re to suck it up so we shall suck it up and say no more. Except WTF?

BEST FILMLOOPER

BEST DIRECTORBEN AFFLECK – ARGO

BEST ACTORJOAQUIN PHOENIX – THE MASTER

BEST ACTRESSEMANUELLE RIVA – AMOUR

BEST FRANCHISETHE DARK KNIGHT RISES

BEST ANIMATIONBRAVE

BEST DOCUMENTARYSEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN

BEST IRISH FILMWHAT RICHARD DID

MOST WELCOME REISSUETHE LIFE AND DEATH OF COLONEL BLIMP

WORST FILMROCK OF AGES

BEST IRISH PERFORMANCEMICHAEL FASSBENDER – SHAME

BEST ROOTSWRECKING BALL BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN

BEST VIDEOGANGNAM STYLE

BEST IRISH ACTLITTLE GREEN CARS

GIG OF THE YEARPATTI SMITH AT ELECTRIC PICNIC

BEST TRADROOTS OF THE BANJO TREE WE BANJO 3

BEST GAMEASSASSIN’S CREED III

BEST JAZZSLEEPER KEITH JARRETT

BEST CLASSICALBEETHOVEN: PIANO SONATAS VOL 1 - JONATHAN BISS (PIANO)

BEST FESTIVALELECTRIC PICNIC

BEST ALBUMCLOCKS JULIE FEENEY

TRACK OF THE YEARCALL ME MAYBE CARLY RAE JEPSEN

BAND OF THE YEARTHE XX

BEST SOLO ACTEMELI SANDÉ

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