Avatar Triumphs – But is it a PR Disaster for the Golden Globes?


Avatar Triumphs – But is it a PR Disaster for the Golden Globes?


We’ve arrived at that time of year again. The designer frocks are back out in force, the stars are mingling and the red carpets have been dusted down for their annual airing.

Yes, it’s awards season – the ridiculous period where the film world goes mental for two months and starts giving out elaborate paperweights for the best movies and acting talent of the year. Whether it’s the BAFTAs, the Screen Actors Guilds or the daddy of them all, the Oscars, it seems that everyone and anyone in Tinseltown is on the hunt for their slice of gold.

In past eras, this hysteria would have been pretty much confined to Hollywood but these days it’s become big business in the media world. Newspapers and glossy magazines are filled with interviews and features on potential Oscar-winners, while the events at the award ceremonies themselves are plastered in national newspapers.

Of course, ever since the media eye first started to pay close attention to major film and TV award ceremonies, there’s been controversy over the worthiness of the eventual winners. Incredulous looks have been exchanged between viewers when travesties of justice occur – such as Ordinary People winning a Best Picture Oscar instead of the classic Raging Bull, or Ron Howard winning any accolade whatsoever – and there is always debate about whether the judging panels have managed to actually get it right.

Unsurprisingly, this year has proved to be no different. We’re just weeks into 2010 and the first major awards bash of the year has just taken place – the Golden Globes.  And amid all of the luvvie mwah-ing, champagne-quaffing and fancy frock-wearing, the great and the good of the movie world were able to see who had been deemed worthy of praise by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association.

Now it’s been a good year for cinema. There have been absolute diamonds released in the past 12 months that will be no doubt seen as bona fide classics in the future – films such as Up, The Hurt Locker, Up in the Air and Let The Right One In, to name but a few.

So, you’d think that best of these – you know, the one voted as the top drama of the year – would be a modern-day Citizen Kane.  

Well, you’d be wrong. In a move of quite Herculean ridiculousness, the goons at the HFPA have decided that the most deserving movie of the year is….wait for it….Avatar.

Hollywood PR wins movie awards

That’s right – the same shallow, tired “going native” story done before in Pocahontas and Dances With Wolves, but this time with really pretty computer graphics and lead characters that wouldn’t look out of place in a furry fan fic.

I’m starting to think that the film’s director James Cameron (who incidentally scooped the best director award for this $500million piece of vanity) is actually the greatest PR spin doctor that has ever lived. After all, his last film – the pre-teen swoon-fest “epic” Titanic – managed somehow to win 11 Oscars, despite its entire cast having the combined acting prowess of a kindergarten drama group.

When this year’s Academy Awards come round, it looks likely that he’ll be one of the favourites again – just because of the fact that he’s created a 3-D film that isn’t a) completely rubbish or b) overtly gimmicky. I’m sure any other director (with the possible exception of Spielberg) would have been quite rightly ignored for every major award outside the visual effects categories, but because it’s Saint Jim, the plaudits and gongs are just going to keep coming.

In truth, it’s a PR nightmare and one that could actually devalue the Golden Globes. With scores of fully deserving films to choose from – each one a wonderful showcase for great characters and storytelling – they’ve decided to reward the one that just cost the most money to make. Outstanding work chaps.

Hopefully the inevitable cries of indignation from newspapers, film magazines and – most importantly – from the blogosphere will highlight just how bad of a mistake it was.