James Luxford discusses awards season

Awards season is in full swing, and for people like me it’s one of the busier times of the year. You may have heard me more frequently on your radio recently, as I’ve been in and out to discuss the runner and riders for BAFTA, The Golden Globes and, of course, the Oscars. I’ve never been to a big awards ceremony myself – I’ve been offered jobs on the BAFTA red carpet but as we’ve discussed before in this column, those end up turning into a rugby scrum with tuxes. Also, what’s the fun in being just outside when all the good stuff’s happening in the ceremony?

I have my problems with the Oscars, but I think you could definitely call me a fan.

I’m a child of Hollywood cinema, and I don’t mind admitting I love the glamour, the speeches, staying up all night to watch it, making my own predictions and then cursing the Academy when they don’t agree. While the selection process is always a little dodgy, and a few of the winners suspect (did we really think Shakespeare In Love was better than Saving Private Ryan? or Forrest Gump better than my beloved Pulp Fiction?!?!), there’s no denying the exposure it gives to a different type of film. Films like Slumdog Millionaire, The Artist, even 12 Years A Slave may not have ever been made had they not been considered ‘Oscar material’, and for all the bad calls over the years I think this alone makes them worthwhile.

Would I go to the Oscars? Absolutely – I’d swim to Hollywood if there was a chance of a ticket! Alas, no one’s called just yet, but I have been lucky enough to interview a couple of people just after they’ve been nominated for major awards. In 2008 I, along with a couple of other journalists, was the first to interview Ellen Page after she was nominated for an Oscar (for Juno). It was the day after Heath Ledger had died so being overly celebratory seemed inappropriate, but it was clearly overwhelming to this teeny, 21-year-old actress to be thrust into this situation, in the same category as Meryl Streep.

Slightly more relaxed was Ryan Gosling, who I met minutes after he’d been nominated for a Golden Globe. He simply smiled the smile that won him a million fans across the world, and say what most people nominated for an award say – “I’m happy that it brings attention to the film”, “making the film was reward enough, but it’s an honour to be nominated”, or words to that effect.

I’ve made my predictions for the Oscars, my usual success rate is about 50 per cent. I doubt I will ever be as successful as my friend and fellow journalist Jason Palmer, however, who bet on The Artist to win Best Film, Director and Actor after seeing it about five months before the 2012 awards. I don’t remember the odds or the stake, but let’s just say Jean Dujardin wasn’t the only one celebrating!