Glittering Prize

Is that it over then? The awards season I mean.

One of the reasons I love the Oscars ceremony is that it marks the end of the daily awards dinners and TV shows. No more false modesty on accepting some statue while the camera shows your fellow nominees using all their acting skills to show how happy they are for you.

By the way, following the Oscar Pretorius case, jokes about women not wanting to win because they didn’t want to go home with an Oscar were a bit tasteless, if downright expected.

Here in the UK there was one moment in the Baftas that summed up what these events are really about. Check the clip out on line. I won’t say which award it was but, as the winner took to the stage, a shot of one of the runners up, looking impassive while clapping, was shown. Beside him, a guy in a designer Hollywood beard raised his eyes to the heavens and whispered “What the f*** was that all about? Crap!” I’m not a lip reader but even Stevie Wonder could have made out what he was saying.

The trophies can vary from the sublime to the tat. This year’s Brit award was designed by Damien Hirst, a man who made his name chopping animals in half. Every time the current horsemeat news story comes up on TV these days there is the obligatory abattoir scene showing cows being slaughtered. Well, that’s all that Hirst did. He had the cheek, though, to put his work in formaldehyde rather than hamburgers, and he became a millionaire.

This year he was asked to decorate the Brit awards, so he plastered them in dots. Must have taken fifteen seconds. Cover one in glue, throw the waste from your desk hole puncher at it, and you have a work of art. The winners will probably show it off proudly in their cellar, their attic or their garden shed, wherever no one ever goes. Can you imagine that polka dotted Brit award in years to come. Grandkids will think it’s a discarded bottle of Frijj milk shake.

I have been very lucky and I have won awards over the years. I am looking at them now and I’m certain you would not pause and look if they were on a stall at a car boot sale. One is a brass warrior, another two brass people holding hands, and one other is simply a piece of Perspex shaped like a tube. I’ll be honest. I was compering an awards ceremony and they had one spare so they gave me that last one for being their host.

Beside my tat, we have some really good awards that the family are proud of. My younger daughter’s cup for being best student on leaving her primary school, my older daughter’s design award for having the highest mark ever at her school, and my wife’s engraved, glass bowl for winning Miss Great Britain. My stuff looks pathetic next to those.

So, bit by bit, I’m going to remove my baubles and put them away from sight somewhere so that no one can see them except me. I can’t get rid of them entirely as they mean something to me, the kindness of those who presented them. But it’s time to hide my not very bright light under a bushel.

The runners up in awards ceremonies usually get a consolation prize. At the Oscars this year, all nominees who didn’t win got a goody bag with three free holidays to Hawaii, Mexico and Australia, a bottle of tequila, a pair of hand made tennis shoes, some botox vouchers, a spa membership, VIP access to Heathrow airport lounges, and a packet of condoms.

Quite what 86 year old Best Actress nominee Emanuelle Riva did with those is anyone’s guess, but wouldn’t you rather have all that than a Perspex pipe or a milk shake bottle?