Cupboard’s bare for ‘A Royal Affair’

Some will no doubt be awaiting the Oscars (see G20 for details on when to watch the highlights on TV) with trepidation, praying that A Royal Affair can claim Denmark’s second Oscar for best film in a foreign language in three years, but who are they trying to kid?! It doesn’t have a hope. The favourite, the Austrian film Amour, is 1/50, which in layman’s terms means you would have to bet your house to win a garden shed. It’s never going to happen.

Still, with The Hunt nominated for the Golden Globes – it didn’t win, ‘Amour’ did – the prospects look good for next year. Providing the Oscars are on television of course.

Because I smell a conspiracy. The Golden Globes, BAFTA and Critics Choice Award, by awarding Ben Affleck with their best director awards, have all drawn attention to what a misjudgement it was by the Oscars to leave the artist formerly known as one half of Bennifer off their own list. And now, heading into Sunday, Affleck’s film Argo is 1/7 to claim the gong, meaning that Affleck will win an Oscar, but as producer not director, and very possibly deliver the final speech of the ceremony. How will he be able to resist the temptation?

If you discount the pre-Second World War ceremonies, which more resembled a country club luncheon than anything else, only one director of the best film award has failed to be nominated: Bruce Beresford for Driving Miss Daisy in 1990.

So does this mean the Oscars will lose their prestige? Not yet, but nothing lasts forever. The West has a tendency to be blinded by its self-importance and cry outrage when things we’ve grown up with are threatened (football clubs are a good example), when in the bigger scheme of things, they’ve only been around for a micro-second.

Elsewhere, it’s pretty quiet out there. Look out next week for more details of the Puppet Festival (see G8), which starts on Thursday. It might not have the glitz of the Oscars, but at least it’s upfront about its strings-attached approach.