Cinema: Rich pickings for film prize judges

Undated Film Still Handout from American Honey. Pictured: Sasha Lane as Star. See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Universal. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Reviews.

Undated Film Still Handout from American Honey. Pictured: Sasha Lane as Star. See PA Feature FILM Reviews. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/Universal. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature FILM Reviews.

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Welcome to the new year, and to 2017’s awards season. Although officially beginning in the autumn with the announcement of Golden Globes nominations, the awards hype and speculation really gets into full swing from now.

In a few days’ time the Golden Globes winners will be announced. These are often a fairly accurate forecast for the Oscars and the outcome will serve to fuel the discussion and will be closely observed by bookies and fans the world over.

If some of the nominations aren’t familiar, never fear. Almost all of the nominated films will be getting UK releases in the not-too-distant future, including, in January alone, La La Land, Manchester By The Sea, Lion, and Jackie.

Also due to be announced soon are the BAFTA nominations, often seen as the British version of the Oscars. The BAFTA awards do recognise many of the same American titles but also have categories specifically for British film.

It would be great to see some of this year’s brilliant British films in contention.

Could Ken Loach’s I, Daniel Blake repeat its Cannes success and win Best Film or Outstanding British Film, making it a first-time top prize win for Ken at the BAFTAS? Will Andrea Arnold’s American Honey win big following its success at the recent British Independent Film Awards? Or perhaps the delightful Florence Foster Jenkins will take home the prizes? It’s hard to know how the BAFTA members will vote, but in such a strong year for British film I’m sure it will be an exciting night.

Overall the awards season is a whirlwind of red-carpet glamour, acceptance speeches, predictable winners and occasional shock triumphs.

The true fairness of the major film awards is a constant point of discussion; a good showing on the awards circuit can determine the success of many a film. The industry, particularly in Hollywood, seems to be fuelled by the focus and hype that the awards season creates.

One particularly contentious issue is the apparent tendency to overlook non-English language films. While English language films can be – and frequently are – brilliant, it’s a real shame the lack of spotlight on what the rest of the world can offer to the art of film. So this year we are reminded to spare a thought for every film on any of the ‘foreign language’ lists as these films work doubly hard to get recognition and deserve our attention.