More reputable than the Golden Globes and shorter than the Oscars, it’s time for the Goblin Awards, our annual antidote to the Academy’s public onanism ceremony.
1. Most Awkward Moment
The most awkward moment of 2016 was probably when Theresa May was ignored at that EU summit, but what about in cinema? There are plenty of embarrassing moments to choose from, including the bit in London Has Fallen when Gerard Butler said “Go back to Fuckheadistan” and the entirety of Batman v Superman. But the Goblin goes to Emma Roberts, for the scene in Nerve where she raps along to ‘C.R.E.A.M.’ by the Wu-Tang Clan. C.R.I.N.G.E. DM
2. The “Speak Up!” Award
There were plenty of actors we’d wish would quieten down this year, including Gerard Butler in London Has Fallen and Jon Voight in his support for Donald Trump. But this coveted statuette is awarded to the actors who ought to talk a bit louder, because we could barely hear their terrible dialogue. The nominees are Natalie Portman in Jackie, Marillon Cotillard in Allied and Marillon Cotillard in Assassin’s Creed. And the winner is Natalie Portman as Eric Cartman as Jackie Kennedy! Congratulations Natalie, please make your speech into the megaphone provided. DM
3. Worst Person on a Thing
This year, the nominees for Worst Person on a Thing are… Emily Blunt on a train in The Girl on the Train, Blake Lively on a rock in The Shallows, Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt on a spaceship in Passengers, and Jennifer Lawrence on a contractual obligation in X-Men: Apocalypse. And the goblin goes to… Passengers! Well done Chris and Jennifer, it couldn’t have happened to two worse people. DM
4. The Award for Under-use of Jeremy Irons
Jeremy Irons stood just away from the action, contributing occasional action shots and expository dialogue from a bluescreen in not one but two films this year; Batman v Superman and Assassin’s Creed.
He could have filmed his entire performance in both films in less than a day, as he stood around mumbling at Michael Fassbender and Ben Affleck. He was better used in The Lion King and you couldn’t even see him.
The Golden Goblin goes to Batman v Superman because in Assassin’s Creed he at least got to go to a second location, and didn’t do a disservice to a much-loved comic book character. AC
5. Biggest Thinker
The Goblin Awards isn’t just about heaping scorn on the worst films of the year (seriously); it’s also a good chance to look back at some of the gems that may not have been perfect but provided plenty of food for thought.
Arrival is a strong contender for this prize, but is out of the running due to getting a Best Picture nomination (that it had no hope of winning). The brilliant Son of Saul was profound and moving, but was similarly praised at last year’s award season (before it got a UK release).
Alan Rickman’s last performance in Eye in the Sky was as morally conflicted as Gandhi punching a homeless person. But the prize goes to the provocative The Birth of a Nation, which fused religious imagery with complex moral quandaries. An imperfect film that has nonetheless been unfairly ignored in awards season, the idea of a religious man forced to preach the oppression of his people is refreshingly open-ended – and in a far more engaging film than Martin Scorsese’s Silence. AC
6. Best Film Featuring Batman
There’s stiff competition for this award, given the fact that Batman featured in not one, not two, but three films this year; his starring role in Batman v Superman and The Lego Batman Movie, and his cameo in Suicide Squad. Unfortunately only one of those films was good enough to deserve a cinematic release, so the award goes to Lego Batman, proving that a 3 inch plastic toy can deliver a better performance that an overpaid Batfleck. AC
7. Worst Adaptation of a British Sitcom
As anyone who’s tried to watch the Are You Being Served movie knows, British sitcoms don’t always translate well to the big screen. Possibly due to the success of Steve Coogan’s Alan Partridge film, this year we saw not one but two films following in its footsteps, but with markedly less success: the Absolutely Fabulous movie that absolutely no-one wanted to see, and The Office movie not set in an office.
While the world of Ab Fab excess makes sense on the big screen with their lavish celebrity-filled lifestyles, seeing David Brent removed from his natural office habitat removes the entire point of the character. Like The Office, David Brent: Live on the Road was cringey and hard to watch, but unlike The Office it was mainly due to the quality of the gags. It might not have set the box office alight, but at least Ricky Gervais gets a coveted Goblin. The closest he’ll get to an award without hosting the ceremony. AC
8. Most Pointless Remake
The Jungle Book was perhaps the most unnecessary – the fact it’s a cartoon about talking animals suggests there’s little to be gained from a CGI revamp. But Jon Favreau’s flick successfully flicked the vs to the naysayers, delivering a pretty decent action-adventure.
Since The Magnificent Seven is a Western, a genre almost as old as Hollywood itself, there seems to be little to be gained from an update, particularly compared to Ben-Hur which, in both its previous incarnations, has been a bonanza for the special effects of its day. But the makers of The Magnificent Seven understood that in any film the story and characters come first.
No amount of dreadlocked Morgan Freeman can save Ben-Hur‘s lack of new ideas, forgettable performances and unemotional action and it’s this that earns it the Golden Goblin for the Most Pointless Remake. AC
A moment to remember the careers that have passed away this year, and cause of death:
Ben Affleck (poor career choice – Batman v Superman)
Zack Snyder (natural selection – Batman v Superman)
Robert De Niro (karmic retribution – Dirty Grandpa)
Marillion Cotillard (talking too quietly, again – Allied and Assassin’s Creed)
Ricky Gervais (flogging…a dead horse – David Brent: Life on the Road)