The Goblin Awards 2023

This year’s Goblin Awards ceremony is brought to you by Netflix, like everything that’s too shit for TV. Hot! Not shit. Definitely not shit.

Your hosts for the evening.

The Phantom Menace Award for Worst Title

Kicking off proceedings we have the award for the film with the worst title. The runners-up are the painfully descriptive Women Talking and M. Night Shyamalan’s Knock at the Cabin, as confounding grammatically as it was cinematically (and what was wrong with the novel’s title, The Cabin at the End of the World?). But the Goblin goes to another thriller adaptation, the terrifyingly titled The Black Phone, a film that made us believe for a horrifying instant that a phone might be black. It doesn’t bear thinking about.

Worst Artificial Child

Here’s Alexis Bledel to present the award.

Don’t worry, we are not about to shame a human child. We’ll leave that to the Razzies. This category is for sentient imitations of children, crimes against nature featured in crimes against cinema. Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio was the most loathsome puppet since Pob, a gurning little sap only useful upon incineration. But like the Goblin Awards, that was a Netflix production and therefore definitely not shit. So the award goes to robot doll M3GAN, whose total lack of personality made Piers Morgan absolutely furious.

Best Marketing Campaign for a Film That Doesn’t Exist

That’s enough negativity for now, time to celebrate some success: the best marketing campaign for a film which, upon watching, turned out not to be a real film. Smile plastered its grinning face over every surface both physical and digital, released a Snapchat filter and even planted actors at baseball games to smirk as though actually enjoying watching sport. Freaky. It then became apparent that the smile image was the entire film, so at least it can’t be accused of false advertising.

Similarly M3GAN was seen dancing at sporting events, struggling to stand upright on the New York subway and appearing on numerous talk shows, sometimes alongside her husband Harry. Once again, there was no real product at the centre of all these stunts and the film had all the longevity of an iPhone battery.

But the viral marketing campaign of the year has to be Don’t Worry Darling, whose highly-publicised infighting made people think the film would be worth seeing. It wasn’t, and they didn’t, but it was a masterclass in how to generate and fail to capitalise on a cultural moment.

Sequel that Best Missed the Point of the Original

These nominees all made our jaws hit the floor, not for their dazzling visuals or shocking plot twists, but for how wildly they misunderstood their predecessors. Avatar: The Way of Water and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever both followed up anti-colonial mega-hits with the opposite message, giving the Na’vi machine guns and having Wakanda wage an American proxy war against a Mayan civilisation.

Meanwhile Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery saw Rian Johnson forget the tightly plotted, wittily scripted point of Knives Out (thanks to the liberating creative freedom of our good friends at Netflix!). But sometimes changing the spirit of the original is for the best, so the award goes to Top Gun: Maverick for not being fascist.

Top of the Class

An apology would suffice.

The obnoxious rich people movie thrived in 2022, with class satire sending a clear anti-wealth message from executives in Hollywood. Adam McKay brought his usual subtlety to the mind-bogglingly stupid The Menu, while Triangle of Sadness tricked entire roomfuls of snobs into watching Below Deck for two and a half hours. But one “eat the rich” movie devoured them all, and the machete-sharp Bodies Bodies Bodies takes home the jewel-encrusted goblin statuette.

Best Film

Time now for the top prize, film of the year as voted for by a diverse panel of one. Twisted Nordic flicks Hatching and The Innocents showed that horror is alive and well in some parts of the world, and stunning anime Belle was probably the best psychedelic metaverse musical of the year. The winner though is the transgressive and transcendent Titane, essential viewing for film freaks and learner drivers alike.

In Memoriam

We close by honouring some of those lucky enough to escape 2022 by dying. Who can forget the horrible dumpster fire that killed our beloved Laurie Strode and Michael Myers, or Halloween Ends as it’s known? Who remembers the concept of allegory, before it was destroyed at the hands of Men? But the prize for saddest death goes to the dinosaurs, cruelly revived only to suffer the indignity of Jurassic World: Dominion. Oh, the huge manitee.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.