ALEXANDRA SHULMAN’S NOTEBOOK: Some people win, some people lose. Life isn’t fair
With the Oscars only a few weeks away, and the Baftas, Grammys and Brits held recently, awards season controversy is, as always, bubbling away. Can you remember who won Best Supporting Actor at last Sunday’s Baftas? Or Best Screenplay?
Probably not. But you might remember that there was an outcry that none of the major Bafta awards were given to ethnically diverse contenders this year. In contrast, black American Will Smith, Latina Ariana deBose and black British newcomer Lashana Lynch walked away with trophies last year.
With regard the Oscars, there has been a huge fuss at the surprise inclusion of Andrea Riseborough’s nomination as Best Actress for her role in a little-known independent film To Leslie. Her selection was said to have nudged black actresses Viola Davis and Danielle Deadwyler from the list. By the way, Riseborough is a brilliant actress but having been one of the few people to so far see the film, I wouldn’t say it was her most striking performance.
And it’s not only in the cinema that awards ceremonies are swamped by criticism of who won and who was nominated.
With the Oscars only a few weeks away, and the Baftas, Grammys and Brits held recently, awards season controversy is, as always, bubbling away, writes Alexandra Shulman
Can you remember who won Best Supporting Actor at last Sunday’s Baftas? Or Best Screenplay? Probably not. Pictured: Alexandra Shulman
When the Brits scrapped the different categories of best male and female artist in the new era of gender fluidity, the result was that this year’s shortlist for best artist was entirely male.
Yes, it’s a shame there were no women nominated – but maybe this just wasn’t their year. Last year, Adele won everything. Did the men cry shame?
The whole point of prizes is that some people win and some people lose. It’s one of the horrible facts you learn as a child. But these are not children and in these big-time awards, all the contenders know the game they are in. It’s not simply about individual performances but also about the star-building machines behind them – agents, record labels, publicity teams.
The debate about how unfair it might be that some worthy contender hasn’t made the list or the winners podium is ludicrous and undermines the success of those who have won.
Life isn’t fair. It never has been.
A stupid lecture on university flings
The proposed plan by the Office of Students for lecturers and university academics to declare any flings they might have with one of their students is ridiculous.
What if the student doesn’t wish the relationship to be made public? At what stage is declaration merited? Would going out for a drink after a tutorial and a quick snog classify? Does the relationship have to include sex? Does the student have to agree to the declaration? Does a relationship between a young tutor and a mature student qualify? And, ultimately, what on earth is the point of having this information?
Of course a person in a position of power can wrongly take advantage of somebody vulnerable. But surely we need to credit students with a modicum of sense. If after a short fling they feel undermined or discriminated against by their teacher, this list isn’t going to make much difference.
The proposed plan by the Office of Students for lecturers and university academics to declare any flings they might have with one of their students is ridiculous, writes Alexandra Shulman. [File image]
As a young woman I never had a sexual relationship with a tutor or boss but there were certainly occasions where the frisson of attraction was part of the enjoyment of life. My lecturers were not the stuff of a young girl’s dreams but I had friends who certainly had liaisons of sorts with their educator.
And, as we all know, in some cases teachers and students marry – as was the case with Vivienne Westwood and Andreas Kronthaler.
There’s no doubt that predatory behaviour has to be guarded against, but a register seems a daft way of going about it.
Gruesome pictures we must not erase
As I have written previously, I occasionally volunteer at our local library where small children love rummaging around the shelves and boxes of books. Particularly popular are stories with gruesome characters, such as Horrible Histories, and much of their popularity is due to the illustrations.
Ditto Roald Dahl, whose publisher Puffin has decided to sanitise his books to avoid them prejudicing young minds with stereotypes.
Evil and complex characters are fat, big-footed, long-nosed, wig-wearing – all brilliantly depicted in the Quentin Blake illustrations that go along with Dahl’s stories. The wilder the hair, the more bulbous the nose, the more fun and memorable they are, from the gruesome Twits to the wild-eyed Witches. Children love the images.
The publishers might remove the words in a ridiculous attempt to make Dahl’s world a kinder place, but they tinker with the illustrations at their peril.
Rainy days that pay for Burberry
Daniel Lee, the new designer at Burberry, showed his first collection: it looks like the house is back on track. Following the heavily goth-inspired era under the helm of Italian Riccardo Tisci, Lee has returned Burberry to the British tropes that Christopher Bailey mined for years. The fashion brand made its fortune in waterproof trenches; our famous weather has always been a trusty source of inspiration. Along with great looking knitwear and brightly patterned, oversized Burberry plaid, Lee produced a more down-home nod to our chilly climate: rubber boots and delicious wool Burberry-check hot water bottles.
Daniel Lee, the new designer at Burberry, showed his first collection: it looks like the house is back on track
I’ve been felled… by wilting geraniums
It’s the little things that tip you over. In recent months, a lot of my friends and family have suffered ill-health – sometimes I don’t want to answer the phone fearing bad news. But it’s been what appears to be the massacre of my potted geraniums that has felled me.
Over the years, I’ve taken cuttings from gardens across Europe and many of them have thrived. For some reason, this winter the whole lot seem to have been done in, even though the climate has been relatively mild.
The sight of their sad, limp, brown and rubbery stalks is too brutal for me and I have hidden them under a tarpaulin hoping that, after the last frost has been, I might see a sign of life and they will be resurrected in their colourful glory.
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