Tag Archives: The Lobster

Evening Standard Film Award winners: not all white on the night

7 Feb
beasts of no nation

Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation: ignored by the Oscars, triumphing at the Evening Standard Film Awards

So great to see British films properly recognised: at the Evening Standard Film Awards tonight, the awards were full of them. Admittedly, only British and Irish films were actually eligible for this award, but still: go team GB!

Idris Elba took a swipe at the all-white Oscars when collecting his Best Actor award for Beasts of No Nation, pointing out that the director was half Japanese, the crew were from New York and Ghana, and the money came from all over. “That’s f***ing diversity,” he said.

Other deserving winners included Emma Donoghue for scripting Room and Amy for best Documentary, while The Lady in the Van took Best Actress for Maggie Smith and the Outstanding Contribution award for writer Alan Bennett, who wryly called this particular accolade “a sharp nudge in the direction of the grave”. Brooklyn won Best Film, though I would have loved it to go to The Lobster, certainly the most singular and original of the year’s crop.

Hollywood was thrown a bone in the shape of the Best Blockbuster award, voted for by members of the public – no surprises there, then, to find Star Wars: The Force Awakens triumphing. Funnily enough, it was picked up by Anthony Daniels – a man most famous for playing what is essentially a life-sized, ambulant version of the Oscars statuette.

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Q: What is the unlikely link between The Lobster and Spectre?

30 Oct
Lea Seydoux and Daniel Craig in Spectre

Lea Seydoux and Daniel Craig in Spectre

Yesterday, at the usually less popular 6.30pm screening in Ritzy’s huge Screen One, I couldn’t get in to see Spectre – it had completely sold out, which indicates a hit to eclipse even Skyfall. But I was glad I couldn’t, because the next available film, which I might otherwise have missed, was The Lobster, a film which couldn’t be more effectively strange, as well as strangely affecting, if it were written by Charlie Kaufman. The less said about this dystopian sci-fi parable on the nature of romance the better, to preserve your enjoyment when you see it. (You will see it, won’t you? Trust me on this.)

But great was my surprise and pleasure in the coincidence when, on finally seeing Spectre in IMAX tonight, the same actress cropped up again in a key role – Léa Seydoux. The two roles couldn’t be more different. Whereas in The Lobster she had played the chillingly cold Queen of Loners, she was Spectre’s warm, beating heart.

A couple of friends told me they couldn’t fully enjoy Spectre, as it was “emotionally unengaging”. I do agree that Daniel Craig, like some sort of celebrity version of The Portrait of Dorian Gray, becomes more and more like his own Madame Tussauds waxwork with each successive outing. But Léa Seydoux (and Ben Whishaw, given a lot more to do as Q in this film) gave the film its emotional centre.

She’s not overtly sexy in the way Bond girls have classically been, but you can practically see the wisps of smoke emanating from furnaces deep inside. She’s not an action heroine, but she can handle a gun when she has to. When she’s on screen, you forget that Spectre is an inherently ridiculous (though masterfully executed) action movie, and it seems like a human drama once again.