Year of the Beard (originally published on GuySpy, Feb 26 2013)

With the dust (let’s call it dust) settling on awards season, it’s time to take a look at what the winning trends were, and how we can apply these to our emphatically non-Hollywood, dreary existences. Remember: you are never closer to god than when you are aping a celebrity, so let’s examine the four main life lessons from this year’s shindigs that will make 2013 an award winning twelve months for all of us.

Lesson one: Be a beard wearer
Of course the beard has a long and proud tradition in Hollywood, though this year they are being worn on the face rather than the arm. Would a clean-shaven Ben Affleck really have won Best Picture for “Argo” had his slightly disconcerting jawline not been camouflaged with a lustrous coating of magnificent whiskers? No. Everyone’s at it, and every one of them a winner: George Clooney (silver fox), Hugh Jackman (sculpted), Meryl Streep (ran out of Veet). Of course the gays have always loved a beard, but if you’ve been sitting on the fence, now is the time to get growing.

Lesson two: Be Jennifer Lawrence
Or even better: be Jennifer Lawrence with a beard. If you could somehow combine the two (and if anyone can, you can), you could rule Hollywood, and possibly get out of those “Hunger Games” sequels you now don’t really want to do. You’re sassy, you’re smart, and the lead role in a possible future Renée Zellwegger biopic is yours for the taking, though Renée will have to do something interesting to get that one greenlit. Falling over is optional but it will get you more column inches and a bigger round of applause.

Lesson three: Be American
Or at the very least, not British. Never was this more obvious than at the Brit Awards. Had Robbie Williams’ performance lasted any longer he probably would have split the audience in two to see who could sing “hey ho here we go” the loudest. I love Robbie, but he’s been really half-arsed since he became a dad. I know being a new father is tiring, but lots of people manage to do their jobs properly at the same time so why should he be any different? Contrast this with Justin Timberlake: the man goes away for six years and comes back with impossibly straight hair, wearing a PVC tuxedo and yet still somehow turns in the smoothest performance the world has ever seen, prompting a mad rush to iTunes for his really quite good new tune “Mirrors.” Granted, he doesn’t have a baby keeping him up all hours but still.

Then there’s Emeli Sandé. She sits at a piano, she wanders up and down about a bit, she’s borrowed Annie Lennox’s hair from 1986. She was quite good, but all her momentum was crushed by James Corden repeatedly trailing her performance as “incredible.” Incredible would have been Emeli being shot into space from a gigantic cannon. This was not incredible. Meanwhile, the world’s favourite woman scorned, Taylor Swift, delivered a massive (yet classy) f**k you to Harry Styles whilst simultaneously making the old Bucks Fizz let’s-pull-off-our-skirts routine exciting again.  And she still found time for a frankly bonkers dubstep breakdown. This is how it’s done, and to be quite honest the UK is letting the side down. So let’s all move to the US immediately.

Lesson four: Be vague
Got something to get off your chest but at the same time, not really? Do it the Jodie Foster way. She used a rambling, faintly incoherent speech at the Golden Globes to respond to a question that everyone stopped asking years ago. And for those of you who still aren’t sure what she was getting at, the answer is YES – Jodie Foster is still friends with Mel Gibson.

So there you have it: life lessons from the beautiful, talented and wealthy. I expect to see you all on one podium or another by this time next year.

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