Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 20 August 2014

Richard's still a golden star

Awards ceremonies can be funny old things.

Most of the ones for journalists that I've attended have been wildly competitive, riven by jealousy, fear and loathing. What did she get that for? She didn't write a line of that herself! No! He never broke that story!! And that's only the enjoyable parts of the evening.

So, watching the sublime Richard Gere present an Oscar to Adele, one couldn't help but wonder if there is a bit of carping at the Academy Awards, too.

After all, Gere – star of classics such as An Officer and a Gentleman, Pretty Woman and American Gigolo – has never so much as been nominated for an Oscar though he won the Golden Globe for best actor for Chicago. Yet Daniel Day Lewis has now picked up his third statuette, this time for Lincoln, widely acknowledged to be a generally under par film.

Of course, Gere was actually banned from involvement with the Oscars for 20 years since he used his place at the podium to attack the Chinese government for its policy in Tibet – Hollywood doesn't like its stars spiking potentially lucrative markets around the world.

But Gere is in good company. Some of the biggest box office stars never gleaned an Oscar nomination – Edward G Robinson, Marilyn Monroe, Jim Carrey among them – and the Academy has been renowned for 80 years for eccentric choices.

In the end the public are always right.

Which means years from now women toiling at checkout tills, in classrooms, solictors' offices and – who knows? – newspaper offices will still dream that one day a man with sculptured good looks in a white uniform will sweep into their miserable workplace and carry them away from it all. They will not be counting the minutes until they can get home to watch the last hour of Lincoln.

Oscar or no, Gere's place in cinematic history is secure.

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