Who will be the winners at this year’s Oscar and Bafta awards?
[This 2016 promo for Grey Goose vodka was the last of around 50 I’d done for Conde Nast and was used on GQ and Vogue’s websites. Not easy… I hadn’t seen most of the films I was having to write about, but then again, I hadn’t tasted a Le Fizz cocktail either.]
Conde Nast Digital promo, 2016
Rather like this season’s perplexing Premier League, the race for silverware at the Oscar and Bafta awards is unusually wide open. At least ten movies are in the running for best picture and the list for best director is a Champions League of big-screen talent: take your pick from Steven Spielberg (Bridge Of Spies), Ridley Scott (The Martian), Tom McCarthy (Spotlight), Quentin Tarantino (The Hateful Eight), Tom Hooper (The Danish Girl) and George Miller (Mad Max: Fury Road).
Last year, the British caused something of a rumpus at the Oscars, with Eddie Redmayne’s masterful depiction of physicist Stephen Hawking securing the best-actor award, a feat quickly replicated on this side of the Atlantic. Redmayne’s decision to once again push his acting capability to the limit by tackling gender-realigned artist Lili Elbe in The Danish Girl has been justified – it’s another triumph.
In 2016, heavyweight contenders for best film arrive thick and fast. McCarthy’s uneasy Spotlight, which deals with the Boston Globe newspaper’s “Spotlight” team and its investigation into child abuse by local priests, is handled with sensitivity and deserves recognition. The Big Short, also a true story, is a searing yet strangely amusing assessment of the outré trading practises that triggered the financial crash of 2007. Although director Adam McKay offers a simplified explanation of the crisis, it never feels like a Ladybird guide to economic Armageddon.
Spielberg already has two best-director Academy Awards (Schindler’s List; Saving Private Ryan), and has delivered again with Bridge Of Spies. It’s a gripping cold-war drama based on the events following the downing of a U2 spyplane over Russia in 1960. Mark Rylance, who plays Soviet spy Rudolf Ebel, has been a notable stage actor for years but has largely been absent from film. Here, he’s an accomplished support to Tom Hanks.
Danny Boyle is also no stranger to success. Slumdog Millionaire brought him Academy and Bafta awards for best director, but his latest work, Steve Jobs, charting the rise of Apple’s tech messiah, is a slick production. If Boyle misses top spot at the Oscars, the Baftas may prove more rapturous with enthusiasm – that’s if he can overcome fellow British directors Sarah Gavron (Suffragette) and Hooper (The Danish Girl).
With Spectre not quite reaching the heights of the criminally neglected Casino Royale, it’s unlikely that James Bond will be picking up anything other than a martini, but Star Wars: The Force Awakens could be that rare beast – a blockbuster with award pretensions. Meanwhile, Cate Blanchett, star of Fifties-set Carol, should start searching for a glittery dress. The recipient of two Oscars and three Baftas, she again leads the field for best actress. Such are the superb costumes in Carol, Blanchett should look no further than the film’s own wardrobe department.
So where does that leave Shaun The Sheep Movie, not just the best children’s film of the year but one of the best films in its own right? Alas, Aardman’s nuances of British culture from the Sixties to the Eighties may be missed by most of the Oscars’ judging panel, but if there’s any justice, this should sparkle at the Baftas. As the farmer might say when all has gone well: “Ahhhhh.”
Content 2 Previous award galleries]
The film-awards season: didn’t they do well?
When you’ve picked up a trophy or two, it’s time to share the glory
Content 3 Le Fizz Cocktail]
Toast the cocktail of the moment
The Le Fizz looks like champagne, has a champagne aroma, but tastes even better
So you have a shiny trophy, a prize given for an acting job that was so refined, you’ve been favourably referred to as a merging of Larry and Dicky. In your acceptance speech you praised the script, played down your own performance and, best of all, didn’t blub. And now it’s the after-party. The instinctive action is to swipe a champagne, because fizz signifies success. But you’ve never been one to follow the pack and, at the Grey Goose soiree, you take a champagne-inspired Le Fizz cocktail instead. Celebration now has an alternative.
Le Fizz was created by mixologist Joe McCanta and has been designed not just to match the flavour of champagne, but to surpass it. “It has the same notes as champagne, with a floral quality,” McCanta reveals. “Grey Goose is made with soft winter wheat from the Picardie region, with a rounded, bread-y quality to the vodka, then you’ve got floral notes from St-Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh lime and a bit of fizz, which is just soda water, but it opens up the cocktail. The first time we served Le Fizz, everyone thought it was champagne and then their eyebrows raised, realising it was something new and different.”
As well as Le Fizz, Grey Goose has crafted a range of film-themed cocktails for film-awards season, from the oyster-shell-infused Grey Goose Martini De La Mer, with micro-shiso, amaranth and capers, to the L’Oxymore, a subtle blend of sweet (vanilla), bitter (lemon), umami (French cepes) and sharp (vinegar). If your gong was for a sci-fi scorcher, the Cosmonaut is required, a starry blend of Grey Goose La Poire, ginger liqueur, lime and cardamom bitters served with Pluto-esque ice spheres. With two parties spanning the Atlantic to come, perhaps the best actor could try them all. To find Grey Goose’s cocktail recipes, go to greygoose.com.
Content 4 Joe McCanta interview]
Raise the bar: Grey Goose cocktails at the film awards
Grey Goose global ambassador and chief mixologist Joe McCanta reveals his master plan for the Bafta and Oscar parties
As Grey Goose’s master mixologist, have you prepared a blockbusting selection of cocktails for the Bafta and Oscar parties?
We tailor our cocktails around film themes. “Love conquers all” is one we’ve been looking at; there are a few films where characters are overcoming challenges of the heart. But how do you express that in a cocktail? That’s my task. Every year, Grey Goose co-hosts some of the most exclusive film-awards parties so our cocktails have to mirror the exceptional nature of these occasions. For Grey Goose L’Amore, inspired by the love-conquers-all theme, I came up with a soft and elegant combination of Grey Goose Le Citron, peach, lemon and ginger to create an intriguing drink with delicate rose notes and a fragile beauty.
What is your process when creating a film-themed cocktail?
You have to understand the material so it’s a case of seeing the films and reading up as much as you can about them. With Grey Goose cocktails, you’re dealing with details. It’s a source of pride when someone recognises that detail and thinks, “You went the extra mile.”
Will you be in London and Hollywood for the awards parties?
Yes, I’ll oversee both. I’ll mix the ingredients onsite beforehand. That allows quick serving and assures the drinks are of a high standard. Every drink needs to be from the batch that I made. That way, I get consistency.
Are there any stars who’d make a decent mixologist?
One of the great surprises is when an actor knows what they’re talking about. Angelina Jolie was at the 12 Years A Slave event at the Oscars a few years ago, and she walked in and came straight up to the bar. I had this cocktail that contained blood orange and balsamic vinegar, a nod to Italian cinema. And she was asking, “Where do you get your oranges from? How did you mix that?” She was genuinely interested.
Could you explain Grey Goose’s unique qualities for cocktails?
Grey Goose was created by cellar master Francois Thibault and it is only distilled once to keep the taste. We have a mill in our distillery so we can make our own flour. It’s about expressing the taste of French wheat. For me, what’s great about working with Grey Goose is it gives me the opportunity to work in a creative way. It’s the panache that people recognise.
Is there a film you’ll never tire of watching?
The Godfather. I could watch it 100 times… in fact, I have. Sweet Smell Of Success, too. It’s from the Fifties with Burt Lancaster and Tony Curtis. The writing is phenomenal. Curtis plays this up-and-coming PR and Lancaster is like the AA Gill of New York – a newspaper columnist. I like the older films.
Do mixologists work long hours?
I’ve a friend who’s a mixologist and he says, “We’re just like everybody else, with a nine-to-five job, only we work from 9am to 5am.” Which is true. The thing is, you’re out every night, then, the next day, you have to be up planning for the event.
Are mixologists supermen?
There’s an energy that you get from being around these events and it’s something that takes over. You can be non-stop but you don’t think of it as work. It’s bringing these great events to life. These experiences are once in a lifetime. They take over and then, when it’s all over, you sleep.
Content 5 Competition]
Win Grey Goose vodka and create your own cocktails
You might have missed out on an Oscar or Bafta this year but now you can create your own awards afterparty with [prize]. To enter go to grey goose.com/gqcomp
GQ Native ad unit traffic driver]
It’s film-awards season with Grey Goose Vodka
Mix the Grey Goose cocktails created for the film awards
Option 1 header
Film awards, pre-parties and afterparties with Grey Goose Vodka
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Grey Goose master mixology from the Oscar and Bafta parties
Discover the film-awards cocktails created by Grey Goose’s in-house cocktail master Joe McCanta
And now for best drink… Enter our film awards-themed Grey Goose vodka competition and win [prize].
Grey Goose vodka competition
Enjoy the cocktails served at the Oscar and Bafta film awards and enter our Grey Goose vodka competition to win [prize].