November 22, 2003


Paul Bickford tuned into last night’s shambolic telecast of the Australian Film Industry Awards:

The AFI awards last night confirmed why the Australian film and television industry requires propping up - bad production values, pissed presenters unable to read off an autocue and constant bleating about how the big nasty Americans are sooo much better at everything; just the sort of pathetic inferiority complex endemic in every industry that demands protection.

Comically, as actor after whiny actor howled about the need to “save our culture” from US imperialism, they did so in a format that aped Oscar night exactly, right down to the trophy babes escorting winners from the stage. Australia's elite televisual skills were evidenced by tard-quality production, sound problems, and halting, confused hosts. Well, it was the ABC ...

Funniest moment: after Geoffrey Atherden told us “if we lose our voice, we lose our identity” and “we need to hear stories in our own accent”, the next prize was accepted by someone with a Scots accent, who was there on behalf of the winner -- “who is in America at the moment, finishing a four-week shoot.” Ha!

Posted by Tim Blair at November 22, 2003 03:12 PM

The next time I receive a film award here in Texas I plan on speaking Australian.

Posted by: Wallace at November 22, 2003 at 03:20 PM

Landsakes, what's with these actors? We Yanks eat at your Outback Steakhouses, drink your Foster's... What more do you want? Really, would it kill you to go into a McDonald's now and then or build a couple Disneylands?

Posted by: R.W. at November 22, 2003 at 03:21 PM

Scots? Scottish, please.

Posted by: William at November 22, 2003 at 03:54 PM

Poor, poor bastards...

Posted by: gaz at November 22, 2003 at 04:09 PM

Poor, poor bastards...

Posted by: gaz at November 22, 2003 at 04:10 PM

Yes, I suppose that did bare repeating.

Posted by: gaz at November 22, 2003 at 04:10 PM

What's with you Aussies? Do you think many Americans are not from the same scum your own ancestors are from? Hell, our state of Georgia and your New South Wales were populated from the very same Thames River hulks full of thieves, debtors, and prostitutes--the hardy ones that survived, at least. Both countries were later enriched by immigration from all over Europe and Asia, although we did get an earlier start. It's too bad most of your African immigrants were white South Africans. We may have gotten the better deal, though we hardly deserve it, for how badly we've treated our earlier African immigrants. How can you possibly feel inferior to us? Our only advantage is we outnumber you by more than 10 to 1. If it were only half that, you'd have us whipped.

Posted by: Joel at November 22, 2003 at 04:21 PM

I don't know if you noticed, Joel, but the kind of people who read Tim's blog are not the kind who get invited to whine about their victimhood at subsidided 'industry' wankfests. Kindly direct your comments to them.

And while your at it, have a word with your Hollywood morons.

Posted by: Amos at November 22, 2003 at 05:11 PM

Even AM, no lapdog of the Yankee, verged on suggesting the criticism was a bit much:

Well, it was the politics of trade which upstaged what was supposed to be the showcase for the best in Australian film and television

Even the star of the night – the eight-time award winning film Japanese Story, seemed to take back-stage, as stars, directors, producers, and nearly everyone else lined up to attack the Howard Government.

"American culture" has replaced "Jewish culture" as the "entartete Kunst" (degenerate art). Crass, vulgar, yet immensely popular. We can't leave it to the taste of viewers - the Great Uncle must intervene.

Because we're not talking about inanimate objects. We're talking about the way we express ourselves, our hearts and our minds

The person's right - free trade of ideas is even more important than free trade of inanimate objects.

Posted by: Andjam at November 22, 2003 at 05:11 PM

Besides Foster's (which is my favorite beer), America seems to go crazy over some sort of Australian actor or act every so often. First it was Skippy the Kangaroo, then Men at Work, then Paul Hogan, then that Crocadile Hunter guy.

For the love of God, I wish the Wiggles had stayed in Australia. I guess it was fair payback for Kangaroo Jack, though.

Posted by: Jeremy at November 22, 2003 at 06:28 PM

The Australian 'film' industry is a homogeneous political lobby group which pulls faces badly for the camera in its spare time of which it has plenty.

Today, they talk less and less about actual 'acting' and more and more about 'telling Australian stories', blurring the line between ideologically-driven history revisionism and producing politically correct 'drama'. They would like nothing less than a nationalised film industry producing nothing but propagandised storylines.

Hmmm. And they like to call the Howard government Nazi.

Posted by: ilibcc at November 22, 2003 at 06:46 PM

Foster's is a big practical joke we aussies play on the rest of the world.
In case you don't know, we are all over here thinking "My God, you actually drink that shit ?"

Posted by: Osamas Psychotic Proctologist at November 22, 2003 at 07:49 PM

Yes, I suppose that did bare repeating.

Yes, and preferably in the nude.

Posted by: bai at November 22, 2003 at 07:51 PM

Not in my case bai, believe me.

Posted by: gaz at November 22, 2003 at 07:59 PM

Is it just me, or wouldn't this issue make a great Australian movie?

Posted by: Richard at November 22, 2003 at 09:18 PM

Latest News ....

Rugby World Cup

England 20 Australia 17

Will Tim the Tosser deny the result, like he denies everything that doesn't fit in with his fascist world view?

And will the Australian losers who forever whinge about Europe finally do something about it - like go home and stop stealing our jobs?

Posted by: True Brit at November 22, 2003 at 09:42 PM

And will the Australian losers who forever whinge about Europe finally do something about it

I trust you've heard the phrase "First Iraq, then France"?

Posted by: Andjam at November 22, 2003 at 10:47 PM

"And will the Australian losers who forever whinge about Europe finally do something about it - like go home and stop stealing our jobs?"

And Tim's the fascist? Yeah, sure.

Posted by: madne0 at November 23, 2003 at 12:04 AM

True Brit- I am also British, and I also think a gloat over the World Cup is appropriate. However I also feel the need to point out that you are a complete and utter fuckwit.

Posted by: Ross at November 23, 2003 at 12:09 AM

The better side won on the night; I think that having to go to extra time illustrates the closeness between the teams.
England was better, no argument, even when they won with a drop-goal; we would have done the same in the same position.
I intend to be drunk for the foreseable future.

Posted by: Habib at November 23, 2003 at 12:51 AM

By the way, if Chris Latham had been selected in the run-on squad, we might have won this World Cup.
Not just my view; and I think Queensland has lost him as well to Ireland thanks to the smiling Budda in the coache's box.

Posted by: Habib at November 23, 2003 at 01:00 AM

.....and Whittaker and Bourke etc,.... Try standing in a Malaysian pub with 90% of the crowd singing 'Swing Low'. At least the Welsh were more pissed of than the Australians.

Posted by: Fadzil at November 23, 2003 at 01:14 AM

Why Whittaker stayed on the bench is another coache's quandry; dump the Australian captain, just on the basis of ability?
By cracky, we could win a world cup on that sort of thinking.

Posted by: Habib at November 23, 2003 at 01:20 AM

Pretty funny considering that that was only the first of two Oscar-like ceremonies which will be dominated by Australians/New Zealanders this year, the other being... THE OSCARS! (In an earlier comment on this theme I forgot about Naomi Watt, she may be a nominee too.)

Posted by: Mike G at November 23, 2003 at 01:23 AM

This film awards thing is what you Aussies call 'cultural cringe,' right?

As for the rugby - Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, ha ha ha ha ha, and True Brit, you are indeed as Ross said, a complete and utter fuckwit.

Since you Wallabies denied me the opportunity of taunting my friend Lorissa the Kiwi whe we squished the All Blacks in the final, I feel a bijou gloat is in order.

And Foster's is piss. When I lived down the road from Earl's Court, I used to occasionally visit a pub where a lot of Aussies hung out. Boag's, now that was good beer.

Posted by: David Gillies at November 23, 2003 at 01:50 AM

I think True Brit is kidding, dudes.

Posted by: Dylan at November 23, 2003 at 01:56 AM

I shudder to think there could be no more Nicoles without the active support of the Australian government.

Posted by: ushie at November 23, 2003 at 02:06 AM

If True Brit was simply parodying the trolls on this site then my apologies to him, but it was very similar to how the real trolls sound.

Posted by: Ross at November 23, 2003 at 02:14 AM

No Dylan - you are over generous. True Brit is an utter fuckwit.

Posted by: Fadzil at November 23, 2003 at 02:31 AM

true Brit was obviously joking. Am I the only person able to discern irony in the written word?

Posted by: Amos at November 23, 2003 at 02:52 AM

David! You're goddamn right that's a good beer. It's the best of the "common" beers in Australia. And yes, Fosters is piss, but at least it's better than the undrinkable Miller's Genuine Draught.

Posted by: ChrisV at November 23, 2003 at 04:03 AM

Australia has a film industry? Whatever for?!?

Posted by: nofixedabode at November 23, 2003 at 06:57 AM

Not too long ago the Australian film industry seemed to be conquering the world. Now it's Bollywood. Wake up and smell the curry! Youse guys just got to try harder, that's all.

Concerning “we need to hear stories in our own accent”, I do hope there will be English subtitles for the Strine dialogue.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at November 23, 2003 at 10:30 AM

Actually, there are plenty of good episodes in our history that would make pretty decent material for film and television.

Early settlement, exploration and the wars that we've taken part in all have potential. As these all focus on the experiences and achievements of predominatly white men however, their appeal to the average Aussie film maker is limited.

Their "patriotism" only runs so far. Making a film that demonstrates pride in our history and in the men and women who shaped it is a no-no. Much better to make a film about Aborigines on the run or a film where evil white skinheads run around terrorising the local hapless ethnic community.

Posted by: gaz at November 23, 2003 at 11:48 AM

At least in Hollywood (or Bollywood or Hong Kong, about the only places with profitable, self-sustaining film industries) when someone makes a piece of shit movie, he blows somebody's money and not everybody's money.

If the Aussie movie industry is ever going to be anything more than a feeder for Hollywood it has to develop a sustainable financial model independent of the government. In other words, they've got to make films that a great number of people will actually pay to see -- no matter whether they're artistically great, representative of Australian culture, full of good thoughts, socially conscious, demonstrative of a prideful history or not, or what accent they are filmed in.

There's no mystery here: It's show business, not show welfare.

Posted by: John Pearley Huffman at November 23, 2003 at 12:09 PM


But there's two film cultures in Australia, the pathetic dog and pony show that clings to the apron strings of the government funding bodies, and the smaller but much fiestier independant film makers. These latter types usually go overseas once they have built up a reel to do features, they accept that there just isn't the money to do movies here in Australia. That leaves the field to the whiners and Rabbit Proof Fence makers.

The two types almost never meet, they don't like each other, they don't mingle. I know alot of people at my level, making their own video clips, short films and ads, making a living, but I know very few grant monkeys.

Different tribes.

Posted by: Amos at November 23, 2003 at 01:03 PM

Good luck Amos.

Posted by: gaz at November 23, 2003 at 01:16 PM

Quite ironic to read Bickford's words, after coming back from seeing "Master and Commander" (quite good, by the way, speaking as a fan of the series).

And as far as accents go, I plan to buy the video, so I can read the fucking subtitles next time I watch it....

Posted by: Carl in N.H. at November 23, 2003 at 01:33 PM

These guys are just protecting their own gravy train.

One of the largest television networks in the ewe knighted states of a merry car is Fox, owned by an Australian company News Corp.

Australians (at least those with any talent) can and do make it, and we are not disadvantaged in our influence on American culture in any way - the culture is a shared one.

These people are complaining because that shared culture is one they don't have the talent to make themselves known in.

Posted by: wv at November 23, 2003 at 07:21 PM