Be it the Oscars, the Baftas or the Most Amusing Marrow competition at your local allotment, there are a few universal rules when it comes to surviving awards season. Follow my handy guide to make sure you gracefully glide through the process and avoid making a complete fool of yourself.
Perfect your ‘Who me?’ Face
If you are lucky enough to be nominated for an award you need to perfect your ‘who me?” face. This is a face designed to convey total bemusement at anyone even knowing who you are, let alone nominating you for an award. Here are a few examples of excellent ‘who me?’ faces.
Learn the Art of Self-Deprecation
Once you’ve perfected the face, you’ll then need to choose a self-deprecating line to use when people ask you about your nomination. Here are a few suggestions:
“Oh I won’t win. It’s an honour just to be nominated.”
“I’m just proud to be considered alongside so many talented individuals.”
“My nomination was probably a clerical error.”
“How do you spell ‘chalk’ again? Is it with a V?” (This really throws people off the scent and the quickest way to make people forget all about your nomination.)
Alternatively, just be bold and say “Yeah, my book/performance/giant aubergine is frickin’ awesome, damn right I’m nominated for an award!” This is harder to pull off as a strategy but highly admirable when delivered with enough gusto.
Let your outfit do the talking
Once you’ve dealt with the initial nomination you’re going to have to put together ‘a look’ for the ceremony itself and as everyone knows, an outfit can speak a thousand million words. To illustrate, here’s what a few award hopefuls were trying to tell you through the medium of their clothing.
I call this look ‘Bridal Bonkers’. She’s trying to say – yes I’m marriage material and yes I’ll do the washing up, BUT I might murder you if you say ‘you missed a bit’ when I hand you the saucepan flecked with crusted on spag bol to dry up. The purpose of an outfit like this is to so entirely distract you from what’s really going on that you soon forget you’re even at an award ceremony. Pretty soon, all you can think about it how the hell she’s going to wash up that spag bol encrusted saucepan without getting it all over her dress. WON’T SOMEONE PLEASE BUY THE WOMAN AN APRON GOD DAMN IT!!
This is another classic. This is the look that says, ‘win or lose I have a fantastic body – so ha!’ It’s a great outfit to go for if you think you are going to lose, mainly because no one is going to feel sorry for someone who has a bottom that toned and legs so silky smooth. Incidentally, this look also works when you’ve got the ‘It’s-Monday-morning-and-I’m-in-Asda-with-a-screaming-two-year-old-what-has-happened-to-my-life-and-career?’ blues. Pull this bad boy out the wardrobe and Asda/motherhood suddenly becomes A LOT more interesting.
Here’s an outfit that simply says, “Don’t look at me, look at my work. Take me seriously.” It’s also an outfit that stops you being able to sit down or go to the loo so a great choice if you’re not a good sitter and have excellent bladder control. Word to the wise, if you do opt for something like this; make sure you wear something sturdy and/or waterproof underneath. You don’t want to be in a situation where you lose, it’s raining outside and your papier-mâché costume starts dissolving around you. You’ll be stuck hailing a cab with nothing to protect your modesty except the award you didn’t win. Suddenly you’re a loser AND you’re naked and no one likes a naked loser – especially cab drivers.
Hone your ‘gracious loser’ face
Make sure you’ve honed your ‘gracious loser’ face for when you don’t win. This is probably the most important preparation you can do. This face is all about conveying the fact that you never actually thought you would win and are just there to enjoy the ambience and the cheap wine. Here are a few excellent ‘loser’ faces to inspire you.
This look is called the ‘Magnanimous Jaw Clench’ – best used when you can’t even muster a fake smile. If you are planning on using the MJC you might find jabbing a compass into your leg to stop yourself from screaming really helps the look along. If no compasses are available make sure you stock up on cocktail sticks when the canapés come around.
I call this one the ‘I’m So Happy For You!’ face. Only attempt this one if you’ve had formal training as it can come across quite sarcastic if you’re not a seasoned pro. If you have no formal training I’d recommend dosing up on some prescription strength mood enhancers or a twelve ounce bag of Jelly Babies before attempting it.
This one I love – it’s called ‘Brutal Honesty’ and involves going bat-shit crazy, screaming uncontrollably and throwing faeces at the winning candidate who stole YOUR award. It’s a real crowd pleaser but can have some undesirable consequences; Firstly you will never be invited to an award ceremony ever again and secondly you will be escorted from the building by hefty security guards who have little regard for your personal space or how difficult it is for you to walk in a new pair of heels. You do not need formal training to attempt this look just a thick skin and an industrial strength deodorant.
The Acceptance Speech
Finally, if by some miracle you do win and you find yourself on stage doing an acceptance speech, here are a few tips to help you get the tone right.
- Don’t pull out a pre-written speech from your pocket, it looks presumptuous. If you need a few crib notes get them tattooed onto your hand pre-ceremony, it will look far more subtle.
- Remember to thank your mum, your dog, your agent, nail artist blah blah blah – basically attribute all your success to anyone and everyone other than yourself. I’ve seen the “yeah go me!” approach in acceptance speeches before and it never goes down well. If you do want to try it, make sure you team it with a little celebratory dance or a swift call for ‘world peace’ to make it more palatable to the crowd.
- Cry. Everyone loves tears, so if you can cry on command go for it. With enough tears, it doesn’t even matter that what you’re saying is really boring. Ideally you want to aim for the breathy ‘oh my god I’m so overwhelmed’ tears, rather than a full on snot-fest, so take your cry-style into account on this one.
So, a huge good luck to everyone who’s nominated this awards season, and remember it’s the taking part that counts. (Well, just keep telling yourself that…)
Sophie Cousens’ debut novel How to Get Ahead in Television has been nominated for a RoNA in the Romantic Comedy category. On the 7th March she will be attempting the ‘Magnanimous Jaw Clench’.