I was very excited to see a film called Manchester by the Sea be nominated for so many Oscars this year. I spent a lot of time in Manchester in my youth, it is one of my favourite places in the north of England.
So I was quite disappointed to discover that the Manchester they are referring to in this film about family tragedy is in fact Manchester, Massachusetts. But despite this particular film having little to do with Britain, quite a few of the others who are set to win Academy Awards this Sunday are. Rogue One
(like the rest of the new Star Wars films) was shot in the UK, as was Doctor Strange
, Florence Foster Jenkins
and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (Britain, obviously).
And there are also nominated British stars like Dev Patel, for journey-of-discovery Lion
- he was born in London, England (not to be confused with London, Ohio). And there is Spiderman star Andrew Garfield, playing a combat medic in Hacksaw Ridge
, who although was born in Los Angeles, grew up in Epsom in Surrey just outside of London (not to be confused with Epsom, New Hampshire).
Epsom is famous for hosting one of the biggest horse racing events in Britain, the Derby, for Epsom Salts (or magnesium sulphate and used for bath salts) and also for being where I was born and grew up (so not so famous, perhaps).
There is also Naomie Harris, nominated for Moonlight
, but better known (at least to us) as the Miss Moneypenny to Daniel Craig’s James Bond in the last two films of the long-running British spy franchise.
But there are also plenty of Brits lurking brilliantly behind the camera – with nominees for categories as diverse as costume design, sound mixing (on potential Oscar sweeping La La Land
), production design and visual effects. We also have nominations in the best documentary short category.
Of course we are hoping for a strong night of British victories on Sunday at the Oscars, but we have already had a great awards season. This time of year in Los Angeles is always particularly special, with the stars who don’t live here jetting in and filling the city with chance encounters that the tourists love and the locals get used to – Samuel L Jackson in CVS, Steven Spielberg in Starbucks, Jessica Alba at my kids’ playground.
It broadly starts in October with the Britannias – a celebration of talent by BAFTA (the British Film and Television Academy) – which saw the likes of Jodie Foster and Felicity Jones honored by the likes of Jennifer Lawrence and Tom Hanks.
Then there is the usual Game of Thrones
(shot in Northern Ireland, starring all manner of Brits) winning at the Golden Globes, this year supported by The Crown
– telling the story of our Queen – winning its fair share.
Switching to music, at the Grammys there was a British host (James Corden) and British performances (Ed Sheeran) and British winners – David Bowie and Adele, although she did appear to give her a final trophy away to American royalty, Beyonce.
We are by no means suggesting we are necessarily better at films, music and TV than our American friends but we are certainly very good both on our own and at collaborating (another aspect to the #SpecialRelationship that exists between our two countries).
We will be celebrating our British Oscars success, as we always do, with a pre-Oscars event. While celebrating our nominees and our ability to make movies - we will also be celebrating our ability to make wine (by drinking Ridgeview) and to make cool VR experiences (Laduma will be doing red carpet VR) and to make transatlantic flights smooth and comfortable (with British Airways and American Airlines).
So good luck to everyone on Sunday – including Sting (from Wallsend, Northumberland, not to be confused with Wallsend, Kentucky) for his original song nomination for Jim: The James Foley Story
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