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Film prizes are usually a bloated mess, and encourage vacuous criticism. Here's what we should really be celebrating from the last 12 months of film

By Mark Cousins   February 2009

International film prizes are given throughout the year but the biggies in the Anglophone world—the Baftas, the Golden Globes, the Oscars—are crammed into the new year and early spring.

Inevitably, a kind of group-think emerges. The Golden Globes’ results influence voting for the Oscars, as does the Bafta gong list. The resulting advertising campaigns for prestige pictures like The Reader, Revolutionary Road, Milk and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button create a gold rush for the trade press. Industry rags triple in size, swollen with brazen claims for often modest movies. Everything is a “must see,” an “all-time great”—an elephantiasis…

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