Thu, Jan 16, 2014 - Page 12 News List

Courting controversy

Not everyone welcomed Woody Allen’s Lifetime Achievement award — particularly Mia and Ronan Farrow. So is it OK to praise his work?

By Hadley Freeman  /  The Guardian

Allen’s persona and life have always been a major part of his work. Every actor who plays the lead in an Allen film sounds like they’re doing an Allen impression — even Cate Blanchett has his staccato rhythms in Blue Jasmine — and this difficulty was obvious on Sunday night. In the long montage of Allen films at the Golden Globes, Mia Farrow was completely, awkwardly omitted and movies which look, in retrospect, decidedly weird were barely shown, such as Hannah and her Sisters (in which a young Soon-Yi appears) and Manhattan (although Mariel Hemingway, who played Allen’s schoolgirl lover, gave a cheery wave to the camera from the audience during the homage). Even Blue Jasmine can be read as a dig at Farrow, seeing as it’s about a self-obsessed blond woman who discovers her husband is having an affair with a teenager and vengefully destroys her family, including their adopted child. Diane Keaton did not help matters by accepting Allen’s award with a long speech about how great Allen is to actresses — other than the one he had a long relationship and children with, presumably — and finished by singing a creepily childish song about friendship. Keaton might have made life easier for herself, and Allen, if she’d stuck to praising the work. But then, that is difficult when it comes to Allen.

Allen is legally innocent and therefore deserving of all celebrations people send his way. But seeing as he has never been interested in awards, it was hard not to feel that the Foreign Press Association might have done him a bigger favor by leaving him be and letting him quietly get on with his work and his life. It is totally OK to celebrate Woody Allen, but that doesn’t mean you have to.

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