The Tribal Mind
- Follow our Logies blog from 7pm
- Gold Logie nominee Essie Davis in awe of alter ego's style
- Why the Logies taken are so seriously
- The art of writing good jokes for Logies hosts
A lump of gold may not be full compensation for your lover being killed by a car as you are about to give birth, but it's got to help. That's why Asher Keddie is most likely to take out the Gold Logie for a second time in the ceremony broadcast on Channel Nine tonight.
The other nominees for the title of most popular personality on TV (aka The Gold Logie) – Andy Lee, Essie Davis, Carrie Bickmore, Scott Cam and Steve Peacocke – did not face the same acting challenges as Keddie.
Favourite: Matthew Le Nevez and Asher Keddie in Offspring. Photo: John Tsiavis
Her lover, played by Matthew Le Nevez, was violently written out of the series, Offspring, so he could star in the ABC drama Parer's War.
The Logies involve two kinds of awards – the most outstandings (voted by industry professionals) and the most populars (voted by anybody who wants to log on to the website). It's the second group of voters who are deciding Keddie's fate tonight and they'll want to reward her for moving them to tears in last year's final episode.
Of course, their votes might have been swamped by the secret efforts of publicists for the competing networks. We just never know and that's the perennial credibility problem of the most popular Logies.
Mandy McElhinney (left) and Rachel Griffiths in Paper Giants: Magazine Wars. Photo: Ben King
But there are issues with the most outstanding awards too. The categories don't make sense. Australians love comedy and we're very good at writing it and performing it. So why don't the Logies have a category that honours comedy?
The nearest they get to it is a category called "Most Outstanding Light Entertainment", which this year contains these nominations: The Voice, Housos, It's a Date, Please Like Me and Upper Middle Bogan. You may wonder what the hell The Voice is doing in the same category as Upper Middle Bogan. Comparing a talent quest with a sitcom is not so much apples and oranges as apples and sausages. Even if you exclude The Voice, where is Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell and Ja'mie: Private School Girl?
But you can't exclude The Voice from "Light Entertainment" because there's nowhere else for it to go. The Logies have no peer-voted category for the hard work of those who construct talent quests such as The Voice, The X-Factor, Australia's Got Talent, My Kitchen Rules, The Block and MasterChef – even though they're the favourite TV entertainment for most Australian viewers.
Chris Lilley in Ja'mie: Private School Girl.
Some of those titles are nominated in the "Most Popular" categories, but they do not function as an encouragement to raise industry standards.
There is a clear case for category reform.
Even so, let's take a stab at predicting how tonight's main awards will go ...
Hamish Blake. Photo: Getty Images
■ For Outstanding Drama Series, the nominations are A Place to Call Home, Offspring, Redfern Now, The Time of Our Lives and Wentworth. If it were based on ratings, A Place to Call Home would win easily, but the industry snobs tend to write it off as a soap. Based on heavyweights in the cast, The Time of Our Lives would win. But my bet is they'll give it to Offspring because the writers killed off that key character.
■ For Outstanding Miniseries or Telemovie, the nominations are An Accidental Soldier, Better Man, Paper Giants: Magazine Wars, Power Games: The Packer-Murdoch Story and Top of the Lake. Foxtel's Top of the Lake had seriousness (and international sales), but it is terminally slow. I think they will give the award to Paper Giants: Magazine Wars because the voters work in the media.
■ Continuing the passion for Packer, Outstanding Actress will go to Mandy McElhinney (who played Nene King in Paper Giants), I expect, while Outstanding Actor will go to Lachy Hulme (for playing Kerry's father Frank in Power Games).
■ Most Popular Presenter should go to Hamish Blake because he's the funniest out of a list of nominees that includes Scott Cam, Carrie Bickmore, Adam Hills and Andy Lee.
Find out how wrong those predictions are at 8pm on Sunday, when the Logies start on Nine.
Talk of the town
We know Martin Freeman can play a romantic paper-shuffler (The Office), a shy porno stand-in (Love Actually), a brave doctor (Sherlock) and a reluctant dragon fighter (The Hobbit). What we will learn on Thursday is that he can also do a heck of a Swedish-American accent.
Freeman stars in Fargo, a mini-series vaguely related to the Coen Brothers movie that won Oscars for best screenplay and best actress in 1997. Freeman plays Lester Nygaard, a mild-mannered Minnesotan tempted into a life of crime by a satanic visitor played by Billy Bob Thornton.
Minnesota was settled in the mid-19th century by pilgrims from Sweden so it has a particular way of speaking. Freeman listened to recordings of Minnesotans and found it wasn't just a matter of regularly inserting "Aw gees" and "Oh yah" and "Ah heck".
"What I wanted to do was not, definitely not, do a caricature and definitely not do something that was just comic or a way of going 'Oh aren't these people funny?' kind of thing,'' he told a phone conference.
''I worked very hard on the accent because I didn't want it to be like a comedy sketch. I wasn't playing an accent. I was playing a character who happened to speak like that and to be from that place.
"I think Lester is pretty universal. There are Lesters everywhere in every race and walk of life and country. There are people who are sort of downtrodden and people who are underconfident and all that, so that was more a case of tapping into that in myself, really."
Freeman signed up for the series on the strength of one pilot script and a promise that the story would be limited to 10 episodes. "In all the 10 episodes I get to play pretty much the whole gamut of human existence and human feeling.'' Freeman said. "That's exactly what you want to do as an actor. And [screenwriter Noah Hawley] treads that line very well between drama and comedy and the light and dark.''
Fargo starts on Thursday at 9.30pm on SBS1.
Envelopes, please ...
The strangeness of the Logies (see above) was why this column, way back in 2007, started an alternative awards system called The Bogies, designed to let readers vent their spleens on the networks.
We thank the 130 readers who took the time to vote in The Bogie Awards 2014. Here are the main results:
■ Smuggest talent quest judge: The runners up are Shaynna Blaze (The Block); Pete Evans (My Kitchen Rules); and Alex Perry (Australia's Next Top Model). The winner is Kyle Sandilands (Australia's Got Talent).
■ Network most contemptuous of viewers: The runners-up are Foxtel, Ten and Seven. And the winner is Nine. Readers noted Nine's achievements in last-minute schedule changes and running programs overtime. Ten did get special mention for having the worst catch-up service.
■ Least real "Reality" show: Please Marry My Boy (Seven); Beauty and the Geek (Seven); The Real Housewives of Melbourne (Arena). The winner is The Bachelor Australia (Ten).
■ Most insidious use of breasts to exploit viewers' base instincts: Girls; Game of Thrones; Sunrise. The winner is Fat Tony & Co.
■ Most over-exposed: Kerry Packer; Stephen Fry; Rhonda in the AAMI ads. The winner is My Kitchen Rules.
■ Most under-rated: Clarke and Dawe; Orphan Black; The Good Wife. The winner is The Checkout (ABC1).
■ Furthest past use-by date: Top Gear; CSI; Dancing With the Stars. The Bert Newton Trophy goes to Two and a Half Men.
■ The Black Bogie: Karl Stefanovic; Eddie McGuire; David Koch. And the Sandilands Chalice goes to Andrew Bolt.
For full results and voting details, see The Tribal Mind.