Monday, May 2, 2011

Melbourne does its best Hollywood imitation with the 2011 TV WEEK Logie Awards

Prince William and Kate Middleton are so last Friday -- and for me, not even.

Though I'm usually not one to resist indulging in televised pomp and circumstance, one royal wedding in a lifetime (Charles and Diana's in 1981) is enough for me, thank you. Not only did I sit out the nuptials on April 29, I've yet to see a photo of Kate's dress or any other wedding pics. That means I still can't weigh in on whether she's too skinny or if this veil I keep hearing about did the ensemble any justice or if the bridesmaids were actually better dressed than the bride.

I did get my fix of white this weekend (it's the new black, you know), courtesy of all the white frocks crowding the red carpet at the 2011 TV WEEK Logie Awards on May 1 at the Crown complex in Melbourne. I may have skipped William and Kate's big day, but no way was I going to miss this. And since I was supposed to meet up with TV WEEK's editor-in-chief while she was in Melbourne for the event, I figured it was my duty as an entertainment journalist and pop culturist to tune in.

My friend Jayden said that the Logies are to Australia what the Emmys are to the U.S., but after watching them, I beg to differ slightly. The Daytime Emmys are more like it. There were only a few people there who actually act sprinkled among the stars of talk shows, cooking shows, lifestyle shows and reality shows. (No wonder Aussie thespians are invading Hollywood -- apparently, there's little work for them back home!) "There are more chefs in the audience than there are in the kitchen," the host joked at the beginning, and he may have been right. There were probably fewer actors, too!

That's probably why they pitted three TV presenters/hosts against three actresses for the Gold Logie, the biggest prize of the night. And that Logie went to... Today co-host Karl Stefanovic, who, for some mysterious-to-me reason was like the most popular kid in school, the Jack Nicholson of the Logies. More category confusion: Considering the small scale of scripted programming, why is there a need for Most Popular Actor/Actress and Most Outstanding Actor/Actress? Perhaps it's like the difference between the People's Choice Awards and the Golden Globes, whose table-seating and free-flowing booze set-up the Logies resembled. Movie, miniseries and series stars competed against each other, and with no supporting categories, all stars, apparently, are created equal Down Under.

But minor gripes aside, I'm glad I watched. The musical entertainment -- Katy Perry, Maroon 5 and Jessie J -- was pretty A-list, and I feel like I now have a tighter grasp on Australian pop culture. Though the home-grown dramatic pickings are relatively slim, there's more to Aussie TV than retro U.S. programs, Neighbours and Home and Away. Underbelly and Sisters of War, in particular, appear to be as good as any recently acclaimed HBO and Showtime offerings, and I'm sure it's only a matter of weeks before Underbelly and Offspring join recent U.S. arrivals Family Guy and The Big Bang Theory on my ever-growing list of must-see TV series.

I'll also be tuning in to Offspring just to admire the beauty and talent of Most Popular Actress winner Asher Keddie (above, left). The triple nominee lost Most Outstanding Actress to Sisters of War's Claire van der Boom, for whom costar Sarah Snook, who looks sort of like a young Tilda Swinton, accepted. Never heard of any of them? No worries. It's probably just a matter of time before Hollywood offers start flooding their inboxes. They'll be coming soon to the Globes, the Emmys, maybe even the Oscars. And when they do, don't forget, you read it here first.
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