Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the 100th Annual Golden Gobbler Awards. Tonight we will be taking a retrospective look at the role of food on the silver screen, from iconic gastronomic moments to the gross-out scenes we’d all rather forget … Good luck to all our nominees, and may the menus be forever in your favour.
BEST RESTAURANT DATE AWARD
Runner Up: Lady and the Tramp (1955)
If you were a young man (or dog) from the wrong side of the tracks and lacking proper documentation declaring your legitimacy as a migrant, the food-scrap littered and rat poo sprinkled back alley behind an Italian restaurant probably wasn’t the finest choice for a first date with the spoiled princess from uptown. Also, if you’re going to share a main, stick to something that requires a fork. Unexpectedly meeting in the middle of a shared strand of spaghetti is precisely why I’m not on Tinder any more.
WINNER: PRETTY WOMAN (1990)
At the other end of the fine-dining scale are Julia Roberts, her ‘slippery little suckers’ and a generation of teenage girls who learned you can take the hooker out of the crackhouse and lead her to a fancy restaurant, but you can’t force her to eat escargot without flinging it into the laps of neighbouring diners.
THE DON’T PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD AWARD
Runner Up: Gold Rush (1925)
Charlie Chaplin, godfather of pantomime, his pair of forks and dancing dinner rolls are a classic moment in silent cinema, and also serve to remind us why talking pictures became so swiftly popular when they were invented two years later.
WINNER: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND (1977)
There’s a peculiar intensity that Roy wears on his face, his offensively moist tongue sticking out just a little bit as he sculpts the alien tower haunting his visions with his side of mashed potato. While his kids look on with undisguised mystification bordering on alarm, wondering if Dad has finally cracked, I do think his wife could have stepped in and at least offered him some gravy or mushroom sauce to go with it.
THE PEPSI-COLA BRAND AWARD FOR SHAMELESS PRODUCT PLACEMENT
Runner Up: Back to the Future 1 & 2 (1985/89)
As a major financer of the movie trilogy, Pepsi was the beverage of choice for time-travelling hero Marty McFly, giving the company the opportunity to indulge in a bit of nostalgia in the first film with retro 1950s bottles, then conceptualise an incredibly silly-looking yet undeniably futuristic upside-down glass cylinder for the second film. The joke was on them though as the third movie was set in the Wild West. No amount of willing suspension of disbelief was going to get Pepsi plausibly stocked in an 1850s saloon.
WINNER: ET THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL (1981)
When Mars, Inc. were approached for permission to use M&Ms in a film about an alien who befriends a little boy, the CEO politely said no. Perhaps the mashed potato bit from Spielberg’s last flick was still fresh in his mind, but more the fool him. Reese’s Pieces were used instead, and within two weeks of the film’s release the candy’s sales had trebled, with some distributors reporting a tenfold increase in demand and knock-on brand promotion worth $20 million.
BILL & TED’S EXCELLENT FLASHBACK AWARD
Runner Up: Lion (2016)
In a totally Marcel Proust, nibble-on-your-biscuit kind of way, adopted Aussie Saroo bites down on a sweet jalebi at a dinner party, sparking a rush of lost memories of his childhood in India and thus inspiring a lonely search for his lost family. If only Iced VoVos possessed such hallucinogenic properties.
WINNER: RATATOUILLE (2007)
Let’s forget for a wee moment that this feature actively encourages small children to accept a rodent-infested kitchen as the norm. Food critic Anton Ego’s flashback to his childhood in the French countryside as he bites into the eponymous dish inspires the perfect amount of grown up nostalgia mixed with childish HA HA IN YOUR FACE smugness that he was as wrong about rat chefs as he was about Gusteau’s.
THE NY DELI AWARD FOR BEST LONG LUNCH
Runner Up: When Harry Met Sally (1989)
We’re all familiar with the endlessly parodied fake orgasm scene and the famous ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ line that follows, but did you know that the orgasm lady at the next table was the director’s mother? I mean, Rob Reiner knew his ma wanted a bit more than her very own Reuben sandwich didn’t he? DIDN’T HE?
WINNER: THE BREAKFAST CLUB (1985)
Though no breakfast was actually consumed during the making of this film (or maybe there was, who’s to know what happened when the cameras stopped rolling), the only scene involving food serves to underscore the stereotypes the students represent, right down to Bender’s rebellious rage; he picks on the others as he has no lunch of his own. Also, let the record show that if I were a sandwich I’d be white bread, Cap’n Crunch and Pixy Stix.
THE ARETHA FRANKLIN MEMORIAL AWARD FOR MOST IMPROBABLE CRAVING
Runner Up: Pulp Fiction (1994)
You have to allow for inflation here to understand why the Five Dollar Shake was such an astounding notion at the time of release. So imagine handing over say twenty or thirty bucks and receiving a milkshake topped with whipped cream, a glistening maraschino cherry and Uma Thurman sucking seductively on the other end of the straw and I think you’ll agree (in the words of Vincent Vega) that that’s a pretty effing good milkshake.
WINNER: THE BLUES BROTHERS (1980)
‘The tall one wants white toast, dry, with nothin’ on it. And the short one wants four whole fried chickens and a Coke.’ Aretha was right to look perplexed as she jotted the order down in her notepad with a pencil moments before busting out her iconic Think number, but apparently she did serve the best damned chicken in the state.
MOB AWARD FOR CULTURAL STEREOTYPES
Runner Up: Gone With the Wind (1939)
Featuring African American actors in leading roles long before it was socially acceptable to do so, all the while perpetuating the Negro cook/maid/nanny stereotype, then releasing Mammy’s Gone With the Wind Cookbook (chock full of Southern slaw and gumbo recipes) as a promotional tie-in, it’s hard to decide whether the movie was incredibly progressive or just scraping the bottom of the cultural appropriation barrel … But it was such a rollickingly epic tale, do we really give a damn?
WINNER: GOODFELLAS (1990)
When one thinks of Italians, the first thing that springs to mind is rich, aromatic, home-cooked food. The second is obviously that all Italians are mafia dons. Goodfellas goes next level, the convicted mafia bosses cooking a gourmet dinner in prison, slicing garlic with a razor blade so thin that it ‘used to liquefy in the pan with just a little oil’. That they are allowed razor blades, let alone fresh ingredients, alcohol and drugs, is testament to the power of the bribe.
BIG KAHUNA AWARD FOR BEST DINER
Runner Up: American Graffiti (1973)
Mel’s diner in San Francisco serves as a backdrop to this homage to 50s teen culture, it’s just a shame that the kids in this film are total pricks, particularly the main protagonist who really should have stayed on Happy Days.
WINNER: GREASE (1978)
No use crying over spilled milkshake, the diner in Grease played host to hook-ups, break-ups, hair disasters, crooning visions and more than a few hickies from Kenickie. It served as a focal point to the celebration of teen appetites as much as culture, as the gang gorged on cheeseburgers, fries and apple pies, and on one occasion copped a milkshake right in the kisser.
MOST NOVEL USE OF FOOD FOR NON-FOOD RELATED PURPOSES AWARD
Runner Up: The Wizard of Oz (1939)
If I told you that apple juice was responsible for the fire effect emanating from the Ruby Slippers, or that Tin Man cried chocolate syrup, you’d put me away… But let’s go one better.
WINNER: THE WIZARD OF OZ (1939)
When Dorothy exclaims that she’s never seen a Horse of a Different Colour before and is told rather sharply ‘Of course you haven’t because there’s only one and he’s it’, this is technically a lie. There were multiple horses on set, one for each colour and they were coloured so using… Jell-O crystals. The only problem was they had to film the scenes with incredible haste before the horses in question licked the crystals off.
AWARD FOR FOOD ADVICE THAT REGRETFULLY WASN’T FOLLOWED
Runner Up: Alien (1979)
Technically John Hurt didn’t willingly ingest the alien parasite, but he jolly well knew about it once the indigestion kicked in. Unfortunately for the rest of the cast, they had no idea what was coming in the infamous ‘chestburster’ scene, so their reactions when the xenomorph bursts free are a hundred per cent for real.
WINNER: GREMLINS (1984)
A whole generation of 80s kids grew up knowing that you never, EVER feed a gremlin after midnight, though I have to admit we were all a little curious weren’t we? That is of course until the cute little balls of fluff that popped out of Gizmo’s hoo haa turned into feral hell-beasts and began multiplying.
BEST USE OF FOOD AS A PLOT MOTIVATOR
Runner Up: Willy Wonka (1971)
Cheer up Charlie, the world is made of chocolate and you’re about to become the grand emperor of the whole lot. Roald Dahl’s own experiences with Cadbury as a schoolboy inspired this fantasy, that and the fact that most children are nasty, greedy little turds.
WINNER: JURASSIC PARK (1993)
And back to Jell-O. Lex didn’t so much tremble in terror as bounce about as though her free hand was stuck in a toaster, but the jelly on the spoon scene as the velociraptors (courtesy of David Attenborough’s less impressive brother) approach is iconic nonetheless.
This concludes our broadcast. Many thanks to the nominees, our judges Chippo, Miss Honey, Laverne and Tim, and of course you, the viewers. And don’t forget, heroes drink Pepsi.