Most people send out cards between Thanksgiving and New Year's because they think that is the holiday season. But every movie fanatic knows that the holidays really start at the beginning of awards show season. And it all kicks off this weekend with the Golden Globes.
The Golden Globes are the biggest, glitziest booze fest that brings together stars of film and television. So dust off those tuxedos, get out your Jenny Packham dresses and drape yourself in Harry Winston diamonds because it’s award season and black tie is not optional.
Like a red carpet in a sea of black ties, brands look to stand out this time of year. And we don’t just mean designers and luxury goodie bag fillers. Every actor also has a personal brand. And actors are given the chance to showcase it every time they sashay on stage for an acceptance speech.
They may convey their unique brand personalities and individual voices in the tone of their speeches and the way they communicate. Often, they use this platform for personal messaging as well. Sometimes, winners will deliver politically charged acceptance speeches or highlight a social cause related to their films' themes. Think Sean Penn for Milk.
So, while everyone else out there is making predictions about who will be going home a winner, we decided to take it a step further. We wanted to predict not only the winner, but to try to imagine the voice and messaging of those who might take home a trophy on Sunday. What will they say? How might they say it? Sure, the people we would love to see win might not go home with gold, but even if they lose, they’ll still look really fabulous.
Let’s start with Tom Hanks, nominated for a Best Actor Golden Globe for his incredible performance in Captain Phillips. On Twitter this award show veteran’s voice is playful, engaging and unpredictable. It’s not a surprising brand voice from Mr. Hanks, and it is one that makes whomever he’s speaking to really feel like they are a part of his life.
So when we went back to look at past acceptance speeches, we were surprised to see that the voice of the Tom Hanks we know and love on Twitter didn’t come across at all. His Oscar speech for Philadelphia was lackluster, the first three minutes were very functional, running through a laundry list of industry folk he wanted to thank. Overall, his brand voice was fairly bland. But then his message rose to the surface, concluding with a moving speech about the devastation of AIDS, elevating the message of the film. When he accepted for Forest Gump, his speech felt very generic, lacking any sort of individuality.
However, we predict this year, should he win, Tom will speak and act in line with his recent rebrand via Twitter because everyone knows a good brand is a brand with a consistent voice. Moreover, in the decades since those wins, Tom has come into his own and created a more authentic, confident voice that shall rise to the top. Fingers crossed we find out on Sunday!
Moving on to another red carpet regular, Sandra Bullock. After years of playing less than meaty roles and establishing a relatable girl-next-door personal brand, Sandra burst onto the awards circuit in 2010 with Golden Globe and Oscar wins for her powerful performance in The Blind Side.
In both of her acceptance speeches, self-deprecation (Did I really earn this or did I just wear y’all down?) and a sprinkling of playful wit (Meryl – you know what I think of you… and you’re such a good kisser) helped her stay true to her brand and only increased her likeability. She also linked her film’s themes of family and motherhood with her own personal messages of gratitude for her loved ones, all while consistently conveying a down-to-earth sense of humor. Should Sandra win for Gravity this weekend, we’re confident she will show us that engaging balance of accessibility and sincerity that will keep us rooting for her as awards season rolls on.
Now, continuing on the topic of likeable ladies, let’s look to the younger generation. Jennifer Lawrence tripped her way up the stairs and into America’s (and apparently, film critics’) hearts at last year’s Oscars. Since then, the J.Law brand has only grown stronger. Known for her easy attitude and rather blunt brand voice, Lawrence refreshingly tells it like it is with an approachability that wins over audiences.
But, Jennifer also demonstrated a bold confidence that set her apart when she opened her Golden Globes speech with “What does it say? I beat Meryl?” Like Sandra, Jennifer also balanced self-deprecation (Harvey – thank you for killing whoever you had to kill to get me up here today) with authentic and personal expressions of gratitude to the people that helped her get on that stage.
Her acceptance speech at last year’s Oscars was heartfelt, but not quite as humorous as at the Golden Globes, which makes sense given the more formal atmosphere and the fact that she had just taken a rather embarrassing tumble. If she wins a Golden Globe for her supporting role in American Hustle this weekend, we predict she’ll maintain her sincerity but sprinkle in a little more sass.
One actor who’s a bit of a wild card in the acceptance speech category is Bradley Cooper, nominated for Best Supporting Actor for American Hustle. Snubbed last year for both the Oscar and Golden Globe for Silver Linings Playbook, we haven’t seen him on stage accepting an award at a major show yet. And as a celebrity, he doesn’t have a clearly defined personal brand (No, 2011 Sexiest Man Alive doesn’t count) – which may partially be a result of the diversity of roles he takes on.
We took a look at his acceptance speech for his 2013 MTV Movie Award for Best Male Performance to get a sense of what we might have in store. Interestingly, at one of the most casual award shows out there, Bradley didn’t capitalize on the opportunity to showcase a unique sense of humor or witty charm. Instead he used his speech solely as a platform to message a profoundly serious call to action regarding posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Looking ahead to this weekend’s Golden Globes, given that Bradley’s role in American Hustle may not have an obvious link to a social issue or personal cause, this acceptance speech may be an opportunity for him to bring his personal brand to life a bit more, and we hope we get the chance to hear it.
Another regular on the award show circuit is Veep’s Julia Louis-Dreyfus, nominated for Best Actress in a Comedy. When we looked back on her win in 1994 for Seinfeld, we weren’t impressed. Much like Tom Hanks, her acceptance speech lacked pizazz. While she had no clear voice, she did have a distinct message of gratitude, thanking everyone she’s ever met.
Compare that to her Emmy acceptance speech last September. Before the ceremony she and Tony Hale, who plays her body man on the HBO show, came up with a bit. In Veep, his character carries around her purse and tells her things about the people she’s meeting. So fans were delighted to see him follow Julia up on stage to accept her award, dutifully walking behind her, holding her bag and feeding her lines for her speech. It was hilarious and a speech people were talking about for weeks after. Major coup! It demonstrated her ability to stay true to the brand of her character in the show and allowed her to showcase her voice. We hope she wins so we can see what she will come up with next.
These five favorites might not even make it up on stage on Sunday, but we’re looking forward to seeing what the big winners have to say. Will they stay true to their personal brands? Will there be surprises that will keep tongues wagging for weeks to come? We’ll report back post-show to see how we fared with our predictions and to give our perspective on the ultimate Globe-holders’ words of winning.
Sarah McLaughlin is a Senior Consultant and Tori Miner is an Associate Director, Verbal Identity, at Interbrand New York.