Welcome to the Urchies! The Golden Globes had Ricky Gervais, the Oscars had Anne Hathaway and James Franco, but the Urchies have….
Three hosts for the price of free! Amazing! We are all so excited about this year’s awards. Thanks so much to everyone who voted! But for the last time, you can’t vote for yourself (James. Stop calling. We’re still upset about Sunday. Although we do accept bribes. Like chocolate.)
Without further ado, here are your 2011 Urchie Award winners!
Book of the Year
The newest book from everyone’s favourite expat, At Home is a testament to quirky interest and ambitious, dedicated research. After exploring, well, pretty much everything in A Short History of Nearly Everything, Bryson now turns to his personal abode in England to examine the histories of the everyday objects that surround him. A must read for any history buff, Anglophile, or lover of fun facts and quick wit.
Life of Crime edited by Pat Nolan and Steve Lavoie
I Hotel by Karen Tei Yamashita
Grounded by Seth Stevenson
Punching Out by Paul Clemens
Urchin Travel Destination of the Year (excluding London)
After our joy trip/extended board meeting in New York last September, we pretty much unanimously decided to never leave. Unfortunately our day jobs had different plans. But we’ll be back, New York! Just you wait! Your theatre, bustling streets, bookstores with 18 miles of books, and delicious vegan food at every turn make you virtually irresistible to the Urchin.
Hawaii’s Big Island
Exemplary Human Being
The Daily Show is perhaps the most influential show for our generation. It is certainly one of the best. Stewart uses spot-on humour to draw attention to political and social news and discussions. This past fall, Stewart brought together hundreds of thousands of people for the Rally to Restore Sanity. Yes, it was funny, but it also had a very serious and important message. Additionally, Stewart’s coverage of the 9/11 responders issue was extremely influential in the passing of the bill. Stewart also authored the side-splittingly hilarious books America (The Book): A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction (which Geo and Sarah once spent three hours reading cover to cover at a pub in the English countryside) and Earth (The Book): A Visitor’s Guide to the Human Race. Stewart has wit, class, and genius-level comedic timing. Watch full episodes of The Daily Show here.
Film of the Year
We might be a tad biased here. You see, The King’s Speech takes place in England. Urchins are programmed by nature to immediately love all things British. Therefore, while we really enjoyed Blue Valentine and Black Swan, our hands were pretty much tied. The King’s Speech had to win. In all seriousness, though, this film exhibits masterful acting by Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter, as well as exquisite cinematography. But would you expect anything less from the Brits?
Best Performance by an Actress
Within minutes of the film’s opening sequence it is clear that Black Swan is Natalie Portman’s best performance to date. It is also the best performance by an actress in a film this year. As the young ballerina Nina Sayers, Portman embodies a people-pleasing perfectionist with the utmost truthfulness and vulnerability. Portman’s extensive character work is evident throughout her performance. She deserved the Oscar, and she deserves this Urchie.
Michelle Williams in Blue Valentine
Marion Cotillard in Inception
Best Performance by an Actor
Colin Firth is an incredible actor and person. Both characteristics shine through in this outstanding performance. We are so pleased this film is finally affording Firth all the praise and recognition he has always deserved.
James Franco in 127 Hours
Andrew Garfield in The Social Network
Throughout The Social Network, Sarah kept thinking how badly she would like to be friends with the impossibly quick-witted and intelligent Mark Zuckerberg. Then she realized that all those retorts were actually crafted by Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin’s writing is biting, concise, and sets the tone for the entire film. The Social Network didn’t win the Oscar for Best Picture, but Sorkin did win for writing, which is exactly where this excellent film deserved recognition.
Blue Valentine by Derek Cianfrance, Cami Delavigne, and Joey Curtis
Inception by Christopher Nolan
Best TV Show
We’ll admit it. We’re pretty hard to impress. After the genius of Arrested Development, everything else just seems to fall short. Because of this, 30 Rock had to grow on us. In season one, there were enough funny bits to keep us around, but too many flopped jokes to let slide. But we stuck with it and boy are we glad! Sure, the occasional joke still falls short, but there’s plenty to make up for it. Alec Baldwin is an indisputable god. Tina Fey is a feminist icon. And then there’s Kenneth Ellen.
Musical Artist/Band of the Year
Some people (mis)construe all their songs to be about sex. It’s beautiful music, baby-making or otherwise. Oh, and they’re British.
Florence and the Machine
Justin Townes Earle
Song of the Year
Tightrope by Yeasayer
Haunting and perfect for hippie-dancing and twirling (Sarah’s top two song-liking criteria). And they’re not British! Ha! Gotcha! Although, their label’s name (Secretly Canadian) may or may not have played a part in their win.
Christchurch Woman by Justin Townes Earle
Young Blood by The Naked and Famous
Briton of the Year
In addition to delivering this year’s best film performance by an actor, in 2009 Firth and his wife Livia founded Brightwide.com, ‘a new site featuring the best of social and political cinema, where you can watch films, learn more about the issues at their heart and take action, all in one place. Brightwide uses cutting-edge content to fuel activism and give social and political cinema a tangible impact.’ Firth and Livia also opened Eco-Age, a West London shoppe offering fair trade and eco-friendly goods, as well as energy efficiency consulting.
In 2000, Firth authored The Department of Nothing, which appeared in Speaking with the Angel, a book benefiting the autistic children’s charity the TreeHouse Trust. In 2009, Firth contributed to We Are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples, a book exploring the world’s diverse cultures whose sales benefited the indigenous rights organisation Survival International, of which Firth is a long time supporter. He is actively involved in a campaign protecting asylum seekers from deportation. Firth is also Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign, which brings awareness to fair trade and labour issues. Is there anything Firth doesn’t do? He is the ultimate Urchinspiration.
This lovely New York restaurant combines unbelievable food with compassion and a dreamy, ethereal atmosphere. On a warm evening, the sparkly tree-laden back patio is an oasis in the bustling city. The cuisine is gourmet vegan. Whether you try something new and adventurous or sample their take on a classic, you won’t be disappointed.
Busboys & Poets in Washington, D.C.
Rockhill Bakehouse in Glens Falls, NY
Animal of the Year
It’s a tie! Chumly the pony and Zac the dog received an equal number of votes from the Urchademy. Because we don’t want Gus the dog to feel bad, here are all their cute pictures again!
Best High Noon Picture
With 70% of the votes, your choice for Best High Noon Picture was…
Margaret as Geo!
Well, that’s the show, folks! Thanks for tuning in. Congratulations to all the winners. See you next year!