It is often important to reflect on all that has come before us. It provides an opportunity for clarity and understanding, a chance to learn from our past and look to our future. In this case, it allows us to wallow in recent history as a means of recognition and admiration.
These are The Oscars of Premier League football 2015/16:
Best Director nominees included Watford’s Quique Sanchez Flores, Tottenham’s Mauricio Pochettino, and Bournemouth’s Eddie Howe but there is no doubt as to who the winner is: Claudio Ranieri. Leicester City’s Commander-in-Chief has orchestrated his band of misfits into a well-oiled 11-piece ensemble capable of playing to any rhythm and any system.
The award for Best Performance could again have gone to Leicester City, or perhaps Diego Costa for manufacturing the sending off of Gabriel when Chelsea faced Arsenal in September. However, the award rightly goes to José Mourinho. It could have been for his masterful skill in leaving Chelsea with 18 points in late December following his dismissal, but his handling of Eva Carneiro is the primary reason for the award.
Mourinho sought to divert criticism and attention from his lost dressing room so fabricated a scandal in which Dr Carneiro was the begrudging victim. Legal action is ongoing and looks to have no end in sight, yet it remains testament to Mourinho’s ability to manipulate the media for his own ends.
Best Actor is often a sought after award and in the Premier League it continues to be a hotly contested category. Mezut Özil of Arsenal, Juan Carlos Parades of Watford, Diego Costa of Hell, and Ashley Young were all vying for this coveted prize. Nevertheless, for reasons entirely paradoxical to his competitors, the award goes to Mezut Özil. Whilst the other three have spectacularly executed dramatic performances on the pitch, he has remained a cool and calm master of deceit, for he has had us all fooled. Ozil is as much a footballer than Nutella is a sustainable substitute for fossil fuels. Ozil’s performance as Dory in Finding Nemo was superb and the sequel is much anticipated.
The Premier League always struggles to find female protagonists, yet Best Actress was only ever going to be Eva Carneiro this season. Born in 1973 and from Gibraltar, the British doctor found herself in the headlines due to the very public shaming from José Mourinho for treating Eden Hazard in the dying minutes of a 2-2 draw with Swansea City. Carneiro was a pawn in his expertly manufactured deflection. She has rightly refused to lie down and continues to fight Chelsea and Mourinho for wrongful dismissal. A deserved winner.
Best Picture also has one outstanding performance: that of Bournemouth versus Everton at the end of November. The match finished three-a-piece but Everton will forever be wondering how.
Everton found themselves two goals up after 36 minutes with Lukaku finding the net, yet all the drama was saved for the last ten minutes plus stoppage time. Smith and Stanislas had seemingly stolen a point for the Cherries with goals in the 80th and 87th minutes, respectively. But Everton hit back five minutes into added time with Ross Barkley hitting the ball on the spin to send the Toffees fans into disarray. Little did they know that there was more to come. In the 98th minute, Charlie Daniels found himself on the left side of the 18-yard box and delivered a chipped cross onto the head of Junior Stanislas, who duly put the ball past a bewildered Tim Howard.
Best Foreign Player goes to Odion Ighalo. Riyad Mahrez will feel cheated from this one but Ighalo takes the accolade due to bias from the judges.
Best Original Screenplay—Leicester City. Vardy is already being approached about movie deals and questions only remain on who will play him: Johnny Depp, Brad Pitt and Eddie Redmayne are all in the running but it is the story of Leicester City’s rise to prominence that has kept the audience on the edge of their seats. Can they fulfil their destiny?
Best Animation—Louis van Gaal. Jabba the Hutt impersonators are few and far between but van Gaal has expanded his act to include looking like a caricature of himself.
Best Costume Design—Watford FC may have the most eye-catching kit this season, but the award goes to whoever disguised Emile Heskey as Danny Graham. Actually, that’s harsh on Heskey, who scored 144 Premier League goals during his 18-year reign, whilst Danny Graham scored only a single goal at Sunderland.
Best Visual Effects would normally be a difficult award to determine, however this season has seen more than a few light displays in the stands. Whatever your view on these new additions to the stadium environment, it is a unique and impressive spectacle to behold. Nevertheless, there is one outstanding victor: Middlesborough’s illumination of Old Trafford back in the League Cup in October. It was a moving show of solidarity for North-East Steel Workers as the 10,000 strong following pushed the industry’s steady decline into the literal and metaphorical spotlight. The display was prompted by the closure of the SSI Steel Plant in Redcar.
Best Storyline—Jamie Vardy. Having started out at Sheffield Wednesday, Vardy was released at 16. He went on to play at Stocksbridge Park Steels in 2010 for £30-a-week, before the bright lights of Halifax Town came calling in the Northern Premier League. Finishing with 27 goals in his first full season, Vardy soon moved on to Fleetwood Town. Leicester City and Nigel Pearson of the Championship were his final destination and he has since made his England debut and broken records in the Premier League. There is no doubt that this will make an incredible screenplay and film one day, but the story continues to develop and the protagonist will still feel he has much to accomplish.
So there you have it.
Revere them, fear them, do as you please. Just remember that it all means very little in the grand scheme of things as Arsenal will always finish fourth, Newcastle fans will always be protesting, and no-one ever likes Millwall.