Next week... ooh, let's say Tuesday... Naples plays host to the 40th Annual Awards for Excellence in Television and Film. Otherwise known as 'The Plinthies', the event is one of the most hotly anticipated in the industry and is so called because winners take home a Golden Plinth. Originally the organisers gave out statuettes but in 1979 these were stolen on the night before the ceremony. All that the thief left behind were the wooden plinths that they stood on, so it was decided to spray them gold and give them out instead - the thinking being that if two great sporting nations can fight tooth and nail over the possession of a burnt cricket bail, then some unbearably pretentious actor will be more than happy with a small disc of wood covered in shiny paint. This reasoning proved correct and the tradition of handing out a Golden Plinth continues to this day.
Despite the underwhelming character of the trophy, the real prize is to be recognised in one of the most prestigious and highly-regarded occasions of its kind. The awards typically eschew the glitz and glamour of other, more frivolous, ceremonies and instead celebrate genuine technical and artistic merit. Nominees for a Golden Plinth have demonstrated a mastery of their art, showing that hard work and a willingness to innovate can set them above their peers and push forward the boundaries of the medium. For this reason, there is a great deal of speculation about the possible winners and, although organisers have remained tight lipped, this year there is a strong suspicion that the award for Best Tits will go to Gwyneth Paltrow.