First we fell in love with Amelia Dimoldenberg. Now we want her to fall in love with Andrew Garfield – Screen Shot
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First we fell in love with Amelia Dimoldenberg. Now we want her to fall in love with Andrew Garfield

Once considered a pretty obscure and niche show, Chicken Shop Date (aka, the internet’s equivalent to celebrity speed dating) has catapulted journalist and host Amelia Dimoldenberg to astronomical heights. From Morley’s in Brixton to the BRIT Awards, the 29-year-old has built herself an impressive media empire, with over 1.8 million subscribers on her YouTube channel, and an interviewee portfolio that includes the likes of Shania Twain, Burna Boy, and Keke Palmer.

And now, as this year’s awards season slowly comes to a close, Dimoldenberg has managed to officially solidify herself as the red carpet’s most eligible bachelorette. And, while the content creator may have cosied up with almost all of Hollywood, netizens everywhere internally cried when they realised that one special someone was missing.

Though it certainly isn’t the case, it often feels as though Dimoldenberg’s shimmy up the social ladder happened practically overnight. A few years ago, she was still interviewing predominantly British-based rappers and grime artists while munching on chicken nuggets. Fast forward to a mere two days ago and Dimoldenberg was the go-to interviewer at the highly coveted 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar party—an event so choc-a-bloc with A-listers that it makes Coachella look like a low-key summer barbeque.

Mingling with the likes of The Last of Us zaddy Pedro Pascal, Sabrina Carpenter, and newly single Irish actor Paul Mescal, Dimoldenberg—who at this point has perfected her awkward-deadpan flirtation skills—charmed the copious guests and once again proved that her online personna is not only transferable from social media to real life, but that her uncomfortable yet sweet demeanour actually disarms a number of Hollywood’s steeliest celebs.

However, I (along with the rest of the internet) was saddened, nay, dismayed, to see absolutely zero interaction between the YouTube sensation and the one prospective partner she just can’t seem to snatch for a proper date: actor and international heartthrob Andrew Garfield.

Having first stolen our hearts during their interaction at the BRIT Awards in 2022, wherein Dimoldenberg stated she’d been trying to nab a date with the The Amazing Spider-Man star for some time, fans immediately sensed a level of chemistry between the two.

Naturally, this online frenzy increased when the two reunited at the 2023 Golden Globes—an event where Dimoldenberg was also taking lead-point and therefore thrust further into the mainstream. The pair chatted away, the content creator cheekily noting “we must stop meeting like this,” while Garfield commented on how they had a lot of astrological compatibility. I mean, does it get more romantic than that?

Truth be told, the duo had genuine chemistry, most likely due to a potential off-screen friendship, or simply because they naturally vibed with one another. Nevertheless, whatever the behind-the-scenes gossip may be, we enjoyed every second of it. Fingers crossed it won’t be the last of their in-public interactions.

What are people’s thoughts on Amelia Dimoldenberg and her career?

Some journalists within the industry take umbrage with the fact that online stars such as Dimoldenberg and prominent TikTokers are being favoured for these kinds of opportunities, over more established media insiders.

It’s become a common mindset among older millennials and boomers to patronise and thereby look down on the sheer influence (and talent) of internet personalities. As with any industry, there are some individuals who are given enormous opportunities despite having little to no abilities, but I’d argue that this isn’t the case here.

Short-clips from award interviews are nowadays built for soundbites rather than deep insight, and who better to grab a soundbite than someone who specialises in viral internet content?

It should also be noted that, while still highly accomplished, Dimoldenberg doesn’t really fit the ‘rags to riches’ archetype. For one, she grew up in a highly affluent area of London and received an excellent standard education. Moreover, her father is British politician Paul Dimoldenberg. While this doesn’t erase the work she put in during the nine years she spent cultivating the Chicken Shop Date format and finding artists to interview, it’s a massive factor to consider when we look at her trajectory into the mainstream media.

Dimoldenberg has also been a highly divisive character for some. In August 2022, Refinery29 stated: “[She] cleverly uses the juxtaposition of an awkward white girl in a chicken shop as her whole gimmick, drawing in viewers because it’s something they haven’t seen before. However, this has led some to question her involvement in UK Black British spaces.”

Expanding, the publication noted how Dimoldenberg’s success is inherently symptomatic of white privilege. Questions over whether her show is problematic or not are raised when considering how, as a white woman, she is able to step into these predominantly working-class and black spaces, and end up with significant financial and commercial gain.

The creator has addressed these issues, stating in an interview with Complex: “I think it’s important to talk about these things. I feel a lot of responsibility to make sure what I’m doing is authentic and respectful. I’m also aware, part of the reason people like watching my videos is because they play off the humour that naturally occurs when two different cultures collide.”

Dimoldenberg continued: “I take my job in the scene that I’m working in very seriously. As I’ve said before, I’m very aware of my privileged position as a white woman, however, I hope I’m using it to fully support UK artists.”

Will Amelia Dimoldenberg be at the 2023 Met Gala?

So, the last question is: Will Dimoldenberg’s success among the upper-echelon of Hollywood continue, and will it expand over into the most coveted fashion event of the year? The likes of internet stars Lisa Koshy and Emma Chamberlain have acted as official interviewers on the carpet before, who’s to say Dimoldenberg won’t be next?

Oscars who? Memeable movies like Cocaine Bear and M3GAN bring uncomplicated fun back to the big screen

You know what’s coming this Sunday. The most important night on the film calendar arrives, the Academy Awards. Ahead of the glittery Oscars 2023 ceremony, I expected my social media feed to be full of tweets and predictions over which films will take home awards. Perhaps even speculation over who or what the stars of the silver screen will be wearing on the red carpet.

But that’s not totally been the case. In fact, the film taking up the most space on my timeline right now is Cocaine Bear, a movie about—you’ve guessed it—a bear who stumbles across cocaine in the woods and goes on a murderous rampage. Directed by Elizabeth Banks, the much-memed film is actually based on a true story. And even more surprisingly, it has a favourable score of 73 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Mainstream film is embracing a sense of novelty right now. January saw the release of M3GAN, a dark comedy-meets-horror film about a murderous robot who could sing, dance and kill. M3GAN came to slay, both literally and figuratively, and the film’s commercial and critical success has already sparked plans for a sequel.

A film like Avatar: The Way of Water (which has been nominated for four Academy Awards this year) also feels connected to this. Before any of its cinematic achievements, the film felt like a huge spectacle that couldn’t be missed.

As I sat with 3D glasses on and watched a bunch of weirdly sexualised blue aliens shoot guns at each other and call each other “bro” in American accents, I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I knew what I was watching was completely ridiculous and silly at times: with billions of dollars and a decade to make the sequel, the villain James Cameron settled on was a clone of the villain from the first film. Was that really the best he could do? But, against all my instincts, I found myself being drawn in by it and thoroughly entertained from start to finish.

When it comes to Cocaine Bear and M3GAN, it feels like two important shifts are happening. First, is that studios and audiences are gravitating back towards concepts which, on the face of things, seem bizarre—remember Snakes on a Plane or The Human Centipede? But also, more importantly, when these films impress audiences and critics, they subvert our expectations of seriousness and its relationship with quality.

I wonder if, with the economy struggling, the planet burning, and good news headlines constantly getting buried under a never-ending avalanche of negativity, the film industry’s relationship with spectacle might be a form of escapism. This might also be part of the reason why we’re seeing a resurgence of rom-coms—a genre which tends to be uplifting and doesn’t adhere to traditional expectations of realism.

Clarisse Loughrey, film critic at The Independent, thinks there could “definitely” be an economic connection between now and the Reagan era in the 1980s, where an emphasis on profit coincided with challenging economic times for ordinary people. “The Reagan era was so profit-orientated,” she told SCREENSHOT. “If you look back to the early days of the blockbuster, you will see a lot of these novelty-style movies.”

Loughrey also thinks these films are courting social media reactions, which can now be the most effective way to promote a movie. Some fans are more likely to go and see a picture that everyone is posting about, even if it’s not bound to be Oscar-nominated. “Social media is a major factor in creating buzz for these movies,” she explained.

“The audience makes memes and it basically does the promotional work for the studios,” Loughrey continued. This is further evidenced by the incessant memeing of Morbius, a satirical approach that had such a chokehold on the internet that Sony Pictures got tricked into giving the film a second run in theatres.

There could be even more time-sensitive factors at play. The dominance of Marvel films in the blockbuster space is starting to fade, with fan enthusiasm waning and the plots becoming more entangled and complicated (does anyone truly understand the multiverse?). “The apparent drop in Marvel’s box office receipts could suggest that people are losing enthusiasm for the superhero model and are starting to look elsewhere,” Loughrey said.

“A-list stars don’t really have the box office pull they used to, so what is now going to get butts on seats? Horror has always been pretty reliable—but I think you could argue that the concepts behind Cocaine Bear and M3GAN are strong enough to work as a draw in themselves.”

The time of year that films like Cocaine Bear and M3GAN are catching our attention also feels notable here. 2023’s awards season felt fairly lacklustre until Ariana DeBose’s viral performance at the BAFTA Film Awards injected some much-needed fun.

“Angela Bassett did the thing” traded on a similar sense of novelty and spectacle, which was a marked contrast to the stiff awards ceremony where it was performed. It’s probably the only thing people will remember from the BAFTAs this year—but isn’t that rather telling? Against the serious backdrop of awards season, audiences are craving uncomplicated fun.

It’s difficult to know where film’s embrace of novelty will go next. Right now, there is clearly a space for simple, in-your-face concepts which are well-executed and don’t demand too much from the viewer. Brash films like Cocaine Bear don’t claim to be changing the face of cinema. But they are still defying expectations, both critically and commercially. So, in their own purposefully ridiculous way, they actually might be.