Don’t pack away your tux and frocks just – award season isn’t over yet baby!  The Empty Cup Awards is underway.

Unlike the other, better known award ceremonies, this one is uncompromising, unbiased, unceremonial. And of upmost importance.

The #emptycupawards bring to account the instances that the movie and television industry bring shame and embarrassment on our own beloved coffee industry. They bring to light examples of when we as an audience are insulted when asked to suspend our belief in the natural laws of physics, gravity, thermodynamics, and weight distribution. They ask us to immerse ourselves in their world, which seems to have the same basic rules of nature as our own, and then they metaphorically throw the metaphoric cup of coffee back in our faces.

The winner with the most nominations, as is no surprise, goes to Gilmore Girls. Scene after scene these self-proclaimed hyper-caffeinated women wave around cardboard tubes filled with air, putting to their mouths at frequent intervals with such speed and candour, that should we live in a universe where carbon matter mattered, would have coffee splattered indiscriminately over set and wardrobe.

And this here, one can only assume, is the fear of letting loose the props of wardrobe. Directors see the way actos fling these empty coffee cups willy nilly around set and imagine the carnage that would ensue should any liquid, coffee or otherwise, hot or otherwise be contained (or otherwise) in said cups. You and I would assume that the actors, when acting with a cup with liquid in it, would adjust their movements accordingly, just as I assume they would in real life. Especially in a show that tries very hard to resemble real life. So we could blame it on the mistrustful props and costume department.

Or we could blame it on acting choices. Actors don’t act, they live the truth in imaginary circumstances. They delve deep into the character’s given circumstances, their personal, inter-personal and extra-personal relationships, finding genuine connection from their own experience. But even The West Wing with its numerous, well deserved accolades, gets in wrong. In season 6, episode 11, we are asked to believe that Santos, presidential candidate, is pouring coffee into a cup. Next shot, we are met with the hollow squeak of an empty styrofoam cup. Who is being tested here? Us, the audience? Josh Lyman, if he can speak truth to power and challenge his boss about giving him a pretend cup of coffee? Or Matt Santos – if he can’t tell the difference between real coffee and fake coffee, should he really be running for President of the US of A?

It’s time for us to take a stand, and demand industry protocols put in place. We could take a leaf from the fresh produce industry and the extraordinary realism of a faux fruit bowl. We could develop weighted take away cups, filled with pebbles or some kind of non-stick, hypoallergenic liquid, like dihydrogen monoxide. 

At the very least, further training should be required of actors before handling coffee props, as in any stunt work. Right now, it’s more believable to see a car driven sideways through a fireball on a suspension bridge, or an underground bareknuckled boxing sword fight match in a dragon pit, than someone drinking a cup of coffee. 

Or take lessons from a mime. I still don’t know how Marcel Marceu gets out of that box.