Grammy Awards 2012: in pictures

Adele thanks "doctors who brought my voice back" as she takes home six Grammys.

Record of the year: Adele, "Rolling In The Deep"

Album of the year: Adele, 21

Song of the year: Adele Adkins and Paul Epworth (song writer award), "Rolling In The Deep"

Best new artist: Bon Iver

Best pop solo performance: Adele, "Someone Like You"

Best rock album: Foo Fighters, Wasting Light

Best pop duo: Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse, "Body and Soul"

Best pop vocal album: Adele, 21

Best rap album: Kanye West, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Best pop instrumental album: Booker T. Jones, The Road From Memphis

Best dance record: Skrillex, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

Best dance/electronica album: Skrillex, Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites

Best traditional pop vocal album: - Tony Bennett & Various Artists, Duets II

Best rock performance: Foo Fighters, "Walk"

Best hard rock/metal performance: Foo Fighters, "White Limo"

Best rock song: Foo Fighters (songwriters), "Walk"

Best alternative music album: Bon Iver, Bon Iver

Best R&N performance: Corinne Bailey Rae, "Is This Love"

Best traditional R&B performance: Cee Lo Green & Melanie Fiona, "Fool for You"

Best R&B song: Cee Lo Green, Melanie Hallim, Jack Splash (songwriters), "Fool for You"

Best R&B album: Chris Brown, F.A.M.E

Best rap performance: Jay-Z & Kanye West, "Otis"

Best rap/sung collaboration: Kanye West, Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie, "All of the Lights"

Best rap song: Jeff Bhasker, Stacy Ferguson, Malik Jones, Warren Trotter & Kanye West (songwriters), "All of the Lights"

Best country solo performance: Taylor Swift, "Mean"

Best country duo/group performance: The Civil Wars, "Barton Hollow"

Best country song: Taylor Swift (songwriter), "Mean"

Best country album: Lady Antebellum, Own The Night

Best new age album: Pat Metheny, What's It All About

Best improvised jazz solo: Chick Corea, "500 Miles High"

Best jazz vocal album: Terri Lyne Carrington & Various Artists, The Mosaic Project

Best jazz instrumental album: Corea, Clarke & White, Forever

Best large jazz ensemble album: Christian McBride Big Band, The Good Feeling

Best gospel/contemporary Christian music performance: Le'Andria Johnson "Jesus"

Best gospel song: Kirk Franklin (songwriter), "Hello Fear"

Best contemporary Christian music song: Laura Story (songwriter), "Blessings"

Best gospel album: Kirk Franklin, Hello Fear

Best contemporary Christian music album: Chris Tomlin, And If Our God Is for Us...

Best Latin pop, rock or urban album: Mana, Drama y Luz

Best regional Mexican or Tejano album: Pepe Aguilar, Bicentenario

Best Banda or Norteno album: Los Tigres Del Norte, Los Tigres Del Norte and Friends

Best tropical Latin album: Cachao, The Last Mambo

Best Americana album: Levon Helm, Ramble at the Ryman

Best bluegrass album: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Paper Airplane

Best blues album: Tedeschi Trucks Band, Revelator

Best folk album: The Civil Wars, Barton Hollow

Best regional roots music album: Rebirth Brass Band, Rebirth of New Orleans

Best reggae album: Stephen Marley, Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life

Best world music album: Tinariwen, Tassili

Best children's album: Various Artists, All About Bullies ... Big and Small

Best spoken word album: Betty White, If You Ask Me (And Of Course You Won't)

Best comedy album: Louis C.K., Hilarious

Best musical theatre album: The Book of Mormon

Best short form music video: Adele, "Rolling in the Deep"

Best long form music video: Foo Fighters, "Foo Fighters: Back and Forth"

All photos: Getty Images

Alice Gribbin is a Teaching-Writing Fellow at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. She was formerly the editorial assistant at the New Statesman.

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In Snowden, Joseph Gordon-Levitt seems to absorb the spirit of the whistleblower

Gordon-Levitt makes Snowden’s mot­ives transparent without ever fully dropping his guard. It is reassuring that a film in which people are spied can still have a protagonist who remains essentially unknowable.

Laura Poitras’s Oscar-winning 2014 documentary Citizenfour captured the precise moment at which Edward Snowden turned whistleblower after quitting his job at the NSA. Is there room for another film on the same subject? Oliver Stone’s fictionalised account, Snowden, would suggest not. In effect, it admits defeat from the get-go by using the making of Citizenfour as a framing device, incorporating flashbacks to show what led Snowden to commit the security breach that exposed the extent of US government surveillance. Cooped up in a Hong Kong hotel room with him as he spills the beans are Poitras (Melissa Leo) and the Guardian journalists Glenn Greenwald (Zachary Quinto) and Ewen MacAskill (Tom Wilkinson), who put on their best ­listening faces and try to forget that all of the most interesting scenes are happening in other parts of the film.

What Snowden has in its favour is an economical performance by Joseph Gordon-Levitt which is mysterious without being aloof, cool but never cold. The actor gets the voice right (it’s a benign rumble) and though he is physically dissimilar to the real Snowden, that need be no barrier to success: look at Anthony Hopkins in Stone’s Nixon. Gordon-Levitt is absorbed by the role like water vanishing into a sponge. When the real Snowden pops up to stare wistfully off into the distance (there’s a lot of that here), it can’t help but be a let-down. People are so bad at playing themselves, don’t you find?

Gordon-Levitt makes Snowden’s mot­ives transparent without ever fully dropping his guard, and it is reassuring that a film in which people are spied on through the webcams of dormant laptops can still have a protagonist who remains essentially unknowable. The script, written by Stone and Kieran Fitzgerald, pulls in the opposite direction, allowing every character to deliver a remark of nudging innuendo. When Snowden is discharged from the army after injuring himself, a doctor tells him: “There are plenty of other ways to serve your country.” When he is approved for a job at the CIA, Snowden tells his employer: “You won’t regret this.” What we have here, give or take the strip club scene in which a pole dancer is filmed from an ungallantly low angle, is a more sober Stone than the one who made JFK and Natural Born Killers but he still can’t resist giving us a few deafening blasts of the old irony klaxon.

Though we know by now not to expect subtlety, Stone’s storytelling techniques are still surprisingly crude. When Snowden’s girlfriend, Lindsay (Shailene Woodley), complains that he has become distant, that he doesn’t touch her any more, the viewer is likely to wonder why that point had to be expressed in soap-opera dialogue rather than, say, action or camera angles. After all, the film was more than happy to throw in a superfluous sex scene when their love life was hunky-dory.

But when Stone does make his points visually, the cringe factor is even higher. He used carnivorous imagery in Nixon – a bloody steak stood in for murder – and the new film doesn’t take the vegetarian option either. Snowden is already starting to be alarmed by surveillance tactics when he goes hunting with his boss, Corbin O’Brian (Rhys Ifans). The pheasants they kill are barbecued in sizzling close-up, providing a buffet of symbolism. Snowden is going to be grilled. His goose is cooked. He’s dead meat.

An early scene showing him establishing contact with Poitras and Greenwald by an exchange of coded phrases (“What time does the restaurant open?” “Noon. But the food is a little spicy”) suggests that Stone intends to have fun with the story’s espionage trappings. The movie falls between two stools, however, lacking either the irreverence of satire or the tautness of a well-tooled thriller. At its most effective moments, it floats free of irony and captures a quaint, tactile innocence. We see Snowden communicating in sign language with an NSA colleague to avoid being eavesdropped on, or sitting in bed with a blanket over him as he taps away at his laptop. He is only hiding his passwords but he looks for all the world like a kid reading comics by torchlight after his mother has said: “Lights out.”

Ryan Gilbey is the New Statesman's film critic. He is also the author of It Don't Worry Me (Faber), about 1970s US cinema, and a study of Groundhog Day in the "Modern Classics" series (BFI Publishing). He was named reviewer of the year in the 2007 Press Gazette awards.

This article first appeared in the 08 December 2016 issue of the New Statesman, Brexit to Trump