MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Let The Premature Awardulation Begin!!!

A 20 Weeks Special

Ah, as the temperatures finally drop from the 80s in Los Angeles, it’s time to start giving out year end awards months before the year has ended.

Now, there are two classes of premature awardulation. There is the sincere and well-intended. That would be your Gotham Awards.

Desperately trying to compete for attention and position ahead of the Independent Spirit Awards, from the IFP-jumping FIND of Los Angeles (independent film AND an iPhone app that shows you where the liquor stores are!), IFP pushed The Gothams to the very start of the season a few years ago. Thing is, as breathtakingly stupid as a year-end awards show being set in October, with no really clear rules for what is indie, the punchline is that they have a really fun party that the indie universe, housed mostly in New York, really seems to enjoy. And bully for them. It has no sway over Oscar or any other awards, but anhonor is an honor and God bless multiple nominees Winter’s Bone, The Kids Are All Right, Tiny Furniture, and everyone else. Have a good time.

On the other hand, you have the cynical, ugly, somewhat desperate awards known as The Hollywood Movie Awards aka Carlos de Abreu Lines His Pockets With Hollywood’s Money Because They All Want A Foothold On The Season & They Will Take An Award In A Butcher Shop In October If It Might Get Them One.

I don’t really understand how studios continue to pony up to what is basically a con by de Abreu. He has “an advisory board,” which I was once on. Our meetings consisted of a couple of lunches a year, seeking insight into who might be Oscar nominated, which actor had a better chance than the other one, etc. Basically it was like he was trying to do a Gurus o’ Gold chart over the summer, since he was handing out awards in October. Carlos works with the studios to see who they can deliver, how many tables they will buy in the same Bev Hilton ballroom that will hold The Golden Globes in January, and makes up awards to match the talent he can land. If you don’t think the award fits, Carlos is more than happy to adjust it… just as long as the talent will show up.

Carlos is not a dumb guy. He is a very clever con. How else could he get Sean Penn, a very serious guy, to show up? He’s this year’s “Hollywood Humanitarian.” And getting Penn probably made it easier to get Robert Duvall to show up to get his “Hollywood Actor Award.” And that makes it seem less desperate for Annette Bening to show up to “win” her “Hollywood Actress Award.” And Helena Bonham Carter and Sam Rockwell, and so on.

Carlos also smartly honors more below-the-line talent than any show other than the Oscars. Honor Zimmer and Pfister and you likely get Nolan & DiCaprio to show up.

And why doesn’t the media burn this thing to the ground… even as much as they try to tear down the more legit Golden Globes/HFPA, which is still only 80something dubious journalists with a TV show, but is still not just one guy handing out statues and selling tables to studios for personal profit? Well, who wants to say that Wally Pfister doesn’t deserve awards? I don’t. He deserves the love. And I am happy that Duvall is out on the awards circuit. He deserves recognition for Get Low. Etc. Who wants to be the prick to say to them, “What the HELL are you doing accepting a clown award at a small town rodeo?” And who wants to embarrass the publicists, consultants, and studio execs who talked the talent into going to the show?

No one.

Not even me.

But every once in a while, someone needs to say it out loud… because everyone says it privately. Well, everyone who even knows what you are talking about when you bring the show up.

Taking home multiple “Carloses” will be The Social Network (4), Inception (3, given that the fix is in for Leo to win the Audience Poll at Yahoo!), and The King’s Speech (2). With only Duvall representing, Sony Classics might not even buy a table – the exception that proves the rule – with Duvall sitting with Penn (sure Carlos is working Summit to buy a table, even though he’s not officially there for Fair Game. Searchlight and Disney are each accepting 2 awards, so each might buy one table. Focus got a biggie, so they are probably in for a table. And whose table does Zach Galifianakis sit at, Focus or Warners… Annette or Leo?

The sad thing about this one-man awards show is that none of these people need the show, the award, or the smell of crap on their shoes. There is not a weak player on this list. Great actors. Great talent behind the camera. They are all in the game, as Carlos knows, and this silly event will not move the big bar a single inch.

The Globes, absurd as it is, became “important” because it has millions of eyeballs right in the flow of the Oscar season. It has become a place to be seen and to reassert your Oscar goals. Getting a Hollywood Movie Award is a little like having sex with the slut at college. Neither of you much remember what happened. No one else much cares, since they all know how low the bar for entry was. And all you have left to show from the encounter is a odd little “award” that you notice every once in a while and hope isn’t herpes.

The one good thing about this moment is that we now have about six weeks before we have to hear from the ridiculous National Board Of Reviewing Their Ability To Get Talent To Jump For No Real Reason and then, the onslaught.

6 Responses to “Let The Premature Awardulation Begin!!!”

  1. Joe Leydon says:

    Hey, you think Carlos might be looking for new advisory board members? Looks like the National Board of Review is never going to come through with that membership offer.

  2. David Poland says:

    If you lived here and he only had one or two others from Variety, free lunch might well be coming your way.

  3. Dan Krovich says:

    I follow awards to a decent extent (Hell, I even pay some attention to the Golden Satellites), and I’ve never heard of the “Carlos Awards.” That’s probably why the media doesn’t bother trying to “burn it to the ground.” I assume it’s just a very Los Angeles insider thing.

  4. sanj says:

    DP – hang outside the awards and if Leo shows up – ask
    him to do a dp/30…

  5. “why doesn’t the media burn this thing to the ground”

    Because, ultimately, who gives a shit? Pointless in the grand scheme. It just is. No victims here. No gun to anyone’s head. Taking on the 80-member HFPA is worth it because of the strong-arming.

  6. Wally Pfister says:

    Fucking hilarious dude!!
    Spot on. Im laughing all the way to the buffet table.

Leave a Reply

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
James Gray

“I’m an unusual producer because I control the destiny of a lot of the films I’ve done. Most of them are in perfect states of restoration and preservation and distribution, and I aim to keep them in distribution. HanWay Films, which is my sales company, has a 500-film catalogue, which is looked after and tended like a garden. I’m still looking after my films in the catalogue and trying to get other people to look after their films, which we represent intellectually, to try to keep them alive. A film has to be run through a projector to be alive, unfortunately, and those electric shadows are few and far between now. It’s very hard to go and see films in a movie house. I was always involved with the sales and marketing of my films, right up from The Shout onwards. I’ve had good periods, but I also had a best period because the film business was in its best period then. You couldn’t make The Last Emperor today. You couldn’t make The Sheltering Sky today. You couldn’t make those films anymore as independent films. There are neither the resources nor the vision within the studios to go to them and say, “I want to make a film about China with no stars in it.”Then, twenty years ago, I thought, “OK, I’m going to sell my own films but I don’t want to make it my own sales company.” I wanted it to be for me but I wanted to make it open for every other producer, so they don’t feel that they make a film but I get the focus. So, it’s a company that is my business and I’m involved with running it in a certain way, but I’m not seen as a competitor with other people that use it. It’s used by lots of different producers apart from me. When I want to use it, however, it’s there for me and I suppose I’m planning to continue making all my films to be sold by HanWay. I don’t have to, but I do because it’s in my building and the marketing’s here, and I can do it like that. Often, it sounds like I’m being easy about things, but it’s much more difficult than it sounds. It’s just that I’ve been at it for a long time and there’s lots of fat and security around my business. I know how to make films, but it’s not easy—it’s become a very exacting life.”
~ Producer Jeremy Thomas