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?
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.