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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

It’s Time For The Carloses™!



Every year, Hollywood looks to one man to deliver the highest profile award you can purchase for the cost of a table full of roasted chicken at the Beverly Hilton.

They are called The Hollywood Film Awards. But that’s just fancy wrapping. These are The Carloses™! Created by Carlo de Abreu to line his personal pockets, the man who claims that he used to be a secret agent (if you find my dead body, look for him!) has flown his flag high enough and long enough to become an institution… the kind where people walk aimlessly in a circle with blank stares on their faces.

Unlike The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, which is a 80-something person game of “lick us, love us, luxury us,” or National Board of Review, which shows a lot of movies to a lot of retired people before a handful of organization leaders have a meeting out of Broadway Danny Rose and decide how to spread things around, Carlos takes it to a whole different level. How do you win an award from his “organization?” You get Carlos to say, “yes.” Or he gets you to say, “yes.”

Carlos takes people to lunch, a few a week for a few months, trying to get their opinions of the best way to shadow the eventual Oscar nominees. (I used to be one of those people.) But in the end, it basically comes down to, “Ehhhh… yes… I am giving your person an award. How many tables will that be?”

And yet, there is that thing in this town where people just do what they are used to doing. Doesn’t matter that everyone knows it’s a joke or that there is zero real benefit to any awards campaign. Egos are fed. And Carlos, in a true move of con man genius, understands talent. Part of the game is awarding below-the-line talent so their above-the-line stars will show up to honor them. Sheer genius. Same with other awards, where Carlos sometimes gets The Cow for the price of giving The Milk an award.

Here are last year’s winners…

Can you spot the two Oscar nominees out of these 12 excellent actors?

Yet, smart publicists still get sucked into this vanity fair every year. And not-so-smart journalists play along, all too happy to have enough bite from the trough.

Like all awards, in the end, people being honored feel honored. So God bless them and may they all be happy.

At least this way, they don’t have to have lunch with Carlos.

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“I suddenly couldn’t say anything about some of the movies. They were just so terrible, and I’d already written about so many terrible movies. I love writing about movies when I can discover something in them – when I can get something out of them that I can share with people. The week I quit, I hadn’t planned on it. But I wrote up a couple of movies, and I read what I’d written, and it was just incredibly depressing. I thought, I’ve got nothing to share from this. One of them was of that movie with Woody Allen and Bette Midler, Scenes From a Mall. I couldn’t write another bad review of Bette Midler. I thought she was so brilliant, and when I saw her in that terrible production of ‘Gypsy’ on television, my heart sank. And I’d already panned her in Beaches. How can you go on panning people in picture after picture when you know they were great just a few years before? You have so much emotional investment in praising people that when you have to pan the same people a few years later, it tears your spirits apart.”
~ Pauline Kael On Quitting

“My father was a Jerome. My daughter’s middle name is Jerome. But my most vexing and vexed relationship with a Jerome was with Jerome Levitch, the subject of my first book under his stage and screen name, Jerry Lewis.

I have a lot of strong and complex feelings about the man, who passed away today in Las Vegas at age 91. Suffice to say he was a brilliant talent, an immense humanitarian, a difficult boss/interview, and a quixotic sort of genius, as often inspired as insipid, as often tender as caustic.

I wrote all about it in my 1996 book, “King of Comedy,” which is available on Kindle. With all due humility, it’s kinda definitive — the good and the bad — even though it’s two decades old. My favorite review, and one I begged St. Martin’s (unsuccessfully) to put on the paperback jacket, came from “Screw” magazine, which called it “A remarkably fair portrait of a great American asshole.”

Jerry and I met twice while I was working on the book and spoke/wrote to each other perhaps a dozen times. Like many of his relationships with the press and his partners/subordinates, it ended badly, with Jerry hollering profanities at me in the cabin of his yacht in San Diego. I wrote about it in the epilogue to my book, and over the years I’ve had the scene quoted back to me by Steve Martin, Harry Shearer, Paul Provenza and Penn Jillette. Tom Hanks once told me that he had a dinner with Paul Reiser and Martin Short at which Short spent the night imitating Jerry throwing me off the boat.

Jerry was a lot of things: father, husband, chum, businessman, philanthropist, artist, innovator, clown, tyrant. He was at various times in his life the highest-ever-paid performer on TV, in movies, and on Broadway. He raised BILLIONS for charity, invented filmmaking techniques, made perhaps a dozen classic comedies, turned in a terrific dramatic performance in Martin Scorsese’s “The King of Comedy,” and left the world altered and even enhanced with his time and his work in it.

That’s an estimable achievement and one worth pausing to commemorate.

#RIP to Le Roi du Crazy

~ Biographer Shawn Levy on Jerry Lewis on Facebook