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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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“The worst thing that we have in today’s movie culture is Rotten Tomatoes. It’s the destruction of our business. I have such respect and admiration for film criticism. When I was growing up film criticism was a real art. And there was intellect that went into that. And you would read Pauline’s Kael’s reviews, or some others, and that doesn’t exist anymore. Now it’s about a number. A compounded number of how many positives vs. negatives. Now it’s about, ‘What’s your Rotten Tomatoes score?’ And that’s sad, because the Rotten Tomatoes score was so low on Batman v Superman I think it put a cloud over a movie that was incredibly successful. People don’t realize what goes into making a movie like that. It’s mind-blowing. It’s just insane, it’s hurting the business, it’s getting people to not see a movie. In Middle America it’s, ‘Oh, it’s a low Rotten Tomatoes score so I’m not going to go see it because it must suck.’ But that number is an aggregate and one that nobody can figure out exactly what it means, and it’s not always correct. I’ve seen some great movies with really abysmal Rotten Tomatoes scores. What’s sad is film criticism has disappeared. It’s really sad.”
~ Brett Ratner Has A Sad

“The loss of a local newspaper critic is a real loss. People who know the local audience and know the local cultural scene are very important resources. You can’t just substitute the stuff that comes in from nowhere through syndication or the wire. I think at the same time, some of the newer outlets have really beefed up and improved their coverage and made room for criticism. The real problem is in the more specialized art forms — fine arts, classical music, dance and jazz, say. There is a real slowing of critical voices, partly because those art forms have smaller audiences. Newspapers and magazines can say that doesn’t get enough traffic, so we don’t have room for that. To me, that’s especially worrisome. This is the opposite of what newspapers are supposed to do, which is not to try to figure out what people are already interested in and recite that back to them, but to hopefully guide them to something that they should be interested in, connecting potential audiences with more interesting work.

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~ A. O. Scott