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Awards Mania

In Defense of Carlos de Abreu

For years and years, Movie City News founder David Poland and others have piled on Carlos de Abreu‘s annual Hollywood Film Awards. The very loosely juried late October celebration kicks off the auditorium portion of Hollywood film awards season following the film-festival triumvirate of Telluride, Venice and Toronto.

HollywoodFilmAwardsLogoIn light of today’s announcement that the event will be televised starting this fall in partnership with Dick Clark Productions, we would like to make a couple of humble suggestions. Firstly, we think now is the perfect time for de Abreu’s harshest critics to ratchet down the tiresome attacks a little.

Sites like Movie City News rely greatly on film awards season ad money. We’re not suggesting that Poland and his colleagues are in the habit of molding their coverage to fit that month’s banner advertisers or sponsors. But awards season bloggers, awards season event hosts, awards season studios… They’re all feeding at the same trough.

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Elite SEM Tops Crain’s Latest ‘Best Places to Work’

Here’s how it went down last Friday at Elite SEM, the search engine marketing and optimization firm voted the Best Place to Work in 2013 by Crain’s New York.

CrainsEliteSEM

CEO Ben Kirshner and the rest of the Philadelphia office staff hopped a train to New York for the company’s annual Northeast Region holiday party. Before everyone but Kirshner headed off to Long Island for some paintball, the CEO shared over 8:30 a.m. bagels and coffee what he might say if Elite SEM nabbed the top spot:

Ben gave us a dry run of an acceptance speech, giving thanks to his wife, Rebecca Kirshner, for all of her support and for allowing him to travel and do all the things he needs to on a weekly basis to help grow and support Elite SEM. The Elite SEM employees gave him a round of applause for the speech and then everyone went on with their day…

Kirshner, after participating in a panel discussion at the Crain’s Friday luncheon event, got to give that speech. On the paintball field meanwhile, the “Elite SEM Veterans” eked out a narrow 3-2 overtime win against the “Elite SEM Rookies.”

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At This Awards Show, Presenters Routinely Tell the Audience to ‘Shut the F— Up’

Here are a couple of early 2013 film awards season ways to highlight the differences between the two coasts.

The first is Nellie Andreeva‘s recent report that Woody Allen will not make the trek to the Beverly Hilton on January 12, 2014 to accept a Cecil B. DeMille Lifetime Achievement Award. As previous Oscar shows have demonstrated, the Woodman is never ready for a facile, self-congratulatory close-up. Be it AMPAS or HFPA.

Shutterstock_JaredLetoThen there’s last night’s Gotham Awards, held at Cipriani Wall Street. Hollywood Reporter awards columnist Scott Feinberg reminds that the group of voters who picked the major category winners is minuscule. He also touches on a room vibe that is more raucous than the TV-film-booze mix of the Golden Globes:

The thankless job of hosting the festivities was carried out with good cheer by The League‘s Nick Kroll, who, like many hosts before him, struggled to retain the attention of much of the audience in the huge room with the high ceilings, even though he was pretty funny.

While Kroll never chided the loud talkers, actor Jared Leto, while accepting on behalf of his Dallas Buyers Club co-star Matthew McConaughey (who was on a movie set but listening in via Leto’s cell phone), and director Lee Daniels, while presenting to his The Butler lead actor Forest Whitaker, both told them directly to “Shut the f–k up.”

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Best Acceptance Speech of the Week: Cindy Adams

DeadlineClubLogoThe potent combination of the Deadline Club and NYC Hall of Fame journalists continues.

A while back, we relayed the great comments Jimmy Breslin had, at age 82, regarding his induction into the Deadline Club’s revived awards ceremony. Yesterday, it was time for the Sardi’s awards luncheon and, per a report by Capital New York’s Nicole Levy, the event included this equally great zinger from one of Breslin’s esteemed fellow recipients:

Honorees were told they had only two minutes at the podium — “because some people really do have to go back to work, really do have deadlines,” former Deadline Club president Betsy Ashton told the room, teasingly…

New York Post gossip columnist Cindy Adams, the first to receive her Olympic-style medal in hand, didn’t quite know what to do with her two minutes: “Nobody has given me two minutes since my wedding night,” she said.

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Sacha Baron Cohen BAFTA Bit Causes Controversy

Shutterstock_SBCohenMTVMovieAwardsThis time last year, it was Daniel Day-Lewis and an empty chair. Last night at the BAFTA-LA Britannia Awards, Sacha Baron Cohen kicked it up a notch with the help of an elderly actress in a wheelchair. What’s next – Eddie Izzard and an electric chair?

Just as British Abe’s riff on Clint Eastwood proved impossible to beat at the podium during 2012 film awards season, Cohen’s hilarious prank of the audience with the help of an elderly co-conspirator is going to be very hard to top this year. Accepting the Charlie Chaplin Britannia Award for Excellence in Comedy, the Borat/Bruno/Dictator star took receipt of a jerry-rigged cane from the woman, started doing his best “Little Tramp” imitation and then faux-tripped to send her rolling off the front of the stage. From a report by Deadline’s Pete Hammond:

The routine had half the packed Beverly Hilton audience roaring and the other half shaking in their Jimmy Choos wondering if he had really just killed an elderly woman in a wheelchair – or was it one of his patented tasteless gags?… The reaction was so visceral in the room host Rob Brydon had to literally calm down the normally more sedate British crowd. Some clearly thought it was real.

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Michael Musto, Tom O’Neil Concoct Some Juicy Michael Fassbender Rumors

Did you hear the whispers about 12 Years a Slave being based on a much more recent tome by Rush Limbaugh and Paula Deen? How about the rumor that the film’s title is an insider’s wink to what it’s like to work for Harvey Weinstein… for a week.

MichaelFassbender12Years_SmallThese and other ridiculous notions were floated by goldderby.com maestro Tom O’Neil and podcast guest Michael Musto to poke fun at the “smear campaigns” that creep into each film awards season. Given how competitive the field is this year, that aspect of the proceedings is already off to a vigorous running start. From O’Neil, Musto’s convo:

Musto: I hear for the 12 Years a Slave DVD, they’re going to do it in 3D and they’re going to add naked scenes of [Michael] Fassbender. It’s really going to jut out from the screen.

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THR Features Editor Highlights ‘Dirty Games’ of Awards Season

Right after introductions were made for a weekend panel discussion at the Savannah Film Festival featuring The Hollywood Reporter trio of Stephen Galloway, Scott Feinberg and Tim Appelo, Galloway offered some intriguing observations about the first phase of this year’s film awards season.

Picking up on Feinberg’s analogy that the process resembles a Presidential election campaign, with the “primaries” of film awards season (festivals, critics awards, Golden Globes) leading up to the big night of the Oscars, the THR executive editor of features noted what is now business-as-usual:

“The [favored films] lists start to come into play; people start to jostle; potential winners begin to emerge. And then, like politics, the dirty games start.”

“I was fascinated, a couple of weeks ago, when the New York Times wrote a piece questioning the authenticity of the book behind 12 Years a Slave. It’s based on a memoir by a black man who was captured and enslaved for 12 years, Solomon Northup.”

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Calvin Coolidge Foundation Announces Pair of Journalism Prizes

CalvinCoolidgeFoundationLogoThe coolest thing about the two new awards endowed by the Calvin Coolidge Memorial Foundation are the prize names.

Per newsmax.com chief political columnist and White House correspondent John Gizzi, “The Calvin” will funnel a $1,500 scholarship to a Vermont resident under the age of 20 while “The Coolidge” is open to all and comes with a much larger cash prize of $20,000. Grizzi also reminds of the 30th President’s intriguing journalism background:

A little-known fact about Coolidge is that, after leaving the White House, he wrote a syndicated newspaper column entitled “Calvin Coolidge Says.” The McClure Syndicate soon found that the column was so popular that it was carried in Japanese papers.

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Suleika Jaouad’s Life Joyfully Interrupted by Emmy Awards

SuleikaJaouadThe latest “Life, Interrupted” first-person article in the New York Times series by Suleika Jaouad (pronounced su-LAKE-uh ja-WAD) is another triumphant read.

Jaouad has been writing and videotaping her experiences as a young adult with cancer for the paper since the spring of 2012. Never in her wildest dreams did she imagine she would wind up nominated, for this very NYT series, at Lincoln Center’s News and Documentary Emmy Awards:

Standing on the stage, holding that golden, and surprisingly heavy, Emmy statue, has to be one of the most surreal, amazing moments of my life. Shayla Harris, the series producer and the woman who spent countless hours with me filming my story, gave a beautiful acceptance speech as my editor Tara Parker-Pope celebrated the moment with me. Days later, I still can’t believe we won an Emmy.

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Media Mulls YouTube Music Awards

Pundits are digesting Monday’s big YouTube announcement. The nominations deadline for the site’s first-ever Music Awards is October 17 and the big show, to be directed by Spike Jonze, will be live-streamed Sunday November 3 from New York’s Pier 36.

Corey Tate at Spacelab magazine wonders how YouTube is going to filter out “fake” view counts from the Most Viewed category, while Bustle entertainment editor Lindsey Mannering offers some eye-roll perspective:

If you’ve been appalled by the lack of attention our celebrities get; if you’ve been disgusted by the dearth of awards bestowed on the rich and famous; if you’re downright nauseated by the way our stars don’t get no respect… there’s good news. Because the Oscars, Emmys, SAG Awards, Grammys, VMAs, BET Awards, Golden Globes and Spirit Awards aren’t enough, there’s now a new awards show.

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