On Friday, after six years spent under the LATimes.com umbrella, awards season expert Tom O’Neil (pictured) bid farewell to TheEnvelope.com. It’s time, he enthused, to take his groundbreaking website Goldderby.com back onto the wide open expanse of the Web and run it independently.

FishbowlLA chatted with O’Neil via email to get a better sense of the operation. His executive editor, Paul Sheehan, is a former entertainment lawyer who returned to the Gold Derby fold in 2010 after freelancing for major newspapers and magazines. Together, they watch over a hand-picked team of senior editors.

“I recruited my editors from the smartest posters at the Gold Derby message boards over the past 11 years,” O’Neil explains. “By following the discussions there, I could see who really knew their stuff and who didn’t. I believe it’s much easier to take award experts and turn then into journalists than it is to take cocky, know-it-all journalists and turn them into award experts.”

“I don’t believe that 99.9% of Hollywood writers really know anything about awards,” he adds. “This year no one at the Hollywood Reporter, TheWrap, Deadline, the New York Times, TV Guide or Entertainment Weekly bothered to scrutinze what episodes were submitted by nominees to Emmy judges, but those episodes decide who wins and loses. However, my editors at GoldDerby can not only tell you what episodes the nominees entered this year, they can tell you what was submitted ten and 20 years ago and why those contenders won or lost.”

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