Saturday, November 15, 2014

The Hollywood Film Awards AKA The Hollywood Fixed Awards?


The first of the award season shows aired last night; it's the first time the HFA, Hollywood Film Awards have been shown on television. If you watched, you were probably wondering why they bothered. I love movies (obviously) but I don't need to see every little move the stars make. Everyone seemed a little off, or in the case of Johnny Depp, quite possibly drunk off their asses. Queen Latifah was poorly prepared and you had to wonder if there'd been any rehearsal whatsoever. The average movie goer —me — hasn't heard of the HFA's. While it's come aways, according to Deadline  —
"in the early days, stars would come in the back way, make an appearance onstage to accept an award – often thanking HFA founder de Abreu personally — and get a photo op, and then make a hasty retreat.  
Despite the fact that the show held good bookish movie news with Julianne Moore deservedly feted for her performance in Still Alice (I saw a screening of the movie; both the film and Moore took my breath away), Shailene Woodley being awarded as Breakout Actress for The Fault in Our Stars, the thrilling thriller Gone Girl taking home the best picture prize with author Gillian Flynn winning for Best Adapted Screenplay,  and Jean-Marc Valle as Break-through director for Wild, if what I read on Deadline about the HFA's is to be believed, that the winners are 'negotiated', then the whole affair is orchestrated. The more cynical amongst us might used the word 'rigged' or possibly 'fixed.'
"studios seem to love it because they essentially get to dictate the winners and plant a flag for one film or another early in the season. Winners are chosen by a small committee led by Carlos de Abreu that sees the buzzy movies, sometimes in rough cuts, and doles out the honors. There are 26 categories — 18 of which were handed out during the show — and all honorees know they won ahead of time."
If that doesn't sound like a back room deal I don't know what does. Kind of takes some of the tinsel off the old "Tinsel Land" moniker, doesn't it? I blow hot and cold during award season, it's all too easy to get wrapped up in the hype, forgetting that most of this stuff all comes down to money and power, Hollywood style. So many luminous performances and standout films won't even be mentioned. Still, we do love our big Hollywood movies and our A-List stars, our American royalty — although an awful lot of them last night were from the UK: Benedict Cumberbatch won Best Actor, with Keira Knightley winning Best Supporting Actress for The Imitation Game in which Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing, Eddie Redmayne won Breakout Actor for The Theory of Everything, and  Jack O'Connell took the Breakout Performance Actor prize for Unbroken.


The Imitation Game  inspired by the non-fiction book Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, seems like the one to beat, director Morten Tyldem won Best Director and one of my all-time favorite composers Alexandre Desplat won for his music. I'm a bit of a Desplat groupie so that makes me happy, happy, happy even if the HFA's mean nothing, nothing, nothing except that in my town, same as in yours, most things can be bought and sold, so long as you have the money.

On that cheery note,  let's listen to Desplat's score. Orchestrated, arranged, rigged, negotiated  or not, his musical genius can't be denied.

For the complete list of winners you can go to the Source: Deadline

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