Notes from the Hollywood Film Awards
Jeffrey Mayer/ Gregg DeGuire/ David Livingston/ Michael Tran/ Christopher Polk/ HFA2016/ Frederick M. Brown/ Alberto E. Rodriguez/ Getty Images
The Hollywood Film Awards are about as significant as the People’s Choice Awards which is to say, not significant at all. The difference though is that, somehow, the Hollywood Film Awards actually attract talent and not just the cast of Big Bang Theory. That said, the award categories, every year, sound totally made up to me. And they basically nominate and recognise who they hope to get to the event (and who might actually agree to go to the event). Like, this year, they really wanted Leonardo DiCaprio to come. So they gave him the Hollywood Documentary Award. Gold hasn’t even screened yet and somehow Matthew McConaughey was there to accept the Hollywood Ensemble Award. And, even though Damian Chazelle’s La La Land is the frontrunner for Best Picture, either he couldn’t get there or they thought they’d have a better chance with Mel Gibson and Tom Ford so they gave Mel the Director Award and Tom Ford the Breakthrough Director Award respectively.
Hacksaw Ridge just opened to strong reviews and an impressive box office this weekend so Mel’s hustling for a nomination. Tom is too and was obliging on the red carpet, as he’s been through festival season. So, as meaningless as the Hollywood Film Awards are, it is now considered a proper stop on campaign trail. Which, interestingly, is why we saw Eddie Murphy there to accept the Hollywood Career Achievement Award. Joanna tells me Eddie did the entire press line. You’ll recall, she wrote about Eddie’s possible Oscar ambitions last week. He’s doing interviews, he’s been on social media, and this is not someone who’s typically so front and centre with the thirst. If he is, it means he wants something. He wants to be included in the Oscar conversation. And this might be a good year for him to do it since, so far, the Best Supporting Actor race seems to be relatively wide open.
As for the Best Supporting Actress race, Fences screened for several guilds this weekend and the reaction was overwhelmingly positive. We’ll get to more of that later but it basically means that Viola Davis is the one to beat and, perhaps, the one you shouldn’t even bother going up against. Still, Nicole Kidman’s out there trying to secure a nomination. For her, this season, getting an invitation to the party is the victory, especially for a role she’s taken so personally, as Lion is about a boy who gets lost, ends up adopted, and then goes back to find his biological family.
In the open today I posted about The Hollywood Reporter’s China Issue featuring an interview with China’s richest man, Wang Jianlin who is aggressively trying to own Hollywood. When asked about his favourite actors, he shrugged on big names like Jennifer Lawrence and Leonardo DiCaprio and said that he prefers Nicole Kidman, who he considers his “muse”.
"Honestly, my muse is Nicole Kidman," he says, tilting back in his chair, lighting up a little. "When I was young, I adored her. She's very beautiful, and she's also a big name here in China."
This is a big deal and we should keep an eye on it. Nicole makes trips to China several times a year. And the man from China with all the money is coming to town and has named her as his favourite. Will China start affecting award nominations? And eventually winners? And Nicole’s approach to her career? China is a youth-obsessed culture. They don’t judge plastic surgery the way it’s judged in North America. They have plastic surgery beauty pageants! Over time then, will Chinese influence in pop culture and entertainment affect the way celebrities manage beauty – even MORE than how we’ve seen them already manage their beauty? What does she care when Americans side-eye her fillers if a billion fans in China are calling her the one?