The Hollywood Film Awards happened last night and, as I always say about the Hollywood Film Awards, they’re about as prestigious as the MTV Movie Awards, which is to say not all that prestigious, and the recipients are chosen ahead of time, and determined in cooperation with the film studios (with a guarantee of who will show up), but they do tell us something about what award season campaigning will look like, and who the players might be.
The Hollywood Film Award for Breakthrough Ensemble went to the cast of Crazy Rich Asians and many of them were in attendance, including Michelle Yeoh and Henry Golding, led by director Jon M Chu. The reason I’m singling out Michelle and Henry in particular is because they’re not based in LA and, presumably, they would have had to travel to LA. And someone has to pay for that. The studio, likely, is paying for that. Warner Bros, then, still has some money to spend on CRA, which is notable because, of course, their primary Oscar focus is A Star is Born. ASIB is their favourite child, no doubt. That said, it’s encouraging that Warner Bros seems to be setting aside some campaign money on CRA perhaps for a couple of longshot nominations. A Best Picture nomination is unlikely but not totally impossible. And in the Best Supporting Actress category… why NOT Michelle Yeoh?
Oscars or not though, there’s another reason why the Crazy Rich Asians presence was significant last night, even though the Hollywood Film Awards themselves may not mean much. Awkwafina hosted the event. She then joined her cast-mates onstage for the presentation in their category, reminding the industry that there is an audience for Asian American storytelling. Don’t forget, that audience includes studio representatives and executives. These are the stops during award season where ideas are pitched, when deals get made. This is what they mean when they say they want a seat at the table.
Yours in gossip,