The Hollywood Film Awards don’t really mean anything in that even though they happen during award season – and we are firmly in award season now – they don’t predict real awards. Winning a Hollywood Film Awards doesn’t increase your chances at an Oscar. Showing up at the Hollywood Film Awards, however, is definitely an award season requirement, which is why it’s always well-attended. There were a few interesting connections last night at the Hollywood Film Awards. Let’s start with Antonio Banderas and his stepdaughter, Dakota Johnson.
Antonio is considered the frontrunner for Best Actor Oscar for his performance in Pain and Glory. He was also married to Dakota’s mother, Melanie Griffith, for almost 20 years. Clearly he and Dakota are still close because she presented to him last night, getting emotional as she recalled growing up with him at home:
"It was the most fun a kid could have," said Johnson. "We had 'Shrek' swag coming out of our ears. We loved every second of it."
And when it was his turn to speak, Antonio revealed that:
"She still calls me Papi, And I love that, you have no idea," he said, adding that the two are family even if his marriage to Griffith has ended. "We had 20 years of family life that was beautiful, but the best is still to come."
He also shouted out Stella, his daughter with Melanie, calling her his “best production”. So we know who Dakota will be voting for.
The Best Actor race is looking really tight though. Antonio is probably for sure up against Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker but Robert De Niro is now picking up some momentum for his work in The Irishman. The Irishman is going to really test the Academy – because it’s Netflix, and we know the Academy’s feelings about Netflix, but it’s also De Niro and Al Pacino in a film directed by Martin Scorsese. How do you deny that trio? Especially since, as Pacino said during his remarks last night, it’s his first time working with Scorsese. Apparently he didn’t have to audition because Bob was the one who recommended him. I mean, Netflix or not, if The Irishman doesn’t come up on nomination day, it’s going to be the hugest snub.
And finally, Shia LaBeouf received the Hollywood Breakthrough Screenwriter award for his work on Honey Boy based on his relationship with his father. During his acceptance speech he acknowledged the people who made a difference in his life:
"I want to thank the police officer who arrested me in Georgia," said LaBeouf, who carried on speaking over some laughs from audience members who thought he was joking. "For changing my life."
"…my therapist and my sponsor for saving my life," as well as "my parents for giving my life."
Shia is now sober and trying to turn it back around. Presenting to him was someone who knows a little bit about that – Robert Downey Jr who said that Honey Boy was “damn near perfect… easily the best and bravest film I have seen in years”. I imagine, for Shia, to have a mentor in RDJ, is a big deal – not only because he understands his experience but also because, well, RDJ is influential. If there were opportunities drying up for Shia over the last few years, I imagine, slowly, with friends and allies like this, new ones might be presenting themselves once again.