THR Features Editor Highlights ‘Dirty Games’ of Awards Season

Right after introductions were made for a weekend panel discussion at the Savannah Film Festival featuring The Hollywood Reporter trio of Stephen Galloway, Scott Feinberg and Tim Appelo, Galloway offered some intriguing observations about the first phase of this year’s film awards season.

Picking up on Feinberg’s analogy that the process resembles a Presidential election campaign, with the “primaries” of film awards season (festivals, critics awards, Golden Globes) leading up to the big night of the Oscars, the THR executive editor of features noted what is now business-as-usual:

“The [favored films] lists start to come into play; people start to jostle; potential winners begin to emerge. And then, like politics, the dirty games start.”

“I was fascinated, a couple of weeks ago, when the New York Times wrote a piece questioning the authenticity of the book behind 12 Years a Slave. It’s based on a memoir by a black man who was captured and enslaved for 12 years, Solomon Northup.”

“He wrote this book in the 1850s. It’s one of about 110, 112 authentic, pre-Civil War slave narratives. And here in the New York Times is a whole piece about, ‘Well, is it really true?’ Now we know the names of the people who plant these stories, or – and we were just talking about this yesterday – casually whisper, ‘You know, as a journalist – an objective journalist – you should really look into this. Because you know, the book’s a pack of lies.’ / ‘It is?!?’ And suddenly, somebody starts to write.”

“Look at the stuff about Gravity and all the astronauts saying, ‘Well, it isn’t true. They’re in different orbits.’ These things will gather weight, and as the films begin to gain momentum… these things will [also] start to gain momentum. And then the question is, do they lodge, do they have an impact?”

Later, during the audience Q&A portion, Galloway shared his experience with another brand of “dirty” politics. In response to a woman who said she was supremely jealous of his, Feinberg and Appelo’s professional stations, the features editor replied: “You wouldn’t be supremely jealous when you’re in a hotel room with an unnamed [Hollywood] executive who threatened to kill you, maim you, torture you, wound you, throw you from the window or buy The Hollywood Reporter so he can fire you.”