The Hollywood Film Awards happened Friday night. No one knows who votes for these prizes. Maybe it's an unnamed 12-person committee, as
This evening of self-congratulation had, up until this year, been a private affair, long on film clips, tributes and rambling, occasionally unguarded speeches. Last year,
But that was before CBS decided to devote its entire prime-time programming block to the event, putting the Hollywood Film Awards, in its 18th year, on television for the first time. Host Queen Latifah took pains to explain to unsuspecting viewers the nature of the show, which in case it wasn't clear the first 158 times CBS' minions mentioned it during the red carpet pre-show, is THE OFFICIAL LAUNCH OF THE AWARDS SEASON.
"These are the highly anticipated movies you are going to want to see because everyone is going to be talking about them this awards season," Latifah breathlessly said. "Consider tonight's show a celebration of the greatest movies and a guide to films that will be coming to theaters in the next few weeks!"
Translation: "You haven't heard of most of these movies ("Wild," "The Imitation Game," "Unbroken" "Foxcatcher," "Still Alice," etc.), much less seen them. I'm not sure anyone connected with the Hollywood Film Awards has seen them, either. But we just know they're going to be GREAT as the following two-hour infomercial will hopefully make clear!"
The presence of television cameras cut the profanity -- and trimmed the length -- from the night's many, many speeches. But it also stripped the show of the few spontaneous moments it once possessed. For an event that touts the "personal connection" between presenters and awardees, it often felt like the parties had just met for the first time behind the curtain (or at the urinal, as "Gone Girl's"
Robert Duvall received a standing ovation. So did
We also learned many things: Duvall likes brisket.
See what Carell did there? He punctured pomposity. That's the only appropriate response to a faux awards show. Unless you go the
That works, too.