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A different kind of spin for the Globes this year

A young man in a white suit and red shirt stands apart from a bunch of other young people.
Cooper Hoffman in “Licorice Pizza,” an early hit with awards voters.
(Melinda Sue Gordon / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)
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I’m dreaming of ways to wrangle an invitation to Times cooking columnist Ben Mims’ house for Christmas dinner as, apparently, he offers guests cocktails and bites as soon as they walk in the door, which is awesome, because, baby, it’s cold outside and I don’t need to take off my coat. Just hand me that cocktail and those classic spiced nuts with rosemary and I’ll gladly help with the cleanup later.

I’m Glenn Whipp, awards columnist for the Los Angeles Times, host of the Envelope’s Friday newsletter, and the guy who wishes he could hand you a drink while you read about this week’s awards season happenings.

A day of irrelevance

The Golden Globes is a brand that, for the moment, doesn’t have a televised show.

The Critics Choice Awards has a televised show but no brand. So nobody watches.

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Both groups announced their nominations Monday morning. Both groups will reveal their winners on Jan. 9. If that feels like a budding rivalry — and to the leadership of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. and the Critics Choice Awards, it most definitely does — the stakes couldn’t be lower.

Neither group has any relevance in this year’s awards season leading up to the Oscars, which will take place on the last Sunday in March — a date that, right now, feels like it’s about eight years away.

Studio and personal publicists spent the week leading up to the Globes and CCA nominations wondering how to respond. Awards recognition, even from a group as marginal as the Critics Choice, is something. And in a year where even well-reviewed, seemingly audience-friendly movies such as Steven Spielberg’s remake of “West Side Story” and the Will Smith biographical drama “King Richard” are struggling to find a theatrical audience, any publicity boost is welcome.

I took a look at that odd nominations day, how Hollywood did (and didn’t) respond and what the void left by the Globes’ absence means for the Oscars this year.

A woman and a man turn around in their chairs at a table.
Thomasin McKenzie and Taika Waititi attend the Critics Choice Awards in 2020.
(Emma McIntyre / Getty Images)

Critics Choice group has issues, much like HFPA

Since he founded the Critics Choice Awards in 1995, Joey Berlin has dreamed of the day when his show might emerge from the shadow of the Golden Globes, taking over as the awards season’s leadoff event and stealing the mantle of “Hollywood’s party of the year.”

That chance appeared to come in May, when NBC pulled the plug on the Globes for 2022 after months of controversy sparked by a Times investigation in February that detailed allegations of financial and ethical lapses among the 87 members of its voting body — and revealed that the association had no Black members.

The absence of the glitzy, star-studded Globes telecast left a void worth tens of millions of dollars in the industry’s awards ecosystem. Berlin — and about 500 broadcast, radio, print and online entertainment reporters and critics from the U.S. and Canada who make up the Critics Choice Assn. — stood ready to fill that vacuum.

Even as he tries to capitalize on his rivals’ stumbles, however, Berlin and his organization face their own headwinds, both internal and external. The show’s already modest ratings have fallen in recent years as it bounced around TV networks. And, according to some members, the nonprofit organization has been dogged by some of the same issues — including questions over its credibility, governance and potential conflicts of interest — that have plagued the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the group that presents the Golden Globes.

Times staffers Josh Rottenberg, Stacy Perman and I looked into those issues in a detailed investigation into Berlin and the Critics Choice group.

Looking ahead to the awards landscape five years from now, Berlin said, “I’d like us to be talking about: ‘Whatever happened to the Golden Globes? Do you remember them?’”

A man stands in front of a building with a marquee that reads "Century Plaza."
Joey Berlin, founder and head of the Critics Choice Awards.
(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

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‘Pizza’ poster

If you live around Los Angeles, you’ve probably seen the striking retro “Licorice Pizza” poster on billboards and bus stops and, if you’ve visited the pop-up pinball palace in Westwood, arcade machines.

Times staffer Deborah Vankin profiled self-taught artist Kat Reeder, who designed the poster for Paul Thomas Anderson’s celebrated film, exploring why the illustration has become a sensation.

“It’s like a poster you’d find in a record store or a vintage store today,” Reeder says. “I wanted to create something that would look like it’s already had a life beyond this decade.”

While making the poster — via a digital painting process — Reeder hadn’t seen the movie yet. For inspiration, she listened to the movie’s soundtrack and the L.A. sisters band Haim (Alana Haim stars in the movie), as well as Fleetwood Mac, ABBA and a whole lot of yacht rock.

“I just listen to the music and let all the images come to me,” she says.

In that spirit, I’m going to put on Jimmy Buffett’s Christmas album. Mele Kalikimaka to you and yours!

A woman sits on a bus bench that displays a "Licorice Pizza" movie poster.
Artist Kat Reeder with her ubiquitous “Licorice Pizza” movie poster.
(Adam Reeder)

Feedback?

I’d love to hear from you. Email me at glenn.whipp@latimes.com.

Can’t get enough about awards season? Follow me at @glennwhipp on Twitter.


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