Reactions & Disputes

Boris Kachka‘s New York article about…well, a portion of the Los Angeles Oscar-blogging community (myself, Awards Daily‘s Sasha Stone, Gold Derby‘s Tom O’Neil, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg and Deadline‘s Pete Hammond) posted this morning. Like I said yesterday I have a beef or two but it’s mostly an honest, comprehensively reported, smoothly written thing. Boris could have been a little kinder, a little more complimentary…but I guess I can live with it. For the most part he played it straight and fair.

The first portion focuses mostly on Stone and O’Neil, the middle section touches on Hammond, Feinberg and the general lay of the land. (Those who didn’t say anything particularly quotable or those who said nothing get little or no attention.) The last 25% focuses largely on myself. I’m just going to fly through the piece and post reactions as they come to me.

(1) Kachka describes our gang as “a motley and contentious lot, comprising shameless advocates” — a reference to myself and Sasha — “stats-obsessed would-be Nate Silvers” — obviously alluding to Feinberg — “and seasoned journalists.” I chuckled at this passage: “When the aspen leaves start to turn in August on the eve of the Telluride Film Festival, the pack closes in” — an obvious allusion to rats or wolves — “on the big prize a mere six months away.”

(2) I posted this yesterday but here goes again: Kachka says that in early 2013 I “predicted glory for Saving Mr. Banks on the basis of a leaked script alone”; in fact the title of that piece was “If Saving Mr. Banks Is As Good As The Script” — the operative term was “if.”

(3) Kachka says that I’m “often derided in Hollywood.” I know exactly what that’s about, and it’s water off a duck’s ass. “But he’s also praised by auteurs like Alfonso Cuaron, J.J. Abrams and Guillermo del Toro for being genuinely, helplessly sui generis.” Thanks, guys.

(4) Boris mentions the James Mangold/Vanessa Shaw/Lionsgate incident of 2007, but he didn’t care to mention (as he should have) that the embarassing request in my letter to director James Mangold was contained in a single paragraph, and that the entire letter ran 15 paragraphs, and that it covered a lot of honest ground about 3:10 to Yuma — candidly, bluntly. Nor does he mention the Tim Palen-related motives behind the letter surfacing in the first place. (Here’s the whole rundown and the whole explanation, chapter and verse.) This town is full of genuinely vile serpents, and I don’t include myself among them. I told Kachka I regret writing that one paragraph, and that my light-to-moderate alcohol intake back then (wine and beer in the evenings) might have been a factor. I’ve been sober for nearly two years now. I’m a bit happier, clearer of mind and more productive as a result. I say and write fewer things that might conceivably get me into trouble.

(5) Sasha, whom I regard as a friend and vice versa, characterizes me as being “disrespectful to women.” That’s a sloppy and unsupportable thing to say. I challenge her to make that case in print. I asked Sasha to explain this yesterday and she said it’s not so much me as my allowing HE commenters (another wolf pack) to say shitty, sexist things about this or that actress. (Example: LexG referring to Amy Adams as “Grandma Adams.”) She also says I’m disrespectful to the disabled, and that is also bullshit despite what the p.c. brownshirts (two of the most prominent being Anthony Breznican and Guy Lodge) said at the time of the Manchester, Connecticut theatre-noise episode that I posted about last October. (I was told by the son of a person who was there that the person making noises sounded like a duck or a platypus, and I made the mistake of mentioning this in a comment thread, not in the article itself.)

(6) The most disparaging comments about the Oscar-blogging set come from (a) Nikki Finke (who claims that everyone except for Deadline‘s Pete Hammond are “non-entities, charging $20 for ads“) and (b) an Oscar consultant who says “if you thrown them some shekels, they’ll leave you alone.”

(7) The last 13 paragraphs about what Kachka observed during his visit to the Santa Barbara Film Festival earlier this month. The last seven graphs are entirely about what happened at the after-party for SBIFF honoree Cate Blanchett. I respect and appreciate Boris’s scrupulous recounting of the particulars.