It’s a slow day in Hollywood, but come fall we may have new rules from the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences regarding Oscar campaigns.
I’ve heard from a couple of sources that the new rules would require publicists and studios to serve food at the same site as a screening. This would be dismaying for a lot of restaurants in New York and Los Angeles that live for after-screening receptions. In Hollywood, Chateau Marmont comes to mind. In New York, it’s a lot of places including Michael’s — where lunches in the garden have always been popular– and the Plaza Athenee.
In New York, especially, there are no screening rooms equipped to handle receptions. Indeed, you’re not allowed to have food inside a screening room anywhere. At some screening rooms there’s a foyer– I’m thinking of the Dolby on 55th St. what we call the MGM Screening Room. But it’s narrow and there’s no room for seats.
The Academy is trying to level the playing field for films that don’t have large budgets and can’t compete with the big studios. They certainly have a point. Waving the name of a great restaurant under the noses of Academy voters could be attractive bait. On the other hand, the Academy should remember that — and this is certainly borne out by the ultimate nominees and winners — voters are smart. A piece of avocado toast isn’t going to make anyone vote for a mediocre performance. And partying is part of the fun of being in on Oscar season. Remember, movies are entertainment.
There is a rumor going around that Netflix, always on top of things, has already booked SoHo House in West Hollywood to accommodate this new wrinkle. Smart idea. I do wish the world would calm down about Netflix. “Roma” didn’t win. Trump did. That’s what we should be focusing on.
PS One screening rule that I’d like to see implemented: no phones allowed inside theaters. I am tired of asking people to ‘turn it off’. You won’t believe the people who start texting as soon as a movie starts!