HFPA’s bruising a bonanza for Web

Variety takes a look at Awards Season blog coverage

As awards season kicks into high gear, Variety takes a look at the bloggers and their coverage of the season.

Was this the worst month ever for the HFPA? Maybe, but it was a mother lode for the Internet.

Just when showbiz bloggers (and their anonymous commenters) began to tire of the Michael Russell Group lawsuit against the org, Ricky Gervais’ hosting stirred the hornet’s nest. Then last week, the Wrap ran the headline “EXCLUSIVE: New HFPA Bombshell — Longtime Member Commits Suicide.” The story pointed out that this was the second suicide within the group in recent years. Later, the article was toned down, with a new headline: “HFPA: Member’s Suicide Unrelated to Group.”

As for the HFPA’s ongoing suit against Dick Clark Prods., the New York Times’ Michael Cieply correctly pointed out that both sides said next year’s telecast is in danger if the dispute is not settled soon.

Finally, TMZ last week reported on a suit filed in federal court in Chicago that accuses the Russell Group of fraud in connection with a charity event. Even though the story was about the HFPA’s legal opponent, the org was made guilty by association via the TMZ headline “Golden Globes’ latest debacle has deep-rooted Chicago connections.”

And how was your month?

On Jan. 20, Deadline Hollywood’s Pete Hammond wrote, “As President Obama busily prepares his State of the Union address to be delivered on Tuesday night — the same day that the Academy Award nominations are announced — I think it’s only fitting that I deliver the State of the Oscar Race as it stands now.” So if Mr. Hammond is in fact the kudos commander-in-chief, does anyone know what his approval rating is?

On Jan. 22, Jeffrey Wells wrote on his website, “My mind is blown by ‘The King’s Speech’ having won the Producers Guild of America Best Picture of 2010 award. What happened to ‘The Social Network’? I don’t have an explanation, but I suspect it was due to some kind of involuntary generational reflex or voting spasm.” Uh, maybe. Or maybe it’s the fact that PGA is a completely different voting group from the HFPA and critics orgs.

The AMPAS website offers several videos and films. Last week, one of those short films, in which 14 Oscar-winning scripters talk about their craft, suddenly popped up on the home page of Deadline Hollywood and on its Awards Coverage page. Does the Academy know about this? Funny: You’d think if any blogger has lawyers on their speed-dial, it’s the brains behind Deadline.

Goldderby.com offered “Ten Shockers That Could Shake Up Oscars.” With Tuesday’s Oscar noms now out, only one of the 10 occurred: Javier Bardem’s acting nom for “Biutiful.”

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