×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

How Will Hollywood Harassment Scandals Impact Awards Season?

With new allegations surfacing daily and once-respected artists falling from grace, Hollywood finds itself on edge amid a sexual misconduct scandal that has everyone wondering, “What’s next?”

Going by the calendar, awards season voting is next. Ballots go out to the Screen Actors Guild’s nominating committee Nov. 16, and before long, critics groups will be chiming in with year-end superlatives. A number of the disconcerting stories making headlines are bound to have an impact as the atmosphere continues to be one of paranoia and dread.

“There have been whisper campaigns and accusations of plagiarism in the past, but this is different,” said veteran awards strategist Tony Angellotti. “This is beyond bad behavior like a temper tantrum, which everyone sees every day of the week in Hollywood. We’re all just basically moving through life as if we’re shell-shocked all the time: ‘What other shoe is going to drop? Is it going to be part of my life?’”

For Ridley Scott’s “All the Money in the World,” disgraced star Kevin Spacey was tipped early on for supporting actor consideration. TriStar Pictures had planned an extensive campaign centered on his transformation; the two-time Oscar-winning actor is — or rather, was — unrecognizable under mounds of movie makeup in the film. But following a Variety report revealing that plans for Spacey’s campaign had been scrapped, the decision was made to excise him from the film entirely. Scott recast with Christopher Plummer in the role of oil tycoon J. Paul Getty, and TriStar still plans to make its Dec. 22 release.

At this point, however, the film is expected to miss a number of early deadlines. There will be no SAG screenings or DVD screeners for the nominating committee. Critics’ Choice Awards voters, as well as the New York and Los Angeles critics groups, won’t be able to consider it, nor will the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. (meaning no Golden Globes potential). TriStar is aiming to have a showable film by Dec. 15, according to a studio spokesperson.

Spacey’s situation also caused waves in the TV world, as Netflix ground production on the final season of “House of Cards” to a halt. The actor has won two SAG Awards for his work on the series, which put the streaming company’s original programming on the map, and the show has been a Golden Globes and Emmys mainstay.

In terms of year-end awards positioning, certain ships have already sailed. A promo reel featuring Spacey has gone out to SAG voters, for instance. But Netflix has time to pivot; the expectation is for the company to tone down the overall campaign while not sacrificing the contributions of others on the series. Awards support for cast and crew outside of Spacey will not change, a source says.

“I think the impact is gigantic for a campaign,” said awards strategist Richard Licata of Licata & Co. “There are ad deadlines and budgets attached to these campaigns. So when there’s news like this and you have to change your plans, in a lot of cases you have to cancel some of the advertising you booked in July and August. So there’s money lost there.”

“The impact is gigantic for a campaign. There are ad deadlines and budgets attached. So when there’s news like this and you have to change your plans, there’s money lost.
Awards strategist Richard Licata

Also among the losers: Sony Music-owned distributor The Orchard, which acquired Louis C.K.’s film “I Love You, Daddy” at the Toronto Film Fest for $5 million. Screeners of the film were arriving on voters’ doorsteps Nov. 9 just as news broke that multiple women had accused the Emmy-winning comedian of masturbating in front of them — charges the comic confirmed were true. The Orchard had an awards strategy in place that might have helped the company recoup its investment. The next day it announced it had completely scrapped plans to release the film.

Amazon has also been embroiled in the scandal. Not only did executive Roy Price step down amid allegations of sexual harassment, but Jeffrey Tambor, star of the company’s flagship series “Transparent,” was hit with a harassment claim as well. “They’re really shaken by all of this,” one consultant said. No firm decisions have been made on strategy, but insiders speculated that the spotlight could shift away from Tambor. As with “House of Cards,” there are other supporting players to highlight on “Transparent,” such as Judith Light and Gaby Hoffmann, but there’s also a sense the show is trending downward with awards anyway; Tambor was outmatched by actors like William H. Macy (“Shameless”) and Donald Glover (“Atlanta”) last season.

For an increasing number of Hollywood players, however, awards are the last thing on their minds.

More Film

  • Against the Clock

    Film News Roundup: Andy Garcia's Spy Thriller 'Against the Clock' Bought by Gravitas

    In today’s film news roundup, Andy Garcia’s spy thriller is sold, “Battlestar Galactica” gets a screenwriter, and Brooklyn Decker gets an award. ACQUISITION Gravitas Ventures has acquired North American rights to spy thriller “Against the Clock,” starring Andy Garcia, Dianna Agron (“Glee”), and Justin Bartha, Variety has learned exclusively. The film, formerly titled “Headlock,” is [...]

  • 'Pacific Rim Uprising' film premiere

    John Boyega in Talks to Star in Legal Drama 'A Naked Singularity'

    “Star Wars” actor John Boyega is in talks to star in the legal drama “A Naked Singularity” with Ridley Scott’s Scott Free Productions on board to produce. The movie is based on Sergio De La Pava’s debut novel, which centers on a successful New York public defender whose life begins to unravel after he loses [...]

  • Aquaman 2018

    'Aquaman' Outpacing 'Wonder Woman' in Fandango Pre-Sales

    Pre-sales of “Aquaman,” which opens on Thursday night, are outpacing “Wonder Woman” at the same point in the advance ticket sales cycle on online ticketer Fandango. “Wonder Woman” opened with $103 million domestically during the June 2 to June 4, 2017, weekend on its way to a $412 million North American total for Warner Bros. “Aquaman,” [...]

  • European Union Placeholder

    Europe, Hollywood Hail Landmark E.U. Territorial Licensing Agreement

    Industry organizations and major companies in Europe and Hollywood welcomed Tuesday a high-level European Union agreement that in large part preserves producers’ ability to sell movies and TV shows on an exclusive territory-by-territory basis. Territorial licensing is a financial backbone of the film and TV business in Europe. Recognition of such licensing came last Thursday in [...]

  • Box Office: 'Aquaman,' 'Mary Poppins Returns'

    Box Office: 'Aquaman' Battles 'Mary Poppins Returns' in Crowded Holiday Weekend

    It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and the most competitive time at the multiplexes. This weekend sees two very different heroes vying for the box office crown with “Aquaman” and “Mary Poppins Returns” both eyeing sizable debuts. “Mary Poppins Returns” is getting a head start by opening on Wednesday, though estimates show “Aquaman” [...]

  • John Mulaney's Pitch for 'Spider-Ham' Film

    John Mulaney’s Pitch for ‘Spider-Ham’ Film: ‘‘Spotlight’ ... but Family Friendly'

    There is much to celebrate about “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”: groundbreaking inclusion, a ’90s hip-hop soundtrack, Kathryn Hahn’s neurotic villain. But the arguable breakout star of the film is Peter Porker, aka Spider-Ham, voiced by John Mulaney. The prolific comedy writer, stand-up, and rising animation star (see “Big Mouth”) charms as one of the more [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content