×
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

  • Anastasia Kirillova, Ru Kuwahata, Max Porter

    Rooftop Films Announces Filmmakers Fund Grant Winners

    Swedish documentary filmmaker Anastasia Kirillova and “Negative Space” co-directors Ru Kuwahata and Max Porter are among the filmmakers who will receive grants from Rooftop Films to help complete their upcoming projects. Kirilova will be awarded $20,000 to finish her film, “In the Shadows of Love,” while collaborators Kuwahata and Porter will receive $10,000 for “Dandelion [...]

  • Jim Gianopulos

    Paramount Chief Jim Gianopulos Unveils Diversity Initiative

    Paramount Pictures chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos has announced that all studio productions will be required to complete a plan to enhance diversity. Wednesday’s reveal follows Paramount’s commitment to participating in Time’s Up and Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s 4% Challenge. The name is derived from women having directed only 4% of the country’s top grossing movies [...]

  • Leave No Trace

    Oscar Analysts Are Sincere -- but Often Totally Wrong

    With Oscars arriving Feb. 24, we can expect multiple “who will win/who should win” columns. There will also be a flurry of post-show analyses about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and why members voted the way they did. Since AMPAS never releases polls or voting tallies, these pundits will never be contradicted [...]

  • On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    On Eve of Oscars, Variety’s Film Experts Answer Three Pressing Questions

    We continue to live in a divided world, with the current political landscape in the United States a seemingly endless hotbed of tumult and acrimony. Issues of racism, bigotry, diversity and gender equality drive the creative players as well, with Oscar-nominated films parlaying said themes into compelling, thought-provoking cinema. To analyze 2018 in big-screen entertainment, [...]

  • Karl Lagerfeld'Lagerfeld Confidential' Photocall at the

    Karl Lagerfeld Remembered at Costume Designers Guild Awards

    The death of fashion and costume designer Karl Lagerfeld cast somewhat of a shadow over the usually jubilant Costume Designers Guild Awards — the only award show where clothes literally steal the spotlight away from actors — which was held at the Beverly Hilton on Tuesday night. Here it was obvious that Lagerfeld’s impact on [...]

  • 'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: Early Reviews

    'Captain Marvel' First Reactions: 'The MCU Feels More Complete'

    “Captain Marvel” is soaring following advanced press screenings on Tuesday. Reactions from early showings have hit Twitter, and audiences are keen on Marvel’s first female-led standalone movie. Critics are praising Brie Larson’s performance as Carol Danvers, the nostalgic ’90s setting, and the cosmic sci-fi elements. Goose, Danvers’ cat, is also getting a lot of attention from [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and Astrid (America

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Flying to $40 Million-Plus Debut

    Universal and DreamWorks’ “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” will soar to the top of the domestic box office when it debuts this weekend in over 4,000 North American theaters. The studio anticipates an opening around $40 million, which would fall just short of the debut of its predecessors, 2010’s “How to Train [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content