MCN Blogs
David Poland

By David Poland

Brother, Can You Spare 350 Dimes?

Nikki Finke has, once again, swept the LA Press Club awards with little or no apparent competition.
She is now being given awards for being the best online film critic… without any indication that she has even seen a movie this year. (Moreover, she has always mocked me for writing criticism… she the real journalist, above that lowly form… until it came to sending in an entry form.)
With due respect to Alex Ben Block & Co, these awards are a complete joke and they need to look at the world in a way that actually considers modern journalism.
It’s not so much that Nikki won something. I can understand that. The Strike Queen did something unique this season and showed us how things can be online, for better or worse. The problem is that in two of the three categories of online, it appears that there was not a single person up against her (nominations are not offered on the LAPC site), as she not only won, but there was no 2nd place, as there were in all other categories.
Alex Ben Block, admittedly, made a point of reminding me that entering the awards was happening and that I should nominate myself. But as all of us who have been online for long enough to deal with “The Webbys” experienced, self-nomination for a fee ($35 an entry at LA Press Club) is not a happy road.
It is notable that every single winner and runner up in every category is from a nationally represented news organization, used to chasing Pulitzers, etc, in the pay-n-nominate process. This is not how the web thinks.
And the ego of it… do I really want an award I had to ask for? Should anyone?
Someone pointed out a while back that The Oscars required self-nomination. And I get that. But it’s different. No one is NOT nominated by their companies if there is a ghost of a chance of a nomination. But at companies like The New York Times and Tribune Co, who is nominated and for what is the subject of all kinds of internal wrangling. Do we really aspire to the web joining that ungracious tradition… much as the winners are deserving of praise?
If LA Press Club is serious about being taken seriously (this is billed, humorously, as “1st ANNUAL NATIONAL ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALISM AWARDS”), they should get some nominating committees together, pick 20 or so nominees in each category, and break it down from there. List the 20… then the 10… then the 5… then the winner. Then, if there are people who feel left out of the 20, a method for allowing submissions can be created.
And a little transparency wouldn’t hurt. Who are the candidates? And are we really expected to take any award bestowed by 3 people seriously? “National Journalism Award” voted on by a committee of 3? I mean…
This could all come under yesterday’s theme in the Patrick Goldstein entry… maybe we just don’t think alike. That’s ok.
It would be nice to have a serious and respected award out there that breaks the narrow, political mold of The Pulitzers… but this clearly is not it… at least not as it is currently conceived.

Be Sociable, Share!

9 Responses to “Brother, Can You Spare 350 Dimes?”

  1. Working AD says:

    It is truly unfortunate that Nikki Finke is being given any awards for her behavior during the WGA strike. If anything, it would be more appropriate for her to be publicly admonished and shunned, as a way to teach her something about how to conduct oneself during difficult times for the business.
    Her attempts to grab attention during the run-up to the strike, and then during the strike itself ranged from simply cheering the hardliners on to breathlessly repeating unsubstantiated rumors and innuendo that may have helped extend the strike. In multiple cases, she posted items that were simply untrue, and then tried to retroactively edit them to remove her missteps from history. David, in one case, you yourself mentioned the particularly embarassing “Tyler Durden” fiasco, which she has yet to acknowledge and apologize. In her last, most desperate posts and headlines before the WGA voted to end the strike, she again tried to fan the flames to keep the conflict going.
    This kind of behavior is the sort of thing that really shouldn’t be given an award, unless it’s something like the Razzies. In a sense, the one appropriate step that’s been taken in her area was when she inexplicably was to be honored by the publicists and no studio would allow her to sit at their table. She tried to play it off that they were scared of her – the reality was more along the lines that they simply didn’t want to be anywhere near her.

  2. Jimmy the Gent says:

    I agree with some of Poland’s comments, but I admit to be taken aback by his seemingly backhanded slap at the Pulitzers. I know Poland will get defensive, but its these kinds of comments that makes people accuse him of hating almost everything having to do with Traditional Media. I know that’s not the case, but why must he feel to dump on the Pulitzers in order to strengthen his case against these newbie awards. You take out those comments and his argument is still strong.

  3. David Poland says:

    It’s simple, Jimmy… is there any award for internet journalism that comes within a million miles of The Pulitzer in prestige?
    There isn’t even a Golden Globes to its Oscars.
    There isn’t a Critics’ Choice Awards.
    There isn’t a LA Film Critics Association Award.
    That’s all.
    Perhaps LA Press Club wants to go there. But they are still in the same old box.
    Anyone who thinks I hate Traditional Media isn’t reading closely. I LOVE Traditional Media and its traditions. What I don’t love is the abandoning of traditions we are now seeing left and right.
    The big problem – the hypocrisy – comes when people cling to the past as an answer for the failings of the grasping for the future. Many want it both ways… they want to take risks and they want to hide behind the power of the tradition, attempting to have it both ways and to disallow a place for New Media that aspires to some level of serious discourse. That’s to what I object.

  4. LYT says:

    As I told the Press Club’s publicist, they seriously dropped the ball by not announcing the finalists. I bet that none of the winners were actually there because of this.
    If I know I have a 1 in 5 shot at winning something, I’ll show up. If it’s more like 1 in 1000, I won’t. And Nikki never shows up for any of these things.
    But yeah — Shawn Edwards of Fox TV winning? Really? Why not Earl Dittman while we’re at it?

  5. Devin Faraci says:

    Nikki seems to have stolen a story from Steve sent out a mass email – she was on the list – with the scoop that Spielberg was leaving CHICAGO 7 at 12:40. She ran it (with more info, but the same story) three hours later without attribution.

  6. Erik Childress says:

    Pretty impressive actually. Shawn Edwards wins 2007 Whore of the Year and then pays $35 to win Critic of the Year six weeks later. From whore-to-john in six weeks.

  7. doug r says:

    But…isn’t the love of teh bloggers enough?

  8. EDouglas says:

    HOw is Nikki Finke a “critic”? Does she ever actually write reviews? Surely, there are better online critics in L.A. than her.

  9. LYT says:

    EDouglas – I don’t think the award specified “film” critic. And she certainly does criticize.
    Though ultimately I suspect that people just entered the categories they wanted to and were judged as such regardless of whether the fit was perfect.

The Hot Blog

Quote Unquotesee all »

It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon