Hollywood Media is Abuzz With a star columnist’s request for priority access

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Highly respected awards columnist at The Hollywood Reporter causing a stir in the Hollywood press over an email he sent to studios and strategists last week, asking for priority access to this year’s hottest upcoming movies. If the studios did not comply, there could be consequences, he suggested in the email. “As you plan to distribute your film(s), I would respectfully request that you do not show films to any of my fellow pundits before you show them to me, even if that person presents himself to you as (a) a potential reviewer, (b) needs to see the film to be part of decisions about covers, or (c) really anything else,” Scott Feinberg, THRexecutive editor of the awards, he wrote in the email reviewed by Vanity Fair.

“We feel that is clearly unfair THR, because it puts us at a competitive disadvantage, especially at film festivals, where every second counts,” Feinberg wrote. “It’s not unreasonable to ask that someone be either an awards pundit or a critic/cover editor, but not both, at least during the season of the awards. awards,” he said, expressing the apparent frustration of critics and editors who also give out awards. He — especially awards pundits — jumped in line to get to shows. Feinberg, a longtime Hollywood columnist, is best known for the “Feinberg Forecast,” in which he predicts various showbiz awards races, and for his interview. Chatter Awards podcast.

In the email, he went on to imply that there would be consequences for studios that continued to widely distribute invitations to screens, and “moving forward, [THR] that may be taken into account when curating roundtables, podcasts and other broadcasts,” he wrote, referring to the sought-after spots on the discussion series on are celebrities selling. Sources who saw the email – which I’m told was widely leaked and circulated even further – found it to be an absurd attempt to get ahead of his competitors or an understandable risk that they had to take seriously. “As someone who is organizing and leading this year’s Oscar campaign for a particular title, put a really bad taste in my mouth,” said a senior publicist at a major studio, who notes that the early screening decision “stays with me. , and it lives with people who work with filmmakers.” They said: “It’s clear that this culture of pre-screening has just gotten out of hand if you have these types of emails going around, where people want to see it on in front of their competitors, who are actually colleagues.”

Penske Media Corporation took over operations of the THR in 2020, as it continues to expand its entertainment news footprint. The company also monitors Date, Variety, Rolling Stone, Billboard, and Indiewire. A spokesperson for PMC clarified in a statement that Feinberg “in no way meant to imply that he should see films before others, but simply that awards analysts should see them at the same time and not receiving favorable treatment,” he said. the email was “artfully worded” and Feinberg plans to follow up with the studios and strategists to make that clear. “It was Scott’s understanding that there had been cases where other awards analysts had gained early access to a film by claiming to be a reviewer and were able to see films before others. “It was not the intention to suggest any consequences for allowing Scott to be looked at early,” said the spokesperson.

In many ways, Feinberg’s question speaks to this time in Hollywood – as the writers and double-entendres collide to turn the entertainment media apparatus on its head. Feinberg specifically noted his desire for exclusivity “given the friendly silence in the industry,” and earnestly expressed his hope to work with film promoters during what will likely be a good awards season. strange SAG-AFTRA, the union that represents Hollywood actors, has banned actors from promoting their work in the media, putting an indefinite moratorium on everything from cover shoots to interviews to red carpets. At the same time, the screenwriters’ work stoppage has brought the entertainment industry to a standstill. “The famous factory has closed,” CEO Ankler Janice Min told Vanity Fair last month. “If this goes on long enough, you’ll feel it all over the Internet.” Trade publications like THR and Different it’s likely to be even bigger, because there’s lost advertising—especially around campaigns for your consideration—that comes with media blackouts.

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