19 November 2019
Here in showbiz-obsessed Hollywood, we mark the change of seasons not by the weather – after all, it’s sunny every day in LA – but by awards shows. Oscars in the winter, Tony Awards in the spring and so on.
Right now is campaign season, my favourite season of the year where stars battle it out to find favour with voters for the big movie awards. Imagine a UK general election but with better-looking candidates, and you get the picture.
There are screenings, parties and receptions every night of the week where movie stars appear in front of Oscar, Golden Globe, and BAFTA voters, and doing on stage Q&As. I’m lucky enough, as moderator, to have a front row seat to many of these events.
Over the past four nights I’ve hosted Q&As with Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis, Adam Sandler and Jonathan Pryce, with Tom Hanks up next. (Is that enough name drops in one sentence?)
The point I’m getting to, finally, is that awards for best actor, actress and so on don’t just get awarded after some random vote. There are actually months of campaigning that go into it, and just like with a general election, lots of pressing of the flesh, spinning of the narratives and spending of big sums is usually required to make a particular candidate first past the post.
I’ve thought about this a lot lately while consulting on a new service being set up by Right Angles to run campaigns for movie makers who want to win awards, but need help in learning how the game is expertly played.
This battle to be the best is also the backdrop of my new Right Angles podcast, ‘Who’s the Best?’ The weekly show launches on Friday, November 22 on whosthebest.fm and everywhere where you listen to podcasts.
The idea sprang from lively debates I would have with friends, who were equally obsessed with pop culture, about who’s the best James Bond, Disney princess, boy band, Star Trek captain and so on. Using my celebrity contacts, I decided to have those same kind of debates with star guests, and record them – hence this fun new show was born.
It was also an opportunity for me to chat on air with some of my all-time entertainment idols such as Burt Ward, TV’s original Robin, in ‘Who’s the Best Batman’, David Tennant, in ‘Who’s the Best Doctor Who?’ (He got my vote!), improv master Greg Proops from ‘Whose Line is it Anyway?’ on ‘Who’s the Best Comedian?’ and singers Carol Decker of T’Pau and Denise Pearson from Five Star in ‘Who’s the Best 80’s Pop Star?’.
Whether I’m interviewing Margot Robbie about her new movie or a pop star for the podcast, it’s a pleasure and a privilege to meet these stars and life in Hollywood could only get sunnier if I was to win a best interviewer award. But how to campaign? Does anyone round here know a good publicist…?
They were all fantastic – and I hope my idols become yours, if they’re not already.
If you have any requests for future episodes, contact Sandro and the team on Twitter and Instagram at @whosthebestpod!