Sunday, February 18, 2018

Award Season 2017 - The Screwing Over of Timothée Chalamet (Updated)

Twice nominated BAFTA actor, Timothée Chalamet
Update 2.19.18: Based on the great views my article has received, I just wanted to provide some information about myself regarding my interest in the Oscars. I have been an avid Oscar watcher and fan since the early 90s, so I have a history of watching awards campaigns for over 25 years. This year in particular, due to my interest in the success of Call Me By Your Name, I have made note of the industry awards season in relation to this film and its lead actor. The theories I share below are educated assessments based on what I have observed over the years. I am an active voting member of the Film Independent Spirit Awards.

I admit, I'm a bit more emotionally raw and invested in this awards season due to one particular performance: Timothée Chalamet in Call Me By Your Name (CMBYN). Since mid-November, I have been blown away by the subtle but astonishing performance of Timmy in this film, which I have seen it five times in the theater, the fifth and final time just last night. I have never seen a film more than twice at the theater, let alone five times. And the primary reason why I have enjoyed CMBYN so much is because of Timothée Chalamet. According to his wikipedia page, which keeps great tracking of his critics/guild award wins/nominations, Timothée has won 23+ honors for Best Actor and Breakthrough Performer, and most notably by the LA Film Critics, New York Film Critics, Chicago Film Critics, London Film Critics, and Gotham Awards. Timothée won some of these awards very early on in the awards season which should have put him on the radar of the guilds. However, I have several theories as to why the critical wins did not translate to guild wins for this amazing actor.

1. The Golden Globes started off the awards season by giving Gary Oldman, an actor who has rabidly criticized the organization, and with this win, they sanctioned to the other guilds that Gary was going to be the designated Best Actor winner of 2017. Regardless of Gary's unfortunate comments about how Jews run Hollywood, apparently, to those very people who are a huge part of the voting block, all is forgiven. Even Gary was gobsmacked that he won. So to ensure a steamrolling path, Gary subsequently went on a talk show to even apologize for past assholish behavior, a much needed PR move orchestrated by his PR team and Focus Features, the studio behind his Darkest Hour film. The Golden Globes are a joke, but a fun and key awards joke that is great to win because it helps get the ball rolling for most winners. And in this case for Gary, beating Timothée off the bat like that in January, pretty much sealed the deal in the awards season in his favor. Even Timmy looked stunned that he didn't win as he was still high off the fumes of winning so many prestigious critics group wins. But alas, the guilds industry has another actor in mind. Additionally, with the suppression of news about Timmy's latest critical wins in the trades, it was obvious since mid-December that the trades were on Gary's side. Why promote the wins of the kid the industry doesn't want to win?

2. When it comes to the Best Actor award, the industry is set up to favor veteran actors, white males over 45. The voting base of these voting bodies are overwhelmingly straight white males over 55. They like to vote for men who are like them. Make of that what you will. Timothée Chalamet is not one of them. A huge strike #1 against him. Although Timmy came out the gates a winner with the critics, the awards machine went into full Gary mode and did what they do best in ensuring that their guy wins the guilds. With such a blemished personal record history on file about Gary, it is amazing, utterly spellbinding that he has sailed through this awards season like Teflon Don - nothing from his crazy past is coming back to haunt him during this critical awards giving time. Nothing!

3. A vote for Gary Oldman is not necessarily a vote FOR Gary Oldman, as it is a vote NOT going to Timothée Chalamet. This is a case of vote for the devil you know. The powers that be know that Gary has a crummy reputation, but he's a great character actor who has a wonderful 30+ years film career that is due to be rewarded. I now must admit defeat in acknowledging that there is no way in hell, the previously mentioned majority voting body of the guilds, is going to let a slight, just turned 22 year old pretty boy actor from New York, win their major awards. I held out 'idealist' hope that talent would trump politics, but I'm the fool in thinking this old establishment would suddenly change their ways, fuck transparency and blatant favortism for actors who are over 45. Regardless of how beautiful some of us think Timothée is, he's not a woman, and thus, not fuckable in the eyes of the straight white males (even in this #MeToo period) who hold the majority power in swaying votes towards a particular actor. Strike #2 against Timmy.

4. Timmy starred in a low-budget beautiful Indie film. This is strike #3. The Oscars aren't fond of awarding itty bitty independent films made with less than $4 million. That doesn't impress them. Recently, and by design of a certain film studio hell bent on having their actor win the Oscar, is the sponsoring of articles that feature so-called Oscar voters to discuss who they plan to vote for. One of these silly voters actually claimed that CMBYN is 'too indie' and therefore they will not vote for it. Gee, what a great way to taint the voting process you fucking idiot! This is yet another example of the bias, and the blatant, shameful practice of manipulating the voting process in support of particular actors. Oscar voters need big productions, loud sounds, A-list stars, particularly, A-List cool older dudes. Oscar voters aren't too impressed or comfortable with gay films. Oscar voters are uncomfortable with a gay film featuring a young man who really does look 16 falling in love with a man who looks closer to 30. Oscar voters don't like newcomers too much, especially actors under 30. They'll nominate them and call that their reward until they put in the time to prove themselves in ways that their female counterparts don't have to. Also, with Moonlight and its Supporting Actor winning last year for political reasons, there was no way that the Oscars was going to permit a lead actor in a gay film, let alone permit said gay themed film win Best Picture two years in a row. A political organization using politics to pre-determine winners is no coincidence!

Timothée in London
Amazingly, Timothée Chalamet has lost every single televised guild award this season to Gary Oldman. Again, this is all by design. Timothée Chalamet wants to win, he wanted to win the awards he was nominated for. To say that he did not is foolish. This is a young man who confessed in his recent interviews that he doesn't know what else to do other than be an actor. He left Columbia to pursue his acting career because he couldn't study and go on casting calls at the same time. His mother pleaded with him to finish his degree as a back up plan, but Timmy knew what he wanted to do with his life. Columbia is one of the top universities in the world, and he gave that up to be a full time actor! And to be so awarded in his first lead role does wonders for one's self confidence and ego, and convinces one that they are indeed on the right career track of being an actor. But yet, to lose time and time again, and so publicly has to hurt, it has to be a kick in the gut. And I think that final kick happened today in London at the BAFTAs where Timmy couldn't even win in the Rising Star Award, an award voted for by the British public. The key is British Public Vote. The British vote for their own. Timothée Chalamet was well known enough to be nominated in the first place, but for him to lose out really shocked me and was the main reason for this blog post. Timmy was nominated in two categories, Best Actor and Rising Star and he lost both out to British guys. This was cruel and embarrassing, especially since they had the audacity to place him in the front row of the BAFTAs where he sat there and looked straight up at the two guys who beat him.

One positive thing I will say about Timothée is how he has managed to remain so professional, friendly, sweet, happy, and mature during this awards season. I think he has been coached by his management team on how to deal with the disappointment of these award ceremonies, and he has been prepped on what to expect as the season rolls out and not winning the acclamation he deserves. Yet, he dresses up in the finest designer suits, and looks absolutely handsome at each award show as he is now coming to understand that the industry has already selected this year's Best Actor winner.

I will not be watching the Oscars because I already know who is going to win, and none of the actors/actresses who are going to win are compelling enough for me to tune in and watch them be GIVEN their Oscars. As I tweeted the other day, if the current line up of industry favorites win, their ages of the four people are between 49-60. If these thespians win, this will be the most mature Oscar winners photo op in recent memory. This is not the time for hot millennial guys - they still need to wait until they grow up and prove themselves per Hollywood expectations. For people to say that Timmy will win an Oscar in the future... well, when will that happen exactly? No human being knows when they are going to die, so what comfort shall Timmy take in thinking he'll get it at 25, 35 or 45 when waking up tomorrow is not guaranteed for any human being? Recall how AMPAS toyed with Leonardo DiCaprio for all those years, just because they could? They screwed him over to the point where the man reached the age of 40 (the 'ok, it's safe to give the manboy his Oscar now' age ), paid $10 million to charities (double his usual charitable contributions), and he sought the blessing of the Pope weeks before Oscar voting in 2016. Just Google pictures of him with the Pope!That's how desperate and thirsty Leo got, and I'm sorry he had to wait 10 years over his due to get his Oscar. I don't want this to happen to Timothée!

It's my hopes that Timothée wins his Best Actor Oscar much, much sooner than later because if he's showing this potential at 20-22, he's on track to getting it within the next 6 years, and he'll still be on track to be the youngest man to win the Best Actor Oscar, a piece of gold plated metal that we cinephiles place too much damn value on.

All bets are now on the Film Independent Spirit Awards on March 3 which are awards designed to award Indie performances just like Timothée's as the Oscar is designed for Oscar bait thirsty career performances like Gary's. But as things played out today, I will wait with bated breath until Timothée's name is called as Best Actor for the Spirit Award. If he wins that, this award will make up for all the bullshit politics he tolerated since January 14th. However this award season ends, Hollywood now knows Timothée Chalamet, and perhaps one day in the future, they'll feel comfortable awarding him the highest honor in the industry.


  1. Thank you for this insight into what it's becoming one of the biggest mistakes of all times in terms of acting awards, in my opinion.
    I'm not usually so invested in this kind of things, I know that at the end of the day it's not really an Oscar or a Golden Globe that make an anctor's career or really speak for their craft. But this year it's different. It seems so obvious to me that Chalamet actually gave the best performance of the year, and it's becoming painful to see him lose the big awards to Gary Oldman. I have nothing against Oldman, whose acting career I definitely respect. I don't deny that he should have probably won an Oscar already, but this year? No, this has got to be a joke. What baffles me is that you just have to take a look around the internet, read forums of people who just enjoy watching movies but also people who actually know about this industry, critics and the likes, to see that almost everybody and their mother believe Chalamet gave the best performance of the year. And yet, Gary Oldman is the winning actor. It's become clearer than ever before that this year the choice of Best Actor has little to do with the actual performance given and a lot (or almost all) to do with politics and behind the scenes stuff.
    I watched the Bafta yesterday and while I did hope Chalamet could finally be given his moment, which he deserved, in from the cameras, I expected him to be left out again, because just a little research was enough to realize that a young American actor wasn't going to win over Kaluuya and Oldman, no matter how much he deserves it.
    I will watch the Oscars, hoping for the impossible, but day after day, award ceremony after award ceremony, is becoming more and more difficult to accept the fact that while Chalamet gave the best performance of the year, a fact recognized by basically everyone, critics, movie lovers, actors, pears, reporters, it's still Gary Oldman who will win the Oscar, just because he's overdue, he's a while old man and the safest choice. I find it horrible that if you're a young woman you have all the chances to win an Oscar, but if you're a young man you're going to be screwed over. It speaks loud about the industry and it's, to my eyes, unacceptable.
    I wish more people, journalists and critics, would speak out about this issue: it's not possible, it's not fair, that Chalamet is going to be robbed of the Oscar, like he was robbed of all the other televised awards, in the general silence.
    All respect to Gary Oldman as an actor, I have nothing against him and I actually was happy to see him win the Bafta yesterday in front of his family, but the real winner of the year is Chalamet and if everyone wants proof, you just have to watch the last scene of Call Me By Your Name: that alone should have won him the Oscar.
    Just to be clear: I am not in love with Chalamet, I am not a teenager, I am not blinded by his looks, I have nothing against Gary Oldman. I just firmly believe, like most everyone else, that Chalamet gave the best performence. And it sucks that he won't get what he's due just because the Academy members (who know too, for damn sure, which was the real best performance of the year, do not like to reward beautiful young actors, unlike their female counterparts.

  2. Hi Mauela, thank you for your thoughtful comments. Like you, I'm a female cinephile over 40, not in love with Timothée or blinded by his looks, but as a cinephile, I recognize great acting when I see it, and when I see it, I want that performance to be rewarded. As I explained in my article, the strikes against Timmy are ingrained in the system, and it's unfair, it's the elephant in the room, it's the dirty secret of the industry. You pose a great question about why don't journalist and critics speak out against this bias and politics in the Oscar process. Well, I'm sure some have, but the majority are scared of ruining business relationships and they for the most part, have accepted the bullshit of it all because... it's just the way things are. It's quite disheartening.

    Like you, I enjoy the work of Gary Oldman, but for him to be given these awards just because the industry isn't ready to honor the new kid on the block is a travesty, it's lazy, it's wrong, but, it's their award and they will rig the system however they like to give the award to someone that makes them feel better about themselves as an organization. I will bite my tongue about the Bafta's rising star award as the nationalism of that award makes it worthless to even bother nominating non-Brits.

    Thanks for your comment.

  3. Thank you for this!!! I hope to tweet this to @TheAcademy every day from the Academy voting period February 20-27.

  4. I sense the anger and frustration you're feeling given your appreciate how the system works! Like you, I'm happy for those who got the awards but Mr Chalamet did really deserve an award at the BAFTAs for that performance. I have said this on tweets that I no longer feel these awards are fit for purpose. The Dunkirk film relied on special effects as compared to the original 1950s version which was a logistical nightmare but I feel the more accessible for that. Similarly the Darkest Hour relied unbelievably heavily on prosthetic enhancement and deceived the audience as to the person #Churchill was, he was aristocratic and ordinary folk had their place which he stuck to. The subway consultation didn't and would not have taken place. Listen to Churchill speech CDs & quickly see how slightly off everything actually is. #CMBYN was a pure ensemble piece and repeat viewings has revealed the multifaceted nature of the whole performance. In Mr #Chalamet's case his strength currently lies with his physicality and in particular, the joyous subtleties of his head and facial expressions. He was a total knockout in a demanding role with never anywhere to hide when on camera pretty much in every frame. The director has done a wonderful thing here with the picture being drawn as a collaborative effort, lit as in the old masters and at a pace that draws you into relaxing in this pre internet mobile age. Certainly I'd be happier if he was getting awards but in this day and age is it fit to have first past the post anymore? Whole quality performances are being slighted in the current system not to mention whole swathes of the communities who put cash over the counters and into subscription and now rightfully demand they be heard and represented.

    I don't rate the old ways as, as you suggest, they represent a stifling of creative process, underpinning the old put out, win awards pasty repugnant trails of old and frankly they just don't know what to do with motion capture and complete make up performance. So good luck to the winners, it's our 'turn' to feel unheard for another wee while and the old crusty awards bodies to further remove themselves from a public increasingly saying : what - as awards are announced.

    On British TV Mr #Chalamet was significantly under represented on the BBC such as Graham Norton show and the #CMBYN film wasn't given a Mark Kermode review nor have I heard him mention the film. The Observer did use an alternate reviewer who did a great job but I did feel the film needed an Ellen type slot in the UK to get a buzz going sooner. So aye, it'll be "we was robbed" by the looks of things but change must and will come!

  5. @David Thomas, thank you for your eloquent comment. I really appreciate your historical information about the falsehood of the underground scene. As I watched the film, I was wondering, did this really happen? I couldn't imagine someone like Winston Churchill taking a subway to get opinions about how to defeat Germany by the lower classes. It stunk of Oscar Bait scene groveling. I'm embarrassed that this was even in the film, and on top of all that, that THIS performance is somehow superior to Timothée Chalamet's. sigh... I just shake my head. Thanks!

  6. Just did a quick Twitter search

    @KermodeMovie Call Me By Your Name

    This gives a series of returns and at a glance, you'd be forgiven for thinking there was an actual dialogue with the critic but on drilling down it's just that folk copying him in on their thoughts but there is no feedback from the critic himself which I've found quite odd really. Perhaps he doesn't genuinely have anything good to say about CMBYN

  7. The Oscar's is old fashion prize, and they aren't read to change their rules. Unfortunatelly. Cause Chalamet deserve this prize more than others.

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  9. Maravilhosa essa matéria, fala de como os grandes prêmios de cinema estão passando vergonha esse ano não premiando o melhor do ano, Timothée, por conservadorismo. E que o Oscar vai fazer o mesmo. Fala de como Tiimothée deve estar desanimado sabendo que é o melhor do ano e não sendo recompensado por tais prêmios maiores ( e vendo outros atores subirem para pegar o que deveria ser seu por direito). O bom dessa coisa horrorosa que estão fazendo com ele, é que dessa vez estão escancarando o quanto essa indústria é podre e enlameada por uma politicagem no mais alto grau de escrotisse . Nunca mais veremos essas premiações como antes, depois desse ano vergonhoso.