For my New Year's resolution, I've decided to embrace the age-old
adage, If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. No more railing against the
proliferation of fatuous award shows from my modest pulpit. The Machine
is simply too big, too menacing to be stopped. So I'm feeding it myself.
May I present, for your post-holiday enjoyment, the first annual
"Tinseltown Tops" (T-Top) Awards, honoring outstanding achievements in
the field of entertainment publicity and home gardening. Let's get right
The T-Top MOP (Most Outstanding Publicist). Choosing two finalists was
easy. Selecting the winner was not. Who could overlook the Hamptons
Hellfire, Lizzie Grubman, whose spirited handling of her Daddy's SUV in
a moment of personal crisis garnered worldwide headlines. Her plight
held our interest all summer, against stiff competition from the likes
of Condit/Levy. Lizzie is one publicist who fully understands the
saying, "If you can keep your headlines while others are losing
In an ordinary year, Lizzie would have waltzed away with the prize, but
not so fast. This was also the year of the infamous Cindi Berger power
play. The PMK publicist was caught on camera yanking the mike from her
irrationally exuberant client, Mariah Carey, as if the songbird were
about to reveal state secrets to her gathered throng of adoring fans.
I have it on good information that Carey was, indeed, about to reveal
confidential test results on our missile defense system. (C'mon, you
think her subsequent hospital admission was really for "exhaustion?" It
was the CIA, man.) Anyway, we know who the Daddy is in this
client/publicist relationship. And being Daddy is better than
embarrassing Daddy. The winner, by the Daddy factor, is Berger.
Most Embarrassing Studio Publicity. Let's admit it, we're publicists,
not Abraham Lincoln. We fudge the truth a bit on occasion. We're not
liars, OK, but we're not overly inclined to let facts get in the way of
a good story. Or blurb. But Sony got busted. Big time. The David Manning
fiasco (in which Sony created fake favorable film reviews) is an
The reaction from other studio publicists was delightful snickering,
followed by the horrified thought, "We're not doing that, too, are we?"
Sony wins this one in a romp.
Most Overhyped Studio Campaign. Pearl Harbor vs. Harry Potter. Most view
the former campaign as tasteless, the latter as nauseating. As Potter
was the better film, let's let it off the hook and give the prize to
Harbor, which blatantly attempted to drag us to the theater by our
Honorable mention: Planet of the Apes.
Journalist Impersonating a (Shame-less) Publicist Award. Entertainment
Weekly's Dan Fierman wrote an obsequious homage to the remake of Ocean's
Eleven that would make even the most hyperbolic publicist blush. True,
the remake is better, but the actors, no matter how well-dressed, are
not. Charisma doesn't come from cloth. This new-school cast can't touch
the Rat Pack, proving again there's still just one Chairman, and his
name is Frank.
Happy New Year, to winners and losers alike.