I Won Second Place for Best Film Critic of the Year From the Los Angeles Press Club, But Wait, There's Drama, Controversy! 

Self-congratulatory warning -- I just heard that the Los Angeles Press Club bestowed yours truly the second place for Best Film Critic for their National Entertainment Journalism Awards.

I was nominated in two categories -- Best Feature (I didn't win, darn it :happy) and Best Film Critic. Last year, I was honorable mention, and cliche aside, I'm just honored to be nominated, are you kidding me? Being in the throes of the Los Angeles Press Club is honor enough!

To see the full list of winners, click here.

So, since I wasn't able to make it to the ceremony last Thursday, March 26th, I was frantically perusing the internet to see who won. And I came across this harsh critique of the LA Press Club from Brian Lowry at Variety. He said these are "Five Reasons to Ignore the L.A. Press Club Awards." He's not mean to me, but good Lord:

Here are the Los Angeles Press Club nominees for "CRITIC, TELEVISION," in its second annual National Entertainment Journalism Awards, with comment:

* Shawn Edwards and Russ Simmons, Fox4 News, Kansas City (the winner)

Rightfully notorious as a "quote whore," Edwards earned the following compilation from Variety editor Tim Gray in his 2007 wrap-up of embarrassing quote ads:
"No Reservations" -- "The most delightful movie of the year!" (July 22)
"Resident Evil: Extinction" -- "The most exciting movie of the year!" (Sept. 28)
"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium" -- "The most magical movie of the year!" (Nov. 11)
"I Am Legend" -- "The best movie of the year!" (Dec. 15)

* Nancy Jay, AAFES-EXTV
I'm not sure what any of those letters mean.

* Manny the Movie Guy, KMIR6/NBC
This might sound like nitpicking, but shouldn't you have to provide a real last name to be nominated for a journalism award?

* Sandie Newton. CBS11/TXA21, Texas
Never heard of her.

* George Pennacchio, KABC-TV
Him I have heard of, but A) he's not a critic and doesn't do reviews, and B) gushes so much over celebrities that there's a constant fear he's going to spontaneously combust on them.

The same five folks, by the way, account for six of the eight nominees in the television "FEATURES" and "NEWS STORY" categories, which suggests either a dearth of submissions or that the ballots were tabulated in Florida and Ohio.

The press club's March 26 event will honor Wall Street Journal film critic Joe Morgenstern, who is certainly more than deserving of the accolades (and already owns a Pulitzer Prize). Still, with newspapers and broadcasters ailing financially, maybe it's time to spare journos from hitting up their bosses (or worse, digging into their own pockets) for the submission fees on these manufactured prize hunts -- or at least declare a moratorium.

In fact, I think that's "the best idea of the year!" (March 18)

Then, Chris Woodyard, President of the L.A. Press Club fought back by saying:


1. The club is proud of the NEJ awards finalists and everyone who entered in a difficult year. Quality journalism still matters.
2. The competition brought in 30% more entries this year than last year when it debuted.
3. The finalists were chosen by some top-notch judges, including Brian's managing editor.
4. Defying an era of group-think, the entries came from entertainment coverage veterans as well as cub reporters, smaller markets as well as NY and LA.
5. It gives us, the working press, a chance to honor the winners and toast Wall Street Journal/KCRW critic Joe Morgenstern at 7 p.m. next Thursday, 3/26, at the Steve Allen Theater, 4773 Hollywood Blvd. Everyone is invited and the parking is free.
--Chris Woodyard, President, Los Angeles Press Club

So there you have it. I'm staying out of this drama! I'm just happy as a clam that I placed 2nd. Next year? The World! :happy

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