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What it’s like to miss the moment of your Awards season


“It’s so good to see you, someone I can identify with!” Those words, jokingly said to me at a fancy dinner party in Hollywood Hills in January 2022, came from filmmaker Emerald Fennell. This gathering was filled with famous people whose names I won’t mention, but rhyme with Heff Scoldblum, Mud Applecow, and Carey Mulligan. (I also realize how unrecognizable that whole sentence is, and I ask your forgiveness. It will only get worse from now on.)

Now you may be wondering, “How on earth can a black man from Compton and a white woman from Hammersmith, London get along?” Well, we were both very recent recipients of Academy Awards – she won Best Original Screenplay for Promising young woman and I won best live-action short film for it Two distant strangers on a night in April 2021 that many are calling “the COVID Oscars.” (“Hollywood’s Most Glamorous Night” was held at LA’s Union Station, featuring only nominees and hosts, and their plus ones.)

Anyway, Emmie and I—she doesn’t know I call her that—were the only Oscar winners at this dinner, so of course our club of two found a corner and talked about all the ways our lives had changed since that fateful evening. an awards season like no other, with screenings taking place almost exclusively at home and campaigns mainly taking place via Zoom.

We were just two of many “COVID year outbreaks” which is an oxymoron of sorts. Our awards both took place during a global pandemic, so due to circumstances beyond our control, we lost the opportunity to really promote our work and be seen as breakthrough talent in the way you normally do in our company when you campaign for award-winning projects .

Many of this year’s incredibly talented Emmy nominees like people The bear‘s Ebon Moss Bachrach, The last of usKeivonn Montreal Woodard and Beef‘s Young Mazino – are in a very similar situation. Unable to go out and be celebrated for their incredible talent and hard work, to raise their profile and continue their path to stardom – only this time thanks to a persistent virus known as ‘AMPTP-23 ‘, which is the global entertainment system. As with COVID-19, AMPTP-23 has also put thousands of hard-working people out of work, draining their hard-earned savings and leaving some in a position where they could lose their homes…although I don’t think COVID-19 was like that. excited about the pain it caused.

Since AMPTP-23 is hard to stop and seems to be treatable only in self-induced poverty, it’s hard to say when, say, Dominique Fishback might resurface with fun anecdotes about the fear of pissing off Beyoncé when she’s brilliant at her role. Swarm or when Will Sharpe returns to the limelight to tell us how many shots he had to take against Theo James in the ocean The White Lotus. For example, I’d love to hear what little gems Jessica Williams might be hoarding about her Shrink opponent Harrison Ford.

Enter Joey Bada$$ and Zaria Two distant strangers, which won Free and co-director Martin Desmond Roe Oscars for best live-action short film.

Netflix / Courtesy of Everett Collection

Many of us who crushed our parents’ dreams by pursuing a career in the arts were fueled by our own great expectations that we’ve held since childhood: learning monologues from your favorite movies, giving your acceptance speech in a hairbrush, practicing your red carpet pose and imagining that one day we could collaborate with the likes of Heff Scoldblum and Mud Applecow.

Another spoonful of unrecognizable truth: The excitement of being nominated for an Oscar was tempered a bit by the fact that due to COVID-19 there wouldn’t be an Oscar Nominees Luncheon where I could eat, hang out, and have a drink. class photo with all my fellow nominees. And on the big night itself, there would be none Vanity purse after party to walk in while hopefully holding a little golden man. The truth is, these are the kind of moments we all dream of in this industry: to be recognized and acknowledged for doing great work, and then to celebrate with joy. Anyone who claims otherwise is lying. We’re all competitive and want to win things, and that’s okay: it’s human nature. After all, the first thing we ever did in our lives was win the race to an egg.

This year’s hardworking and talented crop of new Emmy nominees deserve their well-deserved moment in the sun — and, unlike my COVID-restricted year, the barriers to having this experience won’t kill Grandma if you take them to house. Like COVID-19, AMPTP-23 is a circumstance beyond our individual control. But the people hoarding the vaccine: they can put an end to this unfortunate situation at any time and, while there is still time, allow the dreamers to live the fullest version of their dreams.

Travon Free is an Oscar and Emmy winner whose latest project is BS Higha documentary that premiered at the Tribeca Festival and is coming soon to HBO.

This story first appeared in the Aug. 23 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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