Satellite Awards chief fires back: 'We've seen 'Wolf of Wall Street'"
International Press Academy chief Mirjana Van Blaricom blasts a press account that claims she and her members did not see "The Wolf of Wall Street" before voting for the Satellite Award nominations.
"I saw it on Saturday at 12:30 at the SAG screening," she tells Gold Derby. "I was with nine other members of my group. Over all, I saw 27 of us at that screening. Many other members saw the movie at the three other industry screenings that were held over the weekend."
Kris Tapley reported at HifFix earlier today: "The film landed five nominations, including Best Motion Picture, Director and Actor. Had they seen it? After all, it's only screened for guilds and HFPA so far. Turns out, no, they haven't seen it. Sources at the studio confirmed that they neither submitted nor screened 'Wolf' for Satellite Award consideration. And specifically, Van Blaricom, I'm told, didn't see the film. So chalk its mentions up as what they are: a blatant attempt to get people like Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio to show up at the March 9 ceremony."
Van Blaricom admits that Paramount did not screen the movie specifically to Satellite voters, but "we usually see movies at industry screenings," she says. "AFTRA and SAG voters are permitted to bring two guests and we go with them. That way we get to see movies first. The first press screening for 'Wolf of Wall Street' isn't until this Friday."
She's referring to the first official journalists' screening that Gold Derby and many other media outlets are invited to attend on Dec. 6. The only exceptions made are to voters of the Golden Globes, New York Film Critics' Circle and National Board of Review (who aren't technically journalists). Otherwise, anyone hellbent to see it sooner must hustle a guest invite to a guild screening. That's what Tapley says he did to see it on Saturday afternoon – he went to the SAG Foundation screening held at the WGA.
A studio source who knows Van Blaricom well says she did not see the Satellites' chief at the Saturday screening to which regular SAG/AFTRA members had to identify themselves by showing their membership cards and they were not permitted to bring guests, as they usually are.
"Only members of the SAG nominating committee could bring a guest to that screening," the source says, "and there are only about 20 of those. It's possible that one of them brought Van Blaricom as a guest and I didn't see her, but there's no way that 27 IPA members were there."
Jesse Bush, who organized the SAG Foundation screening, says the theater holds 475 people and was filled to capacity. When asked if she saw Van Blaricom there, Bush said, "I don't know what she looks like."
Van Blaricom could not say specifically how many of her members saw "Wolf" at all four industry screenings held over the weekend. "Of our 200 members, about 130 vote," she says. "Enough of them saw the movie to get it nominations. A movie doesn't need a lot of votes to get nominated."
That controversy aside, there are other problems with today's Satellite Award nominations. "Louie" is nominated for Best TV Comedy Series and Best Comedy Actor even though the show didn't air during the 2013 eligibility period. The last "Louie" episode aired on September 27, 2012.
"We made a mistake," Van Blaricom admits. "Our members didn't realize that when they were voting. We will fix that."
She also said that she will investigate a curious contradiction in placement of "Once Upon a Time." On the IPA's website, it's nominated for Best Comedy Series, but not in the official press release where it's up for Best TV Series or Miniseries, Genre. "We will look into that," she promised when we pointed this out.
"Veep" appears on the press release as nominee for Best Comedy Series, but not on the website. She says the website version is wrong – "Veep," yes, is nominated – and she blames her website software. "WordPress works strangely," she says.