‘Tis the season for those of us who vote for various critics groups to receive — well, let’s call them incentives — to nominate and vote for certain films. Besides being a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association and the Washington Area Film Critics Assn. since 2013, I was one of the original voting members of the Alliance of Women Film Journalists since the group’s inception in 2006.
Therefore, I am no stranger to what those in the journalism biz refer to as graft. I don’t include the deluge of screeners that are delivered to my doorstep in November and December, since I try to see major contenders on the big screen if at all possible. But they do come handy if you need to jog your memory while writing about a certain film. Or if your spouse who sees maybe one film a year in a theater wants to enjoy “Crazy Rich Asians” without having to shave and stuff.
The freebies, never all that extravagant since there are rules and regulations in place to prevent outright bribes, fall into several categories. They include T-shirts, cute plastic tchotchkes and toys, making-of books, scripts, sheet music often signed by the composers, autographed movie posters, notebooks and, for some reason, vinyl recordings.
I can say without a doubt there is no better inducement for media types than free food. I still recall when Fox Searchlight sent out macarons for “The Grand Budapest Hotel.” For “Loving,” Focus provided a goodie package with various delish food stuffs from a gourmet store in rural Virginia, the setting for the film. If I get toys, like the squishy Big Hero 6 doll from 2014 or the foldable keyboard for “Sing” from 2016, I tend to give them away to kids of my acquaintance.
There were some inventive items last year. I actually framed a still taken on the set of “Darkest Hour” of Gary Oldman dressed as Churchill that was shot by his photog wife and signed in gold by him. My husband has a length of film encased in plastic in his office that promoted “Dunkirk.”
Do these doodads hold any sway on my decisions? Not all that much. But this year’s cache of giveaways has more than a few winners. Click through the photos above in the gallery to see what the awards Santa has brought so far this year for those of us in voting mode.
Be sure to make your picks for the 2019 Critics’ Choice Awards, whose nominations will be announced on Dec. 10. That way Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions until then. And join in the fierce prediction debate taking place right now in our forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.