It’s the second biggest gig of the year and from the audience perspective I suppose most people would consider the ‘British Academy Film Awards’ to be a rather glitzy affair, and they’d be right… to a degree.
For behind the pomp and ceremony, cameras, bright lights and occasional fights (thank you Mr. Crowe), its an exercise in train-spotting and an opportunity for backstabbing (I of course mean back slapping).
The country’s largest self-appreciation society ball, known affectionately to the maddening crowd as ‘The Luvies’, boasts a thousand sensitive egos to boost or bruise this night, and only twelve hours of solid drinking time in which to get it done.
But it isn’t just the stars and the desperate wagon-train of circling wannabes that can leave battered and broken, even we mortal directors are pretty reliable targets.
My first encounter with Dustin Hoffman for example left me feeling stunningly stupid. We met at the awards, Mr. Hoffman was holding court, much to the titillation and pouting flirtation of several rather gorgeous young-looking grandmothers (blessed is the power of the knife).
I handed Hoffman my business card, which he readily accepted. He squinting, managed to scan the information and then with an alerting cough vied for the attention of the nearest hundred or so Hollywood producers and then proceeded to read the content aloud.
The words rolled off his tongue with playful contempt, much to my discomfort and the amusement of his biding minions.
Then, without warning, playing to his fans, he placed my card inside his mouth and began to chew!
I stood there in a kind of paralysis, agog, as Hoffman’s harem cackled and cooed their pleasure until finally Hoffman gulped and consumed the soggy remains of my once legible and previously, I had assumed, inedible card.
I smiled weakly, and thanked him for his time, to which Mr. Hoffman duly thanked me also… for his dinner.
I parted his company burdened considerably less of ego than when I’d arrived.
We have since spoken a couple of times, but I now only approach him after the dinner… but before the brandy.
- Dustin Hoffman successfully treated for cancer (today.com)