Rules of Schmoozing Talent
I was amused by The Carpetbagger's admission that he actually hung out at an Oscar season party with a "major writer-director" (hmmmm....Todd Field? Bill Condon? Ed Zwick?) and then had the guts to tell the poor soul that he didn't like his latest project. Yikes.
The charm of NYT media columnist David Carr's Oscar-season blog is 1) he writes stylishly, with self-deprecating humor and 2) he milks the fact that he's not a veteran film beat reporter. That newbie aspect works for him, although I've noticed that Carr has been working harder this year, adding a red carpet assistant, The Baguette, to his labors, presumably because there is more competition. It's tough.
And yes, David, you do not tell Hollywood talent, no matter how accessible and charming they may be, that you don't like their work. They are praised to the skies, constantly. Told they are geniuses. They aren't used to hearing criticism from anybody. They can't take it. Besides, critics do their writing in the dark, without expecting to socialize. That's one of the reasons why it's important for critics NOT to socialize. If you have a close personal relationship with someone, how can you diss their movies? But for those of us on the Oscar-schmooze circuit, sheer fakery is the only way to go. Hollywood folks can't get enough gushing praise. "I love your movie!" keeps the skids greased for future encounters to come.