By Sandy Cohen
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES _ For those who feel like Hollywood’s awards season can’t start soon enough, you’re in luck.
The Hollywood Film Awards, which bills itself as “the official launch of awards season,” is making its television debut Friday on CBS.
Scores of stars are expected at the Hollywood Palladium event, including Johnny Depp, Angelina Jolie, Ben Affleck, Jennifer Lopez, Robert Pattinson, Chris Rock, Benedict Cumberbatch, Reese Witherspoon and Robert Downey Jr. Queen Latifah is host of the two-hour ceremony, which will feature a performance by Janelle Monae.
Founded by entrepreneur Carlos de Abreu and his wife, former model Janice Pennington, the Hollywood Film Awards have been presented off-camera since 1997.
“It’s been the best-kept secret in all of Hollywood and we’re going to bring it to millions of people on television,” said CBS executive Jack Sussman, who signed on to broadcast the show after attending the ceremony last year. “It had this very kind of cool, almost everybody’s- in-the-same-family vibe.”
Contributing to that energy may be that many of the night’s awards recipients will be recognized for films that haven’t been released or even previewed yet. The show’s qualification period doesn’t end until six weeks after it airs on TV.
Seth Rogen, who presented a Hollywood Film Award to his longtime collaborator Judd Apatow in 2012, marveled at the idea of offering prizes to films no judges could have seen.
“Perhaps the most amazing thing about this awards show tonight is that none of these movies have come out yet,” Rogen said. “I haven’t even heard of some of these movies yet. That’s how far out they are.”
There are no nominees for the Hollywood Film Awards and there are no set categories (they’re sort of designed to fit each of the winning films). Eighteen awards will be presented Friday; four were previously given off-camera. Judging is also a bit murky, with winners chosen by a secret committee of 12 “industry insiders.”
But Sussman of CBS said holding the show in the fall is great for viewers.
“We’re going to give you a sneak peek at the rest of the movies,” he said, adding, “You’re catching people at a moment in time where they haven’t been waterlogged by awards show after awards show after awards show that includes movies.”
Hollywood’s awards season has traditionally begun at year’s end. Golden Globe nominations will be announced on Dec. 11, and awards presented on Jan. 11, 2015. Academy Award nominations will be announced Jan. 15, with the Oscar show set for Feb. 22.
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