Awards Circuit‘s Clayton Davis has been running around the award-season mulberry bush for 15 years, and now he’s ridden that horse into a new gig as Variety‘s film awards editor — the same position held by Kris Tapley until he left the trade publication 17 months ago, and more or less same job held down by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg.
A sharply observant, politically fleet-footed type of guy (and who can blame him in this current climate of political terror?), Davis will begin his Variety duties as of Sept. 1.
Davis will deliver the usual award-season razzmatazz and soft-shoe tap dance — racetrack odds on various Oscar contenders, predictions about this and that, softball interviews, assessments of the intrinsic or historic value of you-name-it and who-the-fuck-knows?, etc.
Variety film-awards editor Clayton Davis
The art of award-season coverage was aptly summed up by Laurence Olivier in a third-act line to Jean Simmons in Spartacus: “You tread the line between truth and insult with the skill of a mountain goat!” (Or, if you will, the line between truth and flattery.) Most showbiz journos and columnists never approach that line, much less tread it. They like to hang in the shade.
No offense and due respect but Davis will almost certainly never use the term “Ma Bumblefuck” as a nickname for Glenn Close‘s “Mamaw” character in Ron Howard‘s Hillbilly Elegy. (The term was coined by Hollywood Elsewhere on 2.24.20.) Variety doesn’t want that, and that’s not who Davis is.
Another likelihood: If West Side Story‘s Ansel Elgort is once again attacked by Twitter wolves over the non-issue of having insensitively cut things off with “Gabby” after a brief romantic fling, Davis isn’t likely to stand up and call bullshit like Sasha Stone did on 6.21.20, and like I did on on 6.19.
Davis now stands side by side with Variety‘s award-season team — the longstanding Tim Gray, deputy awards and features editor Jenelle Riley, senior editor and red carpet guy Mark Malkin, and Artisans editor Jazz Tangcay.