‘Variety’ 2019 Hall of Fame Honorees Feted

Variety inducted five into its Hall of Fame Dec. 3 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The awards, which began in the early days of video, now celebrate innovation in multiplatform entertainment. This year’s event benefitted City Year.

Inductees included writer, director and producer Greg Berlanti; DreamWorks Animation president Margie Cohn; actor, writer, director and producer Bill Hader; Cindy Holland, VP of original content at Netflix; and Dametra Johnson-Marletti, GM of Microsoft digital stores business and category management.

Paramount Pictures futurist-in-residence Ted Schilowitz was honored with an Innovation Award.

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Netflix’s Cindy Holland, Actor Bill Hader Among ‘Variety’ Hall of Fame Honorees Feted

Variety inducted five into its Hall of Fame Dec. 3 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The awards, which began in the early days of video, now celebrate innovation in multiplatform entertainment. The event benefitted City Year.

Inductees included writer, director and producer Greg Berlanti; DreamWorks Animation president Margie Cohn; actor, writer, director and producer Bill Hader; Cindy Holland, VP of original content at Netflix; and Dametra Johnson-Marletti, GM of Microsoft digital stores business and category management.

Paramount Pictures futurist-in-residence Ted Schilowitz was honored with an Innovation Award.

Netflix’s Holland paid tribute to the first winner of the award, Jane Fonda.

“Jane carved a path that’s impossible for anyone to follow, but many of us have walked or worked out in her footsteps,” she said. “She continues to live a bold and daring life well into her 80s now — whether it’s on ‘Grace and Frankie’ [on Netflix] or Fire Drill Fridays [climate change protests] in Washington, D.C. She’s getting arrested every Friday.”

Holland thanked Fonda for her “kind words” in the video introduction, adding “I’m really proud to know her, and I’d like to be like her when I grow up.”

She also noted Fonda’s involvement in creating the video industry.

“Jane’s workout videos were a really important part of the home entertainment industry, where I spent a lot of my career,” Holland said. “In the early days it was the VHS boom. That was followed by DVD and Blu-ray and now streaming. While Jane was working out in the 80s, I could only dream of all the movies and television shows we now have access to in our homes and in our pockets. It’s been a real pleasure to be part of that change.”

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She urged more recognition for women in the industry.

“I’m really motivated to ensure that women in this industry have the same opportunities to succeed and more importantly to take risks, to fail, to be better for it and still be recognized,” she said.

Microsoft’s  Johnson-Marletti stressed the importance of studio partners.

“It’s not our code that customers like; it’s your content,” she said. “Thank you for a shared vision with us in bringing millions of Microsoft customers fantastic content.”

Hader, who works both behind and in front of the camera and is currently starring in HBO’s “Barry” and in Noelle on Disney+, recalled working as a production assistant and assistant editor in the industry before his breakout on “Saturday Night Live” — as well as growing up in Oklahoma.

“My grandfather used to say, ‘It’s so flat here that you can watch your dog run away for three days,’” he joked.

“So much has changed in this business since I started out, but certain things are more true than ever in this era of streaming wars or peak TV or post-streaming-war TV or whatever we’re calling it now,” said inductee Greg Berlanti in accepting his award. “I believe audiences will always want good stories, well-told, well-acted by diverse voices trying to make sense of the human experience.”

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‘Multiplatform Entertainment’ Innovators Feted at 2018 Variety Hall of Fame

Paramount Pictures president of worldwide home media distribution Bob Buchi, YouTube global head of content Susanne Daniels, Incredibles 2 director Brad Bird and “Insecure” creator and star Issa Rae were honored at Variety’s Hall of Fame dinner Dec. 4.

The digital movie sales and storage service Movies Anywhere and digital retailer FandangoNow were also acknowledged with awards at the event “celebrating innovation in multiplatform entertainment,” which benefited City Year.

See our exclusive photos from the Variety Hall of Fame ceremony here.

Buchi noted his first job working for a studio was as a sweeper at Disneyland. The rule was if he saw $20 on the ground he could sweep it up and go backstage and put it in his pocket. “Here I am 20 years later, and I’m still trying to coax $20 at a time out of consumers’ pockets,” he joked.

Saying he was “very honored and humbled” by the award, he praised the industry’s collaborative nature. “We’re all competitors but we all rally around technical advancements,” he said.

Karin Gilford, SVP and GM of Movies Anywhere, accepted the Deloitte Media and Entertainment Innovation Award for one of those advancements, Movies Anywhere. The digital movie collection service backed by five major studios launched in October 2017 with industry teamwork, she said. “Movies Anywhere is a collaborative endeavor and the success that we’ve achieved this year reflects the boundless energy, amazing creativity and commitment to teamwork that we continue to see from our partners and colleagues at Disney, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal and Warner Brothers,” she said, noting that the service is backed by six, “soon to be seven,” major retail partners.

“We continue to believe Movies Anywhere is a game changer,” she said. “Digital ownership has tremendous value.”

Director Brad Bird gave a nod to the home entertainment industry, while also extolling the virtues of the theatrical experience. “Watching something uninterrupted with strangers in the dark, there’s nothing like it,” he said. Still, home entertainment widens the audience, he noted.

“It’s also a wonderful time for movies because there are so many ways to see them thanks to all the people in this room, and when movies go to that ethereal place that they all go to, they can be viewed at any time and that’s a wonderful thing and people can be comforted by stories and watch them conveniently,” he said.

YouTube’s Daniels counted herself lucky “to work with incredibly talented people who tell compelling stories that resonate with audiences young and old.” “I’m also lucky be part of YouTube, a platform that gives people across the globe a way to share their experiences and their voice,” she added.

Rae, who got her start on the web, noted, “I’m here because of the Internet, because of YouTube.” She acknowledged entertainment executives who allowed her “space to suck.”

“Sometimes as people of color, as minorities, we can be crippled by fear of failure because we know we only get one chance,” she said.

Cameron Douglas, VP of home entertainment, Fandango, accepted the Variety Innovation Award for the digital service FandangoNow.

He created an elaborate, comedic backstory for the retailer starting with the “Fandango brothers,” who lost their dance studio in San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake. They decided to create a digital movie service, he said.

“They didn’t know what that meant at the time, but they were determined,” Douglas joked.

(L-R): Cameron Douglas, Bob Buchi, Issa Rae, Susanne Daniels, Brad Bird and Karin Gilford at Variety Hall of Fame 2018. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Variety)

38th Annual Variety Hall of Fame

The 38th annual Variety Hall of Fame awards ceremony and dinner took place Dec. 4 at the Montage in Beverly Hills, Calif.

This year’s honorees were Bob Buchi, president, worldwide home media distribution, Paramount Pictures; Susanne Daniels, global head of content for YouTube; animator and director Bob Bird, known for such films as The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Incredibles 2; actress and YouTube creator Issa Rae; and FandangoNOW, honored as an “innovative retailer” and represented by VP of home entertainment Cameron Douglas. In addition, Movies Anywhere was honored with the Deloitte Media & Entertainment Leadership Award.

See our full story on the Variety Hall of Fame here.

The event, established as the Video Hall of Fame back in the early 1980s, came with a shorter name – last year it was called Variety Press Play Home Entertainment & Digital Hall of Fame – but a broader purpose: “Celebrating innovation in multi-platform entertainment.”