Film Critics Disqualify Disney from Year End Awards Due to L.A. Times Ban (UPDATED)


Update: According to The New York Times, Disney has backed down and agreed to lift their press ban on the Los Angeles Times.

Over the past few weeks alone, we’ve seen a handful of news stories surface that have painted Disney in a rather unflattering light. Now it appears that the Mouse House has sparked another controversy by throwing their weight around in an attempt to control media coverage. The Los Angeles Times published an article back in September about the company’s questionable deals with the city of Anaheim and Disney responded by blocking the Times’ film critics from Disney press screenings and related resources. Now four major groups of film critics have banded together to fight back by disqualifying Disney releases from any of their year end awards. Here is their official statement on the matter:

The members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Boston Society of Film Critics and the National Society of Film Critics jointly denounce the Walt Disney Company’s media blackout of the Los Angeles Times. Furthermore, all four critics’ organizations have voted to disqualify Disney’s films from year-end awards consideration until said blackout is publicly rescinded.

On Nov. 3, The Times published a statement that its writers and editors had been blocked from attending advance screenings of Disney films, in response to The Times’ news coverage of Disney’s business arrangements with the City of Anaheim. Disney’s actions, which include an indefinite ban on any interaction with The Times, are antithetical to the principles of a free press and set a dangerous precedent in a time of already heightened hostility toward journalists.

It is admittedly extraordinary for a critics’ group, let alone four critics’ groups, to take any action that might penalize film artists for decisions beyond their control. But Disney brought forth this action when it chose to punish The Times’ journalists rather than express its disagreement with a business story via ongoing public discussion. Disney’s response should gravely concern all who believe in the importance of a free press, artists included.

The New York Film Critics Circle will vote on its annual awards Thursday, Nov. 30; the Los Angeles Film Critics Association will vote Sunday, Dec. 3; the Boston Society of Film Critics will vote Sunday, Dec. 10; and the National Society of Film Critics will vote Saturday, Jan. 6.

This disqualification would apply to such movies as Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Coco, Beauty and the Beast, Cars 3 and Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. While the latter two probably would not have received much recognition anyway, Thor: Ragnarok is currently the 10th highest rated 2017 film on Rotten Tomatoes and probably would have made some of those lists. Of course, the Marvel movies don’t really need the extra help (and neither will Star Wars: The Last Jedi) but Pixar’s Coco could end up suffering the most here. Do you think this is a fair response to Disney’s attack on the press?

Around the Web:

  • Beat_C

    frank was right all along.

  • pineapplepuss

    I don’t get what the big deal with banning the press is. If it’s your movie that you’re showing early, you can let whoever you want to watch it. They’ll get to watch it anyway once it releases officially. They need to quit being crybabies and go find something else to whine about.

  • Kevin Cardoza

    The big deal is that it was an attempt by a company to intimidate any press who would report on news that could be perceived as negative.

  • Lori Cerny

    Agreed. Disney is trying to influence box office and merchandising by shushing the naysayers. It’s all so Orwellian.