I was watching “Spotlight” last night and was thinking about Rachel McAdams and a funny thing that happened on a show I worked on years ago. Often times when it’s the end of the year and the staff goes off for Christmas Holidays you fill airtime with a “best of” episode or a previous show repeat. A colleague of mine came up with a good idea, how about a pretend award show? One of our hosts wore a fancy dress, the other rented a tux and we filmed the two of them in a theatre with spotlights and a podium. We didn’t have an audience so I edited the episode with fake applause and laughter. The script featured the corny jokes you would see/hear from a normal show but the categories would be different. Our show even had a nickname for the awards “The ATMI” (At the Movies).
In order for the show to work we had to create categories based on interviews we had done for the year. “Most bizarre interview” went to Nick Nolte for his rambling on in the “Hulk” junket. The interview with the most swearing was Colin Farrell for his blue language in the “Alexander” press day. We did have one legitimate category and that was for “Best Newcomer.” Rachel McAdams had just starred in “The Notebook” but more importantly she was in town filming some scenes for the series “Slings & Arrows.” We could actually hand her the award in person and get her to say something! There was a slight problem. The award show was made up and I had no trophy!
A couple of days before we were to present Rachel with this trophy I went down to a store that made them for the local soccer teams and school assemblies and managed to find the ugliest trophy I could find. It looked like a set piece from a Tim Burton film. I was very proud of it until my boss took one look at it and said “You are not giving that thing to Rachel McAdams.” I went back to the store and found a classier looking one with a wooden base and a glass circle on top. I had the guy in the store etch into the glass “Best Newcomer Rachel McAdams.”
We sent our reporter to a scheduled set visit where she was to present Rachel with her ATMI. Rachel seemed genuinely thrilled and if I remember correctly even told us “This was the first award she’s ever won!” We filmed her acceptance speech and included it in the show.
Last night as I’m watching Rachel’s Academy Award nominated performance in “Spotlight” I can’t help but wonder, did she keep her ATMI? Would she have placed an Oscar next to it if she had won? That would be awesome.
In case you’re wondering, the ATMI’s were only held once, so Rachel was the first and only winner of “Best Newcomer.”