Justin Timberlake

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I'm reading that Justin Timberlake is "campaigning" for an Oscar for his role in The Social Network. What does that mean, some sort of tour?
—GameB, Los Angeles, via the inbox

As delighted as I would be to report that Justin Timberlake is hosting private soirees for Oscar voters, passing out tuna tartare canapes and simpering about how lovely the voters look this fine evening, I can't.

But if Timberlake really wants an Oscar—and he reportedly does—he has some serious bootlicking ahead of him:

And at least a few exercises in humility.

After all, most Oscar campaigns aren't engineered by the talent. They're engineered by the studios, the same entities that front the most cash for those obnoxious Oscar campaigns. It's the studios that arrange private screenings "hosted" by Oscar hopefuls, and appearances at award shows and intimate dinners throughout December and January.

Timberlake's job: Shut up, follow along and obey.


During last year's Golden Globes weekend—often considered the pinnacle for Oscar campaigning—one actor told New York magazine, "I just go where I'm told. They even told me how many changes of clothes to bring."

(Next year, the Globes are on Jan. 16, two days after the cutoff for Oscar nomination balloting. But that's just nominations. Academy members still have to vote for winners.)

So what other types of events are we talking about?

If he's lucky, Timberlake may get a producer or studio head to host an "evening with" the actor featuring a private screening of The Social Network, followed by a Q&A. Actors like Jeff Bridges have hosted events like those.

In Bridges' case, it worked. He ended up winning an Oscar for Crazy Heart.

More likely, though, Timberlake will simply be showing up on a ton of red carpets and making sure that, if he wins any minor awards, he's there with a witty acceptance speech on his lips.

We're talking shindigs from the American Film Institute, the Broadcast Film Critics Association, the National Board of Review—any smug, chummy industry event that happens before the Oscar cutoff date. (From what I can glean, there are 27 critics groups alone that hand out movie awards every year.)

But it won't end there for Timberlake. He will also have to display humility and wit, mostly in interviews.

Or maybe he won't have to do any of that.

Last season, Mo'Nique blew off the New York Film Critics Circle Awards—which honored her for best supporting actress—supposedly because she had to work in another city the next day. Tongues wagged that Mo'Nique was refusing to campaign hard enough for an Oscar.

She got one anyway.

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