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The Age

What's the value of a Logie?

Date: 04/05/2006
Words: 1032
Source: AGE
          Publication: The Age
Section: Green Guide
Page: 3
Winners are grinners but do Logies change lives, asks Lucy Beaumont

YOU'D thank your mum for one, your agent, God. Bec Cartwright even thanked her dogs last year. But those who've bagged a Logie say it's no guarantee of career success.

Home and Away star Chris Hemsworth, named most popular new male talent last year, remembers the rush of winning. "It's a good feeling," he says. "You do a lot of hard work and it gets acknowledged. At the same time, I wouldn't say that it's career changing."

Actor Jane Allsop, who won most popular new female talent in 2000 for her role on Blue Heelers, was thrilled to win at the first Logies she'd attended.

"It was very shocking and surprising. Obviously, it's a great compliment," says Allsop, who adds that the award also makes the perfect doorstop - "They're very heavy and they've got a felt bottom, so they don't scratch the floorboards."

In Hollywood, Oscar winners can expect to be flooded with offers of big projects and commensurate pay packets. But Hemsworth and Allsop, both contracted to television series when they won, found life AL (after Logie) to be a lot like life BL (before Logie).

"I was in a series for five years afterwards," says Allsop, who has appeared on MDA and Last Man Standing since leaving Blue Heelers and is working on a script and expecting a baby. "There was never an opportunity to gauge whether it made a difference."

Hemsworth, who is nominated for most popular actor this year, agrees: "I've had a couple of film offers but I wouldn't say that's a direct result of the Logie. I think if you're doing good work then people notice."

Yet Allsop finds the glow of a Logie win is long-lasting and consistently mentioned in articles or interviews. "It seems to be something that people refer back to a lot."

Lisa McCune, one of this year's hosts and winner of four gold Logies from 1997 to 2000, says any award is "the icing on the cake" for an Australian actor. "Getting a job as an actor is an achievement in itself," she says. "(The Logie) has given some producers faith and maybe it has scared a few off."

While the publicly voted categories demonstrate audience acceptance, "popularity can cause a quick burn for an actor if it's not managed well", she cautions. "I make considered choices and most importantly keep those tootsies firmly cemented in reality."

The worth of a Logie appears mitigated by the fact that it usually comes after success.

Producer John Edwards, who has shared in more than a dozen Logies for shows including Police Rescue, The Secret Life of Us and Love My Way, says that programs rarely win in their first year. "You tend to get your recognition a little bit after the show has been established," he says. "Some of them you deserve and some you don't."

"It's always very flattering," Edwards says. "But if you're around long enough you win awards and if you don't win awards then you're not going to be around long enough."

Though he questions how many in the industry are aware of who wins the Logies, he concedes that they can be helpful at the negotiating table. "For Love My Way it was fantastic for Foxtel because it affirmed the risk they'd taken. It does help, particularly when the free-to-airs are very nervous about doing higher-end drama."

A Logie win is unlikely to drive up an actor's salary. "People's worth is what they're worth," declares Edwards. "It's important early on in an actor's career when they're recognised though." He cites Libby Tanner's most popular actress win in 2002 at a time when her All Saints cast-mate Georgie Parker was bagging gold. "Libby was noticed for the first time," he says. "Once she was, everyone knew how good she was and the rest took care of itself."

Chris Hemsworth says that a Logies win doesn't automatically generate a pay rise but there are other pay-offs. "You get bottles of champagne from different parts of the network. I got some Tiffany cufflinks from Channel Seven, which was nice - though I don't have a suit to wear them on."

As a publicist for actors including Lisa McCune, Claudia Karvan, Sigrid Thornton and Rebecca Gibney, Jillian Bowen says that her clients' media profiles don't correspond to the number of gongs they've won.

"I just don't think the Australian industry is big enough to see that kind of fluctuation," she says. "The bottom line is that any award is great in terms of presenting a package on a person. Whether or not it wins them a role or gets them more money, I don't think it has that much impact. That's not a reflection of the Logies but a reflection of our industry. (In Australia) we're not really about, 'Will it get me more money?' "

No one wants to talk down the Logies but TV host Rove McManus is perhaps their most unabashed fan, remembering each of his silver and three gold wins fondly. "The Logies I've been presented with have all been popular votes from the general public. That's who I perform for.

"It means a great deal to me personally. Not just the gold (logie) - that's a prestigious award and something I hold in very high regard for the sheer legacy and history behind it - but also for Rove Live."

While not widely recognised overseas, McManus says the awards can be handy bait for interview talent.

However, most would find it hard to describe a Logie as our Emmy Award equivalent with a straight face. "Even if the detractors would like to say it's not," argues McManus, "these are the only awards that we have in this country for people working in the television industry to honour their own and for the general public to honour the people they enjoy.

"I would never not want to win one."

The Logie awards screen Sunday from 8pm on Channel Nine.

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