Variety’s Peter Caranicas Honored With the Inaugural HPA Legacy Award

Angelique Jackson

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Peter Caranicas, Variety managing editor, features, was honored with the inaugural Hollywood Professional Assn. Legacy Award at the organization’s 14th annual gala at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Caranicas joined Variety as features managing editor in 2008, and currently serves as both deputy editor and managing editor, features. He has developed the editorial franchises Dealmakers Impact Report, Hollywood’s New Leaders, Legal Impact Report and Business Managers Elite. Caranicas also reports on aspects of film and TV crafts in Variety‘s Artisans pages. HPA board member Carolyn Giardina and Variety vice president and executive editor Steven Gaydos accepted the award on Caranicas’ behalf.

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“What a great group to be with. Part of it is my own love for this group and Variety’s connectivity to all of you,” Gaydos told the crowd. “But I also feel Peter’s in the room because I know how much of his life he’s dedicated to covering this.”

Honoring her “mentor and dear friend,” Giardina reflected on Caranicas’ four-decade career, explaining that the organization’s new Legacy Award is intended to honor inspiring leaders, mentors, influencers and those who make consistent and valuable contributions to the entertainment industry, declaring that Caranicas “is all of those things and much more.”

“Even if you haven’t met Peter, I’m certain your career has been touched by him,” Giardina added. “For four decades, he’s shared his wisdom and insights in leading trade publications reporting on everything from the birth of satellite broadcasting and cable to the rise of the internet. His work has tremendous impact as he wisely identifies the trends and interprets what they mean for those who dedicate their careers to this field.”

“As a mentor, he’s generous with his knowledge and when he challenges you to try something, you always feel in his full support behind you. That’s what he gave me as a cub reporter,” she said, describing Caranicas as “one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet.”

Gaydos recounted his own start in the movie business, working on an independent film for Roger Corman. “And what I learned then that I think is a characteristic of probably everybody in this room and the people in the industry who stay in the industry and don’t go off and go something else is — whether you’re a writer or producer, a sound guy, a cameraman, lighting, CGI, post, transportation — everybody puts everything they have into every moment as if it’s their story because everybody’s a storyteller.”

“Every one of you has his story. I don’t know how many people here Peter Caranicas has interviewed, but I feel like it’s probably half the room… And every single one of you is important to him, every one of your stories, whatever your contribution is,” he continued. “That’s why Peter is a great choice tonight to be honored because he really reflects back onto you how all of you work, which is collaboratively and passionately.”

Gaydos and Giardina then read Caranicas’ gracious comments to the audience.

“I can’t see who’s in the room tonight, but I’m sure I know many of you. And I’d like to acknowledge our friendship and collaboration over the years, many years. If nothing else, I’m getting this award for sheer longevity,” Caranicas wrote.

“The world was different when I first started writing about the business back in 1970s in New York. On TV we had a choice of three networks, plus PBS. People living in the sticks or in skyscrapers could receive those stations by cable for about $5 per month — so I’ll cry now. The NAB show was anchored by two giant broadcast corporations that no longer exist — RCA and Ampex. There wasn’t a Fox, or CNN, MTV, no internet.”

Highlighting the changing world — from the advent of HBO, video cassettes and computers to the world of today with email, online file transfer, social media and streaming — his message continued. “And now, here we are on the cusp of even more change in structure. The Chinese proverb ‘May you live in interesting times’ was originally meant as a curse, but for everyone in this room, it’s a blessing, with exploding technology always presenting us with more business and creative opportunities. From the bottom of my heart, I’d like to thank the HPA Awards committee and everyone on it for this honor and the HPA itself for the great work they do in education, professional development and uniting the entire industry.”

Caranicas’ career spans 40 years, during which he also wrote and served as editor for Video Publisher, Videography, View, World Screen, BME, Shoot, Film & Video, TVB and Below the Line.

The gala also honored excellent individuals in 12 television and film craft categories including color grading, editing, sound and visual effects, while awarding the Lifetime Achievement Award to VFX supervisor and three-time Oscar winner Robert Legato and the Judges Award for Creativity and Innovation to the 2018 documentary “They Shall Not Grow Old.”

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