Virag Vida stands out as a remarkable figure in the bustling world of Hollywood journalism. As an international journalist and a member of the prestigious Critics Choice Awards, Vida has carved out a niche for herself in the industry, bringing a unique perspective to the glitz and glamor of Hollywood

Born and raised in Hungary, Virag Vida developed a passion for storytelling and media at a young age. Her journey into journalism began with a focus on European cinema, where she quickly established herself as a discerning and insightful critic. Vida’s early work laid a solid foundation for her transition to the epicenter of the film industry: Hollywood.Virag Vida’s move to Hollywood marked a significant milestone in her career. In a city known for its fierce competition and high standards, Vida’s European sensibilities and keen analytical skills set her apart. She brought a fresh perspective to Hollywood journalism, often highlighting the cultural nuances and artistic merits of films that might otherwise be overlooked. As a member of the Critics Choice Awards, Vida plays a crucial role in evaluating and honoring the best in film and television. Her votes and opinions contribute to shaping the industry’s standards and recognizing excellence. Vida’s reviews are known for their depth and fairness, offering a balanced view that appeals to both audiences and filmmakers. In our exclusive interview Virag shared with us about her journey as a journalist, artist and member of the Critics Choice Awards team:

NTM: Virag, you’ve been in Hollywood for quite some time. How did you feel when transitioning from the entertainment industry in Europe to Hollywood?

VV: I had to learn a new system and, as a creator and journalist, I first had to understand the differences. I come from the theater world in Hungary, a culturally vibrant Central European country. Initially, I saw the differences between Central European contemporary theater culture and the Californian contemporary theater culture and system. One major difference is the financial system, which is quite similar to the film industry. In the US, companies have to be creative to secure financing. In the Eastern Bloc, theaters get most of their funding from state grants and the rest from ticket sales and other sources. Here, it’s the opposite, and theaters have to be more innovative to sustain themselves. I see the same situation in the film industry. In the creative field, I believe that great ideas and hard work pay off and lead to success. However, the mainstream American film and TV industry is very professional, with many standards, traditions, and rules. I also believe that a European artist can add an extra color to this palette with a different point of view or visual perspective.

NTM: How has Hollywood changed in your eyes during the last five years?

VV: The #MeToo movement, the pandemic, the strike, and the explosion of AI have definitely changed Hollywood a lot. After these events, nothing will be the same as before. But this change isn’t necessarily bad; it’s just something we couldn’t stop. We’ll see the longer-term effects of these changes later. I am optimistic that after #MeToo, women are more protected and will be more equal in Hollywood (and everywhere else). I hope the pandemic had a positive effect, pushing artists to go deeper in their artistic journeys. I hope the strike opened ongoing communication between studios and actors and creators. I also hope AI will be used as a valuable tool or creative assistant in future film and TV production.

NTM: How would you comment on the incident between Chris Rock and Will Smith at the Oscars?

VV: I think people forget when watching the Oscars that it’s a scripted show, and it’s very rare for a presenter to improvise. Also, “roasting” is a style of the show—a part of stand-up comedy in the US, although I personally don’t like it. So, I believe Chris Rock didn’t improvise; it was a written script approved by the Academy. However, I found this particular joke hurtful and personal. It wasn’t the only joke that evening I wouldn’t have approved. But Will Smith’s reaction was unacceptable. This type of act sends a bad message to the audience and fans, suggesting that problems can be solved with physical violence. It was important for there to be consequences because being a star is not an excuse for such behavior. I also felt sorry for Will Smith, as a bright career was marred by one reckless move. This incident should definitely open a dialogue about how far jokes can go at the Oscars.

NTM: How would you comment on the scandal related to the foreign press and the Golden Globes?

VV: Major magazines like The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline, Los Angeles Times, and The New York Times reported serious issues with corruption within the HFPA. The HFPA actions made headlines, and for example, The Hollywood Reporter had a serious investigative article they worked on for half a year with multiple journalists. NBC suspended airing the Golden Globes, and studios demanded changes from the HFPA, threatening to stop working with them otherwise. The HFPA has shown some promising improvements, but I still don’t trust the organization enough to join. Instead three years ago, several international Hollywood correspondents (including myself) received an invitation to join the Critics Choice Association, which I’m happy to be part of, as it maintains high standards.

NTM: What values and goals is the Critics’ Choice Association pursuing?

VV: The Critics Choice Association (formerly the Broadcast Film Critics Association) is an organization of television, radio, and online critics and film-related writers. Established in 1995, it is the largest film critics organization in the US and Canada. They launched an international branch in 2022, inviting qualified international journalists in Hollywood. The organization presents the Critics Choice Awards, one of the most important galas in Hollywood in the ‘Award Season’, highly respected by studios and actors. The last gala proved this fact. I was lucky to attend and was breathless at the high attendance of talents and A-lists celebrities. Historically, the Critics’ Choice Awards have been the best predictor of the Oscar results. The organization aims to maintain the clarity of the CCA and its award shows and to accept more qualified journalists.

NTM: We have learned that you decided to make your directing debut. Could you share with us about the film project (genre, story, etc.)?

VV: As I mentioned, I come from the theater world—not just as a critic and journalist, but also as a creator. I directed several theater plays and had my own modern dance company (Koré Company) for over a decade. Since moving to Los Angeles, my artistic side has been somewhat in the shadows, but I started feeling that it wants more attention and is ready to come out. Over the years, I didn’t stop creating and have several scripts on my computer. One of them kept occupying my mind, and I finally showed it to a producer. She immediately saw the potential to make a film from it, and now we have started working on it. I couldn’t be more grateful for the many miracles that have happened since. An Oscar-winning co-producer is involved, an award-winning script writer wrote the script, and many famous talents said yes and confirmed their involvement immediately. It is a short film that offers a positive lesson against racism, conveyed through a metaphor. Hopefully, we can start shooting this year or next year at the latest.

NTM: Which projects of yours do you feel are your favorites, and why?

VV: That’s a hard question. All of them. It’s impossible to choose because they are all my ‘babies.’ I feel honored to represent my country in Hollywood day by day. I am very excited to start shooting my film. Another big project is coming next year, in which I will participate as Artistic Director, based on ideas from four of us.

NTM: Please share with us which new projects you are working on.

VV: Well, this project I mentioned will be very special. We are still in the early stages, but I can share that it’s connected to the 80th anniversary of Hiroshima and will involve a new form of art with lots of new technology, like VR and AR. The name of the project is Propeller Project LA 2025, and an international team is working on it. We are currently working on financing, so anyone who would like to invest in a spectacular art project should contact me for details. It’s not too late yet!

Virag Vida’s influence extends beyond her written work. As a respected member of the Critics Choice Awards, she helps guide the industry towards recognizing and celebrating a broader spectrum of talent and creativity. Her international background provides her with a unique vantage point, enabling her to bridge cultural gaps and foster a more inclusive dialogue within Hollywood.

Vida’s dedication to her craft and her unwavering commitment to excellence have made her a role model for aspiring journalists worldwide. Her journey from Hungary to Hollywood is a testament to the power of passion and perseverance in the pursuit of one’s dreams. Virag Vida continues to shape the narrative of Hollywood with her insightful journalism and critical acumen. As an international journalist and a key member of the Critics Choice Awards, her contributions are invaluable in highlighting the artistic achievements and cultural significance of the film industry. Through her work, Vida not only critiques but also celebrates the magic of cinema, inspiring audiences and filmmakers alike.

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