Aussie lawyer wins kudos as Hollywood pundit

Mon Jun 9, 2008 12:09am EDT
 
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LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - If the name Robert Licuria doesn't immediately ring a bell, you are automatically forgiven.

In order for the handle to mean anything, you first need to be plugged into the world of Hollywood awards prognostication, which Licuria is. He maintains what might be the most elaborate and comprehensive showbiz kudos Web site this side of Los Angeles Times' The Envelope (theenvelope.latimes.com).

It's called Awards Heaven (www.awardsheaven.net), and this time of year it exists as an essential roundup of contenders for honors in the major Primetime Emmy Awards categories.

None of this is particularly distinct, of course. There are plenty of guys out there who fill up their hours -- and no doubt some aching internal need -- by showcasing their forecast skills and savvy in cyberspace. It places them on the map as members of the Hollywood pundit community, however dubious the connection.

But Licuria is hardly your run-of-the-mill Web nerd. Instead, he is a 30-year-old attorney, married and with his first child due to arrive in October, who lives and works in Sydney. That would be Australia, positioned on the other side of the world, about 7,468 miles removed from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences headquarters in North Hollywood.

There is reason to believe that this engaging Aussie barrister who likes to call everyone "mate" has a measure of influence over the Emmy nomination process based on his site, which is colorful, well-constructed, sleek and packed with highly educated predictions about who might emerge as finalists for the 60th annual Primetime Emmys in everything from top drama and comedy series to lead actor/actress in comedies and dramas to reality/competition series and numerous others.

Why does Licuria do it? Even he doesn't fully understand. But he's been keeping close track of this stuff for seven years as the only bloke who gives two hoots about the Emmys in the land Down Under, and he sees no reason to stop now.

"I suppose it is a bit strange to do this, actually," Licuria says. "Part of it is just that I love American television and have always been fascinated about what goes on in the United States. I've got a lot of family in New York. I find guessing the Emmys to be a wonderful diversion from court work and drafting heavy legal documents. We all have our fetishes, don't we?"

Indeed we do. It's just that Licuria's particular fixation speaks to the extraordinary reach of the Internet, which has squeezed the globe into the equivalent of a single tiny neighborhood. Although he averages only a few hundred visits a day to his site, Licuria has drawn professionals in the showbiz community asking him for his Emmy picks.   Continued...