After the first four AFAA Award Ceremonies in the period 1976 to 1980, the ‘Eroticas’ hit their stride in the 1980s when an abundance of good quality adult films were made. Given that movies like Talk Dirty To Me, The Dancers, Neon Nights, Cafe’ Flesh, and Roommates were critical and box office hits, and their stars and directors were fast becoming superstars in the industry, it made sense for the industry to recognize their own achievements. The Adult Film Association of America, headed by Dave Friedman, was the dominant body behind the adult film industry, and it fell to the organization to recognize the talent in a lavish manner on an annual basis.
And yet controversy was never far away – from accusations of bias (which led to a different method of deciding the winners each year) to the East Coast filmmaker’s continued complaints that they were being overlooked compared to their West Coast counterparts. Even the actual ceremony itself came under fire, with critics accusing it of sanitizing the business (participants were asked not to swear or remove any clothes, and the only film clips that were shown were heavily censored).
Nevertheless, in the words of Georgina Spelvin, it was the annual company picnic, an event that allowed everyone to come together and feel part of a bigger community – one that was often under fire from the outside world.
The quality of the pictures is variable as they’ve been taken from a variety of sources – some being low resolution.
1981 – Fifth Annual Erotic Film Awards
|Best Pictures:||Tie: Talk Dirty to Me / Urban Cowgirls
Nominees: Amanda By Night, Insatiable, The Budding of Brie
|Best Actress:||Samantha Fox (The Lady is a Tramp)|
|Best Actor:||John Leslie (Talk Dirty to Me)|
|Best Supporting Actress:||Georgina Spelvin (Urban Cowgirls)
Nominees: Gloria Leonard, Jesie St. James, Juliet Anderson, Vanessa del Rio
|Best Supporting Actor:||Richard Pacheco (Talk Dirty to Me)
Nominees: Jamie Gillis, John Leslie, Joey Silvera, Randy West
|Best Director:||Tsanusdi (Urban Cowgirls)|
|Best Screenplay:||The Budding of Brie (Doris Borrow & Henri Pachard)
Nominees: Bad Penny, Dirty Lilly, Erotic Adventures of Candy, Girls of Pussycat Ranch, Hot Skin, Little Girls Blue, Little Orphan Dusty, Sweet Savage, Sex World, Take Off, The Health Spa
|Best Foreign Film:||Ta mej i dalen a.k.a. Practice Makes Perfect (Sweden)|
|Best Musical Score:||Amanda by Night (Ronni Romanovitch)|
|Best Song:||‘Title Song’ (Vista Valley PTA) – Ben Dorsett|
|Best Set and Art Direction:||Urban Cowgirls (Ektor Carranza)|
|Best Cinematography:||Urban Cowgirls (Ken Gibb)|
|Best Costume Design:||Urban Cowgirls (Cheree Eastmore)|
|Best Editing:||Talk Dirty to Me (Tim McDonald)|
|Best Trailer:||Vista Valley PTA (Cal Vista)|
|Best Advertising Campaign:||Vista Valley PTA (Chet Collom)|
|Media Man of the Year:||David Chute|
|Woman of the Year:||Virginia Ann Perry-Rhine, past AFAA president|
|Man of the Year:||David F. Friedman, a past AFAA president and current board chairman|
|Pioneer Woman of the Year:||Ava Leighton|
|Pioneer Man of the Year:||Dan Sonney|
The fifth annual awards were again held at the Hollywood Palladium, and the show was once again produced by Jack Genero. 600 people attended (on this occasion there was no room for the general public), and the M.C. was Mike Caldwell.
For the first time, the event was videotaped and offered to cable and subscription television stations, as well as to the public via a limited issue VHS cassette. Ron Jeremy was hired by the video producers to interview the arriving luminaries (such as Svetlana, in the picture). He also engaged in comic battle with the usual protestors outside the venue.
Attendees arrives in limos, motorcycles, and on horseback: Al Goldstein arrived dressed as a Roman centurion in a motorcycle sidecar driven by two lusty maidens wearing Screw t-shirts. Lee Carroll arrived atop a white stagecoach drawn by six horses wrangled by a Ronald Reagan look-a-like. Georgina Spelvin – who won the best supporting actress award for her role in ‘Urban Cowgirls’ – arrived on an elephant said to belong to restauranteur Howard Johnson. Sadly, but maybe predictably, the elephant was particularly slow and Georgina was reported to have arrived after most of the other guests had been seated.
In keeping with the AFAA’s emphasis on dignity and propriety, ceremony producers were once again accused of taking the event too seriously. Due to Carol Connors‘ previous record at the awards, this year the organizers threatened her with ejection if she displayed any more flesh than her see-through dress already revealed. Connors reacted by removing her underwear and waving them about her head. Somehow she managed to persuade the organizers not to eject her.
To make matters worse, the organizers were then accused of double standards when the opening number by the Casablanca dancers featured three topless performers. In the words of one critic: “It’s OK when they endorse the carnal choreography, but it’s a no-no for freelancers.” David Friedman even apologized for the off-color language used by a few of the performers in accepting their awards.
Gloria Leonard was having none of it, and took matters into her own hands, organizing an impromptu display of nudity in the restrooms: “The excitement was in the ladies room, where the photographers were flashed by Marilyn Chambers, Carol Connors, Seka, Lisa DeLeeuw, Jody Maxwell and me,” she said.
At the serious end of proceedings Sidney Niekirk – who was taking over as president of the AFAA from Maria Tobalina – stressed the strides made by explicit X-rated films in gaining wider and wider public acceptance. His speech was somewhat undermined by the fact that under California law, explicit sex scenes could not be screened where liquor is served – so all clips shown on the big screen before each major award were heavily censored.
‘Urban Cowgirls’ walked away with the most Erotica awards – despite the fact that it was accused of not opening until 1981 thus technically making it ineligible for the retrospective awards. Samantha Fox won her second successive Best Actress award.
As usual, some critics cried foul accusing the AFAA of bias, and expressing outrage that ‘Amanda By Night’ had been passed over for the Best Film award, not to mention Marilyn Chambers’ big-budget return, ‘Insatiable.’
Special AFAA awards were presented for meritorious service in the front-line trenches of the porn industry. Several of these were incestuous nods to AFAA veterans such as David Chute (‘Media Man of the Year’), Ann Perry (aka Virginia Ann Perry-Rhine, ex AFAA President, ‘Woman of the Year’), Dave Friedman (past AFAA President and then Chairman, ‘Man of the Year’), and Dan Sonney (‘Pioneer Man of the Year’).
Entertainment was provided by Jaye P. Morgan who performed a 45-minute set of pop songs. From 1976 to 1978, Morgan had been a regular panelist on the popular game/variety show ‘The Gong Show’, where she was eventually fired for flashing her breasts. Morgan seemed pleased to be featured at the awards, commenting, “I love seeing your faces for a change.”
Once again Hugh Hefner held an invitation-only after-party. The invitee party was headed by – who else? – Gloria Leonard.
Lee Carroll arrives with a Ronald Regan look-alike
Comic Paul Lynde signs an autograph for Annie Ample
The Casablanca Dancers
1982 – Sixth Annual Erotic Film Awards
|Best Picture:||Nothing to Hide
Nominees: Neon Nights, Outlaw Ladies, Games Women Play, Skintight
|Best Actress:||Georgina Spelvin (The Dancers)
Nominees: Chelsea Manchester (Nothing to Hide), Annette Haven (Wicked Sensations), Mai Lin (Oriental Hawaii), Annette Haven (Skintight)
|Best Actor:||John Leslie (Wicked Sensations)
Nominees: Randy West (Country Comfort), Ron Jeremy (Bad Girls), John Leslie (Nothing to Hide), Richard Bolla (Indecent Exposure)
|Best Supporting Actress:||Holly McCall (Nothing to Hide)
Nominees: Jesie St. James (Oriental Hawaii), Merle Michaels (Outlaw Ladies), Lisa DeLeeuw (8 to 4), Georgina Spelvin (Indecent Exposure)
|Best Supporting Actors:||Richard Bolla (Outlaw Ladies) and Richard Pacheco (Nothing To Hide)
Nominees: John Leslie (Bad Girls), Paul Thomas (Wicked Sensations), Eric Edwards (Indecent Exposure)
presented by Chuck Vincent
|Anthony Spinelli (Nothing to Hide)
Nominees: Chuck Vincent (Games Women Play), Henri Pachard (Outlaw Ladies), Cecil Howard (Neon Nights), David I. Frazer & Svetlana (Bad Girls)
|Best Screenplay:||The Dancers (Michael Ellis)
Nominees: Cecil Howard (Neon Nights), Chuck Vincent/Jimmy Jones (Games Women Play), Michael Ellis (Nothing to Hide), Henri Pachard (Outlaw Ladies)
|Best Musical Score:||Rhinestone Cowgirls (Randy Rivera)
Nominees: Outlaw Ladies (Jhana Productions), Nothing to Hide (Ronny Romanouvich), The Dancers (Chet Moore/Jim Moore), Beauty Pageant (Bob Lind), Bad Girls (Bill King)
|Best Song:||‘Glory Bound’ (from Rhinestone Cowgirl) (Randy Rivera)
Nominees: ‘Saran Lakes’ (from Outlaw Ladies), ‘Nothing to Lose’ (from Nothing To Hide), ‘8 to 4 theme’ (from 8 To 4), ‘Neon Nights’ theme (from Neon Nights), ‘Beautiful Forever’ (from Centerfold Fever)
|Best Set and Art Direction:||Pandora’s Mirror (Maria Ranoldi)
Nominees: Outlaw Ladies (Eddie Heath), Games Women Play (Pat Finnegan), Bad Girls (Svetlana), Nothing To Hide (B.C. Lewis/Marti Maxwell), Oriental Hawaii (Eddie Duncan)
|Best Cinematographers:||Games Women Play (Larry Revene) and Nothing To Hide (Jack Remy)
Nominees: Mike Stryker (Skintight), Larry Revene (Outlaw Ladies), Jean Petrov (Bad Girls), Carlos Tobalina (Oriental Hawaii)
|Best Costume Design:||Country Comfort (Sarah Yesko)
Nominees: Eddie Heath (Games Women Play), Maria Tobalina (Oriental Hawaii), Cindy Matzker (Bad Girls), Renata Ranaldi (Pandora’s Mirror)
|Best Editing:||Outlaw Ladies (Arlo Schiffin)
Nominees: Terrance O’Reilly (Nothing to Hide), James Macreading (Games Women Play), David Frazer (Bad Girls), Hayes Dupree (Skintight)
|Best Trailers:||Skintight (Hayes Dupree) and The Dancers (Terrance O’Reilly)
Nominees: Cecil Howard (Neon Nights), David Frazer/Svetlana (Bad Girls), James Macreading (Games Women Play)
|Best Advertising Campaign:||Nothing To Hide (Jimmie Johnson)
Nominees: Cecil Howard (Neon Nights), Svetlana (Bad Girls), Games Women Play (Jim Johnson/Penelope Gottlieb), Maria Tobalina (Oriental Hawaii)
The Sixth Annual Awards marked a departure in various ways from previous year’s ceremonies.
This time the event was held in two distinct segments: first, the awards ceremony took place at the Variety Arts Theater in downtown Los Angeles, starting at 7pm on July 8, 1982, before an audience of 1,200. Then the event transitioned to the Hyatt Regency for a dinner celebration with entertainment and dancing.
The second difference was the method of selecting the award winners: This year the AFAA appointed an independent panel of three representatives not associated with the adult film industry to decide the five finalists in each category. Then an independent seven-member jury was appointed to select the Erotica winners, instead of having a vote of all AFAA members. The decision was taken as Jack Genero, chairman of the awards program, explained in a press release “to eliminate political pressure on the voters and to assure as impartial selection process.”
The seven members of the jury were:
– Dianne Grosskopf, editor of Playgirl magazine
– Arthur Knight, film critic, cinema professor at USC, author of ‘Sex in the Cinema’
– Molly Haskell, film critic,and writer
– David Rensin, author of articles and a book on adult films and videotape
– Robert Rimmer, author of a number of books on the adult film industry
– Andrew Sarris, editor of Village Voice and film critic
– Bruce Williamson, film editor of Playboy magazine
The jury members viewed videotapes of each of the nominated films and performances. They were instructed to vote independently by filling out questionnaires provided by the AFAA, and then to submit the results to the AFAA’s independent accountants.
Four of the jurors gave interviews in advance to discuss their thoughts on adult films and how they intended approaching their responsibilities.
Jack Genero and Dave Friedman – perennial chairman of the AFAA board of directors who also served as master of ceremonies – decided that the theme of the ceremony would be ‘Fame’, and that ten people who had “brought adult entertainment to a dignified and very important point in its evolution” would be honored.
Genero said, “Every year the show gets bigger and better, and income from the television sales (from the previous years) has been plowed back into each year’s show to the make the shows more polished.” That revenue made it possible to hire Tony Award-winning Broadway director Jonathan Lucas to put the show together.
Lucas’ first decision was that the presentation ceremony itself would last no longer than 55 minutes and long meandering acceptance speeches would be discouraged. (“We want them to look gorgeous – and talk fast,” he said.) Lucas was also responsible for having all five of the nominated songs sung by talent from the adult community, plus two big production numbers performed by professional dancers choreographed by a Broadway ‘legend’, and large blow-ups of pictures of men and women who were being honored as part of the ‘Fame’ theme. Additionally, comic Charlie Callas performed.
The ceremony was video-taped and sold to cable television companies in the U.S. and overseas, creating “a potential audience of 50 million viewers”, according to the AFAA.
Topping the list of nominations was ‘Nothing to Hide’ with 13 out of a possible 15 nominations, including one in each of the four best acting categories. ‘Outlaw Ladies’ was second with ten nominations, and ‘Games Women Play’ came in a close third with nine candidates.
Adam Film World reported that, “when Chuck Vincent presented Anthony Spinelli with his Best Director award for ‘Nothing to Hide’, the veteran’s eyes misted over as he recalled in his acceptance speech that “people used to call ’em fuck films – but now they’re called adult films and I’m very proud!” A few minutes later, Georgina Spelvin got a rousing ovation when Bobby Astyr handed her the Best Actress trophy for her role in ‘The Dancers’ (her sixth such award) and she said: “I hate to tell you this, but I still call them fuck films!”
Some critics felt that other films were more deserving. Velvet magazine commented that, “Through incredible oversight, the producer/owner of ‘Nightdreams’ did not apply to the AFAA for film nominations. However certain aspects of this film were so superior to anything else done in the X-rated field that if it had been entered, only political chicanery or simple bad taste on the part of the judges would’ve prevented ‘Nightdreams’ from winning a couple of awards.”
The theory for why ‘Nothing to Hide’ had done so well was clear to Velvet magazine: “Judging from the number of awards won by ‘Nothing to Hide’, you’d think that it was some sort of masterpiece. However the judges must have viewed a different version than we did. What we saw was a plodding, corny attempt at ‘Monday Night at the Movies’ that lacked guts or innovation. Perhaps it’s no surprise that AFAA president Sidney Niekerk and ‘Nothing to Hide’ producer Sidney Niekerk are the same person! Three of the other nominees – ‘Outlaw Ladies’, ‘Games Women Play’, and ‘Neon Nights’ – easily outstripped ‘Nothing to Hide’ on most levels, including sexual heat.”
This theme carried over to some of the acceptance speeches as well. John Leslie, winner of the Best Actor award for the film ‘Wicked Sensations’, dismissed his own performance stating that his best role was actually in ‘Nothing to Hide’. Sidney Niekerk accepted the award for Best Supporting Actress on behalf of Holly McCall, but suggested that her performance merely was the result of working with the director, Anthony Spinelli. (“She was fortunate to have worked with such a professional!” he said.)
Al Goldstein made his usual entrance – this time dressed as Superman hanging in mid-air courtesy of a special crane, and was interviewed on arrival by Ron Jeremy who was conducted street interviews for the second year running. Velvet magazine reported that some stars who had been threatened with eviction on previous occasions stayed away this time in protest. This included Carol Connors, Annie Sprinkle and Maria Tortuga. There was also rumor of a boycott from east coast filmmakers protesting against the alleged west coast bias.
On eperson who was notable by his absence was John Holmes. He’d been acquitted of murder charges a week earlier, and his existence was airbrushed from the awards ceremony – much to the annoyance of Bill Margold. (“There wouldn’t be an X-rated industry without John Holmes”, he said.)
1983 – Seventh Annual Erotic Film Awards
Nominees: Body Talk, Foxtrot, Irresistible, Undercovers
presented by Harry Reems
|Veronica Hart (Roommates)
Nominees: Samantha Fox (Undercovers), Kelly Nichols (Roommates), Loni Sanders (Never So Deep), Marlene Willoughby (Foxtrot)
|Best Actor:||John Leslie (Talk Dirty To Me Part II)
Nominees: Eric Edwards (Titillation), Richard Pacheco (Irresistible), Jake Teague (Foxtrot), Steven Tyler (Body Talk)
|Best Supporting Actress:||Veronica Hart (Foxtrot)
Nominees: Sharon Mitchell (Blue Jeans), Jesie St. James (Casanova, Part 2), Kay Parker (Body Talk), Kay Parker (Taboo 2)
|Best Supporting Actors:
presented by John Leslie
|Jamie Gillis (Roommates)
Nominees: R. Bolla (Foxtrot), Richard Pacheco (Never So Deep), John Regis (Undercovers), Randy West
|Best Director:||Chuck Vincent (Roommates)
Nominees: Gerard Damiano (Never So Deep), Cecil Howard (Foxtrot), Henri Pachard (Mascara), Ann Rhine (Undercovers)
|Best Screenplay:||Roommates (Chuck Vincent & Rick Marx)
Nominees: Body Talk, Never So Deep, Foxtrot, Undercovers, I Like To Watch
|Best Musical Score:||Roommates (Jonathan Hannah)
Nominees: Body Talk, Irresistible, The Mistress, I Like To Watch
|Best Songs:||‘Foxtrot’ (Foxtrot) and ‘With You’ (Roommates)
Nominees: Undercovers, Talk Dirty To Me II, The Mistress
|Best Set and Art Direction:||Café Flesh (Paul Berthell & Steve Sayadian)
Nominees: Body Talk, Blonde Goddess, Casanova Part II, Foxtrot
|Best Cinematography:||Foxtrot (Felix Daniels & Charles K. White)
Nominees: Harry Flex (Never So Deep), Larry Revene (Roommates), Carlos Tobalina (Casanova Part II), Paul G. Vatelli (I Like To Watch)
|Best Costume Design:||1001 Erotic Nights (Victoria Donne)
Nominees: Café Flesh, Blue Jeans, Irresistible, Casanova Part II
|Best Editing:||Roommates (James Macreading)
Nominees: Never So Deep, Talk Dirty To Me II, The Mistress, Café Flesh, Foxtrot
|Best Trailers:||Foxtrot (Oslak Vabo, Anne Randall & Cecil Howard), Never So Deep (Paula & Gerard Damiano)
Nominees: Body Talk, Erotic Adventures of Lolita, Roommates
|Best Advertising Campaign:||Body Talk (Nancy Villigran)
Nominees: Foxtrot, Erotic Adventures of Lolita, I Like To Watch, Roommates
|Pioneer Man of the Year Award:||Louis K. Sher|
|Life Achievement Award:||Vincent Miranda|
By 1983, several components of the annual awards show were to be expected: pickets gathered outside to protest the porn film-producing ‘sinners’, John Leslie won the Best Actor award for the third year in a row, and performers such as Juliet Anderson and Al Goldstein made highly choreographed grand entrances. Juliet was carried in by a man in a gorilla suit, whereas Al arrived in an ambulance, sirens blaring, and was wheeled into the theater in a straitjacket, kicking and screaming, while a bevy of ‘Al’s Angels’ gave him blood transfusions. He is reported to have shouted, “They’ll never get me! They’ll never get me!” throughout the awards ceremony.
The seventh annual event returned to the old Variety Arts Theater (which some critics described as “dank” and “cramped”) and was followed by a gala-dance at the Hyatt Regency. The show was taped for an August 1983 broadcast on Playboy TV, and Dave Friedman once again acted as M.C. introducing the various categories and presenters. Entertainment was provided by comic Jack Carter and the ‘spectacular’ Michael Darrin Dancers.
Dave Friedman delivered an impassioned talk about Freedom of Speech:
This is a full copy of the 1983 Awards Ceremony program (click on the cover to read through the brochure):
Chuck Vincent’s ‘Roommates’ snatched eight out of 15 possible awards, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Veronica Hart), Best Supporting Actor (Jamie Gillis), and Best Director (Chuck Vincent). Roommates had previously won top honors in the Critics Adult Film Awards of the East Coast Producer’s Association, and the whole Roommates entourage, including three top stars, were on hand to receive the Eroticas.
Veronica Hart was ecstatic with her win: “This has been the best year of my life,” she said. “I got married, had a child, and now this!”
The ceremony was well-attended by luminaries including Roberta Findlay and Henri Pachard representing ‘Mascara’, Joe Steinman of Essex with his film ‘Irresistible’, Cecil Howard and Anne Randall keeping their legs crossed for ‘Foxtrot’, and Fred Lincoln who was there having made ‘The Oui Girls’ and ‘Maneaters.’
Constance Money, who had recently announced her comeback, proved to be one of the biggest draws of the night, along with Candy Samples and a slimmed-down Seka.
1984 – Eighth Annual Erotic Film Awards
|Best Picture:||The Devil in Miss Jones Part II
Nominees: Flesh and Laces, Part I and II, Little Girls Lost, Naughty Girls Need Love Too, Reel People, Suzie Superstar, That’s Outrageous
|Best Actress:||Kelly Nichols (In Love)
Nominees: Arlene Manhattan, Jesie St. James, Georgina Spelvin, Veronica Hart, Shauna Grant
|Best Actor:||Paul Thomas (Virginia)
Nominees: Jack Wrangler, Jamie Gillis, Richard Pacheco, John Leslie
|Best Supporting Actress:||Kay Parker (Sweet Young Foxes)
Nominees: Vanessa del Rio, Georgina Spelvin, Samantha Fox, Shauna Grant, Anna Ventura
|Best Supporting Actors:||Ron Jeremy (Suzie Superstar)
Nominees: Eric Edwards, R. Bolla, John Leslie, Bill Margold, Billy Dee
|Best Director:||Henri Pachard (The Devil in Miss Jones Part II)
Nominees: Troy Benny, Ted Roter, Anthony Spinelli, Cecil Howard, F. J. Lincoln, Vinnie Rossi, John Seeman
|Best Screenplay:||In Love (Chuck Vincent & Rick Marx)
Nominees: The Devil in Miss Jones Part II, Little Girls Lost, Scoundrels, That’s Outrageous
|Best Erotic Scene:||Virginia (John Seeman, producer)
Nominees: Aphrodesia’s Diary, Flesh and Laces, Part I and II, Hot Dreams, Reel People, Sexcapades, Suzie Superstar
|Best Musical Score:||Suzie Superstar (Horizon)
Nominees: The Devil in Miss Jones Part II, Scoundrels, That’s Outrageous, Too Much Too Soon
|Best Songs:||‘If I Love You Tonight’ (Suzie Superstar)
Nominees: Flesh and Laces, Part I and II, The Devil in Miss Jones Part II, Little Girls Lost, In Love, Between Lovers, The Young Like It Hot, That’s Outrageous
|Best Set and Art Direction:||…In The Pink (Andre Nichipolodas)
Nominees: The Devil in Miss Jones Part II, Scoundrels, Suzie Superstar, Virginia
|Best Cinematography:||Virginia (Rahn Vickery)
Nominees: Aphrodesia’s Diary, The Devil in Miss Jones Part II, Flesh and Laces, Part I and II, Glitter, Suzie Superstar
|Best Costume Design:||The Devil in Miss Jones Part II (Eddie Heath)
Nominees: Between Lovers, Scoundrels, Suzie Superstar
|Best Editing:||The Devil in Miss Jones Part II (Ted Ryan) and Virginia (Farouk Ibenson & Skip Mason)
Nominees: Flesh and Laces, Parts I and II, Glitter, Too Much Too Soon
|Best Trailer:||Virginia (Farouk Ibenson & Lynn Elaine)
Nominees: Flesh and Laces, Part I and II, Reel People, Suzie Superstar, That’s Outrageous, Too Much Too Soon
|Best Advertising Campaign:||Virginia (Walnut Advertising)
Nominees: Aphrodesia’s Diary, Bodies In Heat, Scoundrels, Suzie Superstar
|Award of Merit:||Dr. Lois Lee|
The eighth annual award ceremony took place the same year as the Olympics came to Los Angeles – but for one night, attention was focused on the adult film industry. This year the action moved to the Ambassador Hotel – and this time the event took place in March rather than July to coincide with the annual American Film Market which attracted foreign film buyers from all over the world.
The theme of the 1984 event was ‘Adult Films Have Come of Age” – and veterans such as Anthony Spinelli were on hand to give their perspective: “I’ve seen (porn films) go from 15 minute little movies with no stories, to 60 minute films with stories, to big marvelous stories. I’ve done the best I can. I’ve made films that I can be proud of.” Harry Reems spoke of the impact of video on the industry: “The ‘Coming of Age’ theme is very appropriate because these films are now in the home on videocassettes, which is where they belong, complementing an already wonderful experience. Now adult films are a sex aid!”
The event itself was delayed for an hour when one of the perennial protestors set off a smoke bomb in the event’s Coconut Grove Ballroom. (Al Goldstein commented, “These people are so good at what they do, if they don’t show up, we’d have to hire extras to replace them.”) One reporter spoke to a protestor, who admitted that they received government funding for their non-profit religious activity – provided that they showed evidence of their work. The annual protest at the AFAA awards fulfilled that requirement, and was a “fun day out.”
Dave Friedman and Seka hosted the event. Friedman opened the event by declaring, “Welcome to the 8th Annual Awards of lust, license, and lascivity! We’ve got a lot to cover tonight. We’ve gotta get ’em on, and get ’em off real fast!”
Seka replied, “Sounds like my last picture…”
Among the 800 in attendance was Francis Ford Coppola, although the famed ‘Godfather’ director didn’t exactly leap to his feet to acknowledge an introduction from Henri Pachard from the stage. He was rumored to be the guest of porn performer Laurie Smith.
Las Vegas comic Jackie Gayle, by now a regular at the ceremony, and the Michael Darrin Dancers provided additional entertainment. Oh, and this year Al Goldstein turned up in a hearse with Dracula/vampire make-up, complete with a bloody chest. (“I want to be with my fellow bloodsuckers,”, he said.) Porn newcomer, Angel, carried in the statues for each award category and ushered out the winners.
The jury panel was reduced to Brendan Gill (film and theater critic for the New Yorker), Jim Harwood (who was said to have written the very first review of an adult film in a major American newspaper, in addition to breaking the exclusive story of Marilyn Chambers as being the Ivory Snow girl who starred in Behind the Green Door), and Miami sexologist, Frederick A. Shotz.
The effort to increase the independence of the judges did not decrease the criticism however, especially in the case of the award for best erotic scene – won by ‘Virginia’. The ensuing outcry led to the founding of the breakaway X-Rated Critics Organization and its Heart-On Awards.
As for the overall winners, ‘The Devil in Miss Jones – Part 2’ and John Seeman’s ‘Virginia’ raced neck and neck in the award-gathering department. ‘Virginia’ ended up with the most awards, while ‘The Devil In Miss Jones’ won the coveted Best Picture and Best Director awards.
Kelly Nichols was reported to have received the loudest cheer of the evening when her Best Actress award was announced (she thanked her parents as well as director Chuck Vincent for starting her on the “road to ruin.”) Paul Thomas finally broke the Jamie Gillis / John Leslie monopoly on Best Actor, though he did not attend the ceremony (he was making a film in New York), and Ron Jeremy’s acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actor was allegedly the longest in the history of the ceremony.
Shauna Grant, who was nominated for two awards and was among the presenters on the night, tragically killed herself only a few days after the ceremony.
The event was videotaped and offered to cable and subscription television and for sale on VHS cassettes. Kay Parker took over from Ron Jeremy and acted as a TV reporter for the video-taping of the event, interviewing the stars as they came down the red carpet from their limousines.
And 1984 marked the first time that the clips from the nominated films included (brief) glimpses of hard-core action.