By Laurel Busby
Twenty years after earning their first Golden Globe for writing The People vs. Larry Flynt, Palisadian Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski garnered a second one for their work on The People v. O.J. Simpson.
“It’s crazy that we won a second Golden Globe for another People versus project, exactly 20 years later,” said Alexander, a 1981 Palisades High School graduate who grew up in Mandeville Canyon. “I must be getting ancient—because 20 years is a really long time. I guess People versus is a good-luck title for me.”
This time, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, an FX miniseries, which Alexander and Karaszewski created, co-wrote and co-produced with others, was the favorite to win the Best Television Limited Series or TV movie category after having won 33 other awards, including nine Emmys and four Critics Choice awards.
The television award season has thus far brought more than 90 nominations for The People v. O.J. Simpson, ranging from a nod from the Writers Guild of America, which has yet to select a winner, to 17 Online Film and Television Association nominations of which the show has won seven, including an award for Alexander and the writing team.
The show premiered on Feb. 2 last year, and “it’s been one continuous year of interviews and press and discussions,” Alexander said. “This is my first TV show, and it’s totally different than movies. The awards season goes on forever. It’s become sort of silly how many banquet dinners I’ve eaten with Cuba [Gooding Jr., who played O.J. Simpson] and [John] Travolta [who played attorney Robert Shapiro]. It’s like we live at the Beverly Hilton. The people at FX say it’ll wrap up in another month or two. I guess by then, I’ll miss it.”
Alexander, who also co-wrote the movies Ed Wood, Man on the Moon and Big Eyes with Karaszewski, was nervous during their first Golden Globe win 20 years ago, but this time, the experience has been much more relaxed.
“When we won [best screenplay] for Larry Flynt, it was more of a freakout,” said Alexander, who with his wife, Debbie, has three children, Casey, 22, Jeremy, 20, and Lily, 17. “I’d never been on national TV before, and Larry and I had to give our own little speech. That was scary.”
This time, fellow PaliHi grad Nina Jacob- son, one of the miniseries’ executive producers, gave the graceful acceptance speech, which shared how the production team had no idea “how painfully relevant” its themes of race, gender and celebrity would be while they worked on the show. She also thanked her wife, kids and mom for their unwavering support, which earned her some loud cheers.
The show, which was both a popular and critical success, had been favored to win the best limited series award, which took some of the tension out of the event for Alexander and the other honorees.
“We felt like the favorites, so none of us were too stressed out,” said Alexander, who moved his family to the Palisades from Hollywood in 1997. “We just had fun. When we won, a big mob of us—cast and producers—stormed the stage.”
Travolta, Gooding and Sarah Paulson, who played Marcia Clark and won a Best Actress award, were among the 20 or so production members who accepted the Golden Globe, but Alexander was the one who held the only statuette as Jacobson spoke. He can be seen chuckling mid-speech when Karaszewski leans behind her to tell him something.
“I started laughing up there, because I had grabbed the only trophy, and Larry whispered to me not to let go of it, so I could take it home.”