Was it the prime rib? The wine? The chocolate mousse? Or the sour grapes?
Whatever. But something didn't go down well at the Universal table at the recent Directors Guild of America banquet. Between the announcement that Steven Spielberg had won the feature film award for "The Color Purple" (from Warner Bros.) and presentations of the next DGA award, all but one of the executives at the Universal table had excused themselves for the evening. That left runner-up nominee Sydney Pollack ("Out of Africa," a Universal pic) to play the good sport alone.
Observant eyewitnesses say the exodus from the 12-seat table started with Universal chief executive Frank Price, followed out by marketing pres Marvin Antonowsky, production executives Wendie Margolis and Josh Donen, and business exec David Alper. By mid-evening, the table was down to Pollack and Universal distribution chief Bill Soady, plus their loyal wives.
"It was embarrassing," said one studio exec, who was seated nearby. "Who knows why they left, but it was either bad manners or bad judgment."