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Getting real with Oscar, Pete & Jeff

October 23, 2006 | 12:41 am


"The surest way for an actor to win an Oscar: Get real,'" says Pete Hammond at " Cate Blanchett, Jamie Foxx, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Reese Witherspoon all won their Oscars in the past two years playing instantly recognizable celebrities (Katharine Hepburn, Ray Charles, Truman Capote and June Carter Cash, respectively). It seems the current mindset of voters is: 'It's brilliant acting if it's someone I know.'"

Then Pete notes the vast list of real life-inspired roles that are up for Oscar consideration this year — so many that it must set a new record.

"Typically comprehensive (Hammond knows his stuff) but a little too generous," harrumphs Jeff Wells of, cranking up the Oscar fun by dishing and dissing the chances of many biggies on Pete's list. Jeff offers his own "tough-darts, hard-odds rundown" at which I toss — to heighten our Oscar hilarity all the more — just a few of my own poison darts.

Commenting on Annette Bening as Deidre Burroughs in "Running With Scissors," Jeff says her perf "has a certain root-canal quality."

My reply: So did the Oscar-winning portrayal of another lunatic on screen: Angelina Jolie in "Girl, Interrupted."

On Renee Zellweger as Beatrix Potter in "Miss Potter," Jeff asks: "Has anyone seen this film, and, if if she's good, isn't the Zellweger animus factor still pretty strong?"

My reply: Yes, they have seen it and rumor has it that she is good, but forget Oscar. It's too whimsically quirky in that British way. Maybe a Golden Globe nom on the comedy/musical side. And, oh, yeah: What animus thing? If you're referring to that annoying thing Renee did on screen in "Cold Mountain," I'll forgive her, but only if she agrees to give her Oscar back.

On Kirsten Dunst as Marie-Antoinette, Jeff says, "C'mon . . . not a serious proposition."

My reply: Oui! Merci, mon ami! Now . . . off with Sofia Coppola's head!

Photo: Hmmmm . . . why is it that male journos don't hold unsympathetic roles against male actors, but usually blast women over 40? Personally speaking, I love "Running with Scissors" and I think Bening is brilliant on screen. Even sympathetic.

The comments to this entry are closed.


The over-40 issue seems pretty clear-cut. Either an actress is a Tomei or a Binoche, or she’s a Dench or a Page -- society (the Academy, whoever) does not tolerate or understand much of anything in between. Still, without a smoking gun, you’ll never catch the ageism and sexism, because there are always other variables to point to. For example, I’m exceedingly unlikely to see “Running With Scissors,” not because I wish Bening were as young as Kirsten Dunst, but because I’ve been burned by one of those Frey-type fictionalized memoirs and am not inclined to enter the Burroughs world. The ads are off-putting (the scowling kid, the scissors-and-legs thing), and, because I wasn’t keen on Bening’s turn as a diva in “Being Julia,” the thought of her playing a head case or a drama queen doesn’t appeal. Multiply these variables by thousands or millions of moviegoers, each with his or her own preferences and biases, and you get a picture of the market for serious films that Patrick Goldstein describes in his piece about the Oscar-induced movie glut. And the audience’s sexism and ageism remain as hidden as whatever -isms derailed BBM last time.

Edward, I think you're a majority of one on that Kirsten Dunst biz, sorry! But I'm a majority of one on Sofia's other pic -- Lost in Translation. I thought it was insufferably awful, smug, shallow, poorly written, overrated ho-hum, Now "Marie-Antoinette" only confirms my worst suspicions about her!

Todd, I think the str8 boyz can take the hit. And I think they've got it coming, frankly.

Tom: You've made comments before disparaging the straight male contingent of New York Film Critics who named Mulholland Drive Best Picture because it had a lesbian love scene. Now you suggest Paul West might praise Angelina Jolie just because he wants to drill her. This attitude says more about you than it does about the people you malign.

Shakespeare wrote: "Suspicion always haunts the guilty mind; the thief doth fear each bush an officer."

I don't know if you are gay or straight Tom, but I assume that you are sooooo suspicious of other critics giving good reviews to actors merely because they want to screw them because you, in fact, are susceptible to the very same thing.

Although I am a gay man, I find straight-bashing as tedious, annoying and offensive as gay-bashing.

I have to desagree with you about Zellweger, Im not a very good fan of her, but she is brillant in everything she do.
For example Bridget Jones, Cinderella Man, Nurse Betty, Chicago, WHite Oleander.
So im sure that Miss Potter will not be disapointing.

When does the official Gold Derby pundits betting pool begin again? :) Glad you liked Running with Scissors, Tom, glad I'm not alone... I thought she was great and really enjoyed the movie but it might just be too dark and quirky for Academy voters, especially if so many others have been put off by the movie. Now, Marie Antoinette and Kirsten Dunst on the other hand.

I can't believe that there were all these people raving about Qoriander Kilcher or whatever her name is in Malick's crappy New World last year and no one can see how much potential Dunst has in the lead category. Do I need to link to your own article about actresses playing royalty? :)



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