Oh, babe-y! Will Helen's Globes win her Oscar?
The cover of L.A. Magazine suggests that Helen Mirren has a firm grasp on how to solve the biggest problem she faces in the Oscar race — The Babe Factor.
Sure, the 60-year-old British Dame has already won every critics' award plus two Golden Globes (the second for starring in TV mini "Elizabeth I"). Now it looks like she can't be stopped. But let's recall a similar early kudos sweep by Sissy Spacek ("In the Bedroom") back in 2001. On Oscar night when the best-actress envelope was opened, a typical babe-type popped out: Halle Berry ("Monster's Ball"). In the past 15 years only one woman over age 50 has won an acting award: Judi Dench ("Shakespeare in Love"). The others have been real lookers, and young, for the most part: Charlize Theron ("Monster"), Nicole Kidman ("The Hours"), Reese Witherspoon ("Walk the Line"), Julia Roberts ("Erin Brockovich"), etc.
Face it, Oscar voters are brazen, white, straight ole geezers who lust shamelessly after babes. It's OK for wrinkled guys to win (James Coburn, Jim Broadbent, Michael Caine), but nearly every time we think a mature woman will prevail — like, say, Lauren Bacall ("Mirror Has Two Faces") — a babe like Juliette Binoche ("English Patient") pops up.
However, Mirren reminds us of her naughty side — and her well-kept curves — while donning a peek-a-boo pose on the cover of the issue of L.A. magazine that will arrive in voters' mailboxes around the same time as their Oscar ballots.
Never one to shy away from saucy scenes, Mirren's first major film role, "Age of Consent" back in 1969, had her frolicking nude on a beach to the delight of the decades-older James Mason. A decade later, she bared all in the notorious "Caligula." And just three years ago, she played one of the real life "Calendar Girls" who posed nude for charity.
Other notable nude scenes of her film and TV career: "Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" (2003), "Passion of Ayn Rand" (1999), "Painted Lady" (1997), "The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover" (1989), "Pascali's Island" (1988), "Cause celebre" (1987), "Cal" (1984), "Royal Deceit" (1984), "Excalibur" (1981), "Hussy" (1980), "Hamlet" (1976) and "Savage Messiah" (1972).
Mirren's cover is a bold move for L.A. Mag, which usually features babes, but at least the publication isn't risking the mass subscriber exodus that might've occurred if it had featured such a sexy come-on from the last mature gal to win best actress: Jessica Tandy ("Driving Miss Daisy").
Photo: Los Angeles Magazine