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Did Christian Bale throw away his Oscars hopes by throwing that tantrum?

February 3, 2009 | 11:01 pm

Christian Bale just starred as the title character in the second biggest-earning movie ever made, "The Dark Knight," and next he plays the saintly FBI agent who hunts down John Dillinger (Johnny Depp) in director Michael Mann's "Public Enemies," which will be released this summer. That means Christian Bale may soon be considered seriously for an Academy Award. But is he destroying his Oscars hopes by bad-boy antics on the set of "Terminator Salvation" and elsewhere?

Christian_bale_oscars_academy_award

Just a few months ago, Christian Bale was accused of assaultng his mother. Now he's caught on tape hurling a tirade of verbal abuse at "Terminator Salvation" director of photography Shane Hurlbut. You can hear the actual audio here, but beware of excessive profanity.

Is Christian Bale throwing away his Oscars hopes? Bad boys don't win Academy Awards. It's no coincidence that the Oscars' two biggest losers — Peter O'Toole (eight defeats) and Richard Burton (seven) — have been Hollywood's biggest hell-raisers.

Or consider Marlon Brando. Early in his career, when he exulted in being a 'tude-heavy dude fond of throwing his fists around Hollywood, he left the Oscar ceremony in 1951 hugely embarrassed — the only cast member of "A Streetcar Named Desire" not to win despite widespread predictions otherwise. Things just got worse after that. Over the next two years Marlon Brando lost best-actor nominations for "Viva Zapata!" and "Julius Caesar."

Then in 1954, desperate to win, he finally wised up, knocked that chip off his shoulder, put on a fancy tuxedo and started acting all sweet and thoughtful at the Golden Globes, where he won best actor first, then repeated the feat at the Oscars for "On the Waterfront."

Also consider what's happened to Christian Bale's "3:10 to Yuma" co-star Russell Crowe. Just a few short years ago Crowe was the biggest superstar in the galaxy. When "Gladiator" swept the Academy Awards in 2000, it was all about him, not his movie as academy members welcomed the star of "L.A. Confidential" and "The Insider" into the inner circle of filmmaking like he was a real gladiator triumphantly entering the Hollywood coliseum.

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The next year he again joined the Oscar race as the lead star of the eventual best picture winner, "A Beautiful Mind." He was still such a white-hot actor that he coasted through the early derby, easily snagging a best actor trophy from the Golden Globes, Critics' Choice, SAG and — egads — BAFTA. That Brit fest is where the gladiator really threw himself to the lions. He did so by "roughing up," according to the London Sun, a British TV producer for daring to edit down Crowe's rambling recitation of a poem during his acceptance speech. Crowe apologized, but it rang hollow and Denzel Washington claimed the prize for "Training Day."

Two years later, Russell Crowe proved he was still a commanding screen star, although no longer the ruler of his domain. He landed the lead role in "Master and Commander," an epic, high seas blockbuster that cost $150 million to make. While it earned only $93 million at the U.S. box office, it was a hit with Oscar voters, reaping a whopping 10 nominations, including best picture, but — ominously — no acting bid for the movie's master and commander: Crowe. It ended up winning only two Academy Awards, both in tech categories.

More disaster followed for Russell Crowe with his next project, "Cinderella Man." This 2005 biopic helmed by Ron Howard looked like perfect Oscars fare: a well-crafted, feel-good tearjerker starring Crowe as a down-on-his-luck boxing hero. Reviews and buzz were excellent when it opened but soon thereafter Crowe pulled his biggest blunder yet. He got furious while dialing his hotel phone in Manhattan, yanked it out of the wall, marched down to the lobby and hurled it at an innocent hotel clerk. The clerk struck back by filing criminal charges.

Unfortunately for Russell Crowe, the whole incident had been caught on videotape by a security camera. This time Crowe wasn't taking a punch at a pesky paparazzo or fellow Hollywood bad boy. He took a potshot at an honest, hard-working, innocent Everyman, a regular Joe, just the kind of guy who spends a chunk of his paycheck to see Russell Crowe movies. Produced for $88 million, "Cinderella Man" ended up earning only $61 million domestically.

While voters for the Screen Actors' Guild and Golden Globes thought his performance in "Cinderella Man" was good enough to merit a best actor bid, Crowe was snubbed by the Academy Awards.

And for his acclaimed 2007 roles in "3:10 to Yuma" and "American Gangster" he had to make do with a pair of SAG ensemble nominations.

RELATED POSTS

Christian Bale Attacks His Mom and Sister

Photos: Universal, Lionsgate

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Comments

Art, that's what movies are people. Actors are Artists not Gods and they are not like the normal Joe that can work five days a week doing the same thing day in and day out for a check at the end. They are CREATORS of characters. The gifted one's like Marlon, Russell, Christian, Clooney, Pacino, Harris, Jack, are INTENSELY Passionate people, especially when it comes to their Art! Give them a break! If you don't want to see their movies, don't! Go back to being spoonfed your so called entertainment, let the media machine feed your intolerance. Cling to your ideals of what you think is Right and punish those who don't conform. Everyone is entitled to redemption and only One man was perfect. Leave these Men alone and let them punish themselves for their own actions. Thank you.

I think Christian Bale is a fantastic actor, very intense, very focused (you can see it in every character he plays!) He is so good you think he is his character.

As for the thing with his mom, he was never charged with anything. Doesn't that count for anything. Are we saying the police are so inept (or dense) that they have no clue what's going on?

And I agree with jersey, it's not about the awards, or the star status, or the money (although he deserves ever paycheck he gets!). He loves his work, he loves entertaining people and he wants the result to be excellent. He wants you to enjoy what your watching. How can you fault him for that?

I will continue to watch him. I look forward to each and every movie he makes, and so does everyone I know.

Oh, and for those that talk like they are so concerned for his family, his wife and daughter, stop all the nasty talk about him....hurt him, you hurt his family too...

I think Christian Bale is an incrediable actor, very intense, very focused (you can see it in every character he plays.) He is so good, you really think he is his character.

And as far as the thing with his mom, he was never charged with anything. Doesn't that count for something? Besides, me and my mom have had our own yelling matches, it happens. And TMZ should be ashamed of themselves, there was absolutely no reason for them to play this tape 7 months after the incident occured and it had already been resolved. Sad when people have nothing better to do than try to hurt someone else.

He is amazing, and I agree with jersey, I don't think it's about the awards, or the star status, or even the money with him (although he deserves every paycheck he gets!). He loves his work, he loves entertaining people, and he wants what he does to be the best, he wants you to enjoy what you see. How can you fault anyone for that? I know I will be watching him, and so will everyone else I know, we think his actting is a thing of beauty!!

Oh, and one more thing, if people were so concerned about his family, his little girl, they would not be writing all this trash about him....hurt him, you hurt his family.

An award? Do you really think they would give him one anyway? He doesn't rub elbows with the Hollywood elite, why would they give him one? Why does he need one? It's all a game anyway. He's getting paid. All he cares about is taking care of his family. That's what he has said. Oh, my bad, but he is supposed to be an arrogant diva because of wanting that. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Oh and for those of you who don't want to watch any of his movies because of this? Over something that happened 7 months ago and you weren't even there nor a part of it? But... he is the spoiled brat. Okay....you are entitled to your opinion...I'm pretty sure there are plenty of romantic comedies out there for you to watch. I'll let you know how the movies are.

The Oscar voting is set up for specific groups to vote on specific categories. The cinematographers vote on Best Cinematography, Sound Engineers for Best Sound, Actors for Best Actor / Supporting, etc. So Bale only needs to please his fellow actors who are members of the Academy. Everyone votes for Best Picture.

Regarding Bale, two wrongs don't make a right, he was unprofessional, but it sounds like he and the DP worked it out and neither wants to lose future work over this.

So, Jason, does that mean that you will also not pay to see movies made by all the actors who's political views differ from your own? -Those who use their money (box-office money) to promote political policies and politicians you may not favor?
You would have to do a lot of investigation of actor’s private lives before you walk in a theater.

I guess you've never lost your temper with anyone in your life... right? You’ve never said something you regret? Everyone has bad days but everyone doesn't have cameras and microphones in our faces 27/7. These are PEOPLE!!! Faulty, errant HUMANS!
Ok, so Bale went on too long and in an unprofessional way, SO WHAT? Shouldn't have happened - oh well...
It just happens to be that passion in actors is what makes them great. I’m sure that focusing that passion ONLY in very limited areas is not easy.
As for Crowe, there had been five days of a lot of things going wrong in that hotel that lead up to his loss of temper at that incompetent jerk. And even with five days of putting up with problems, he still never tried to excuse his behavior by voicing those problems.

someone asked: "Why can we comment on worthless topics like this, and not on major world events on this website?" The answer is because we the public pay this guys salary and he makes millions and what does he do in return? Act like an a total prick. I don't want my dollars promoting that kind of behavior. As a public figure, like it or not, he sets an example. And what a bad one at that. Good actor or not, he proves how undeserving he is. No more Bale movies for me.

I don't think it'll make a difference as to any performance being oscar worthy or not. I'm not defending anything but God is he smoking hot

Bale's 'too long psychotic tirade' is appalling.
Bale is just an actor, making tons of money, for pete's sake...put Christian Bale's anger problem in perspective. I wonder if he behaves this way with his own daughter? CPS anyone?
No to any Oscar for Christian Bale!

Funny how you fail to mention regarding the incident with Mr. Crowe at the hotel that the "innocent" clerk was the person on duty...there to HELP guests with problems, but instead just responded with "whatever"...and was later fired by the hotel. Most people would have been angry when paying thousands of dollars for a luxury hotel and getting lazy fast food service. I think we should have a camera follow you around, Mr. O'Neil and see if you NEVER get angry at lousy, insulting service.

Does anybody remember hearing about the fist fight George Clooney got in with director David O' Russell on the set of Three Kings? And Clooney won the Oscar years later. The title of this article is blown way out of line. Everyone loses it at one time or another, I could care less what Christian Bale did or said on the set. As a film critic, Bale is still an amazing actor, hands down!

No excuse for Bale's behavior. NONE!
I worked for a "temperamental artist" for two years. His behavior was bulllshit, it was meant to intimidate and all it did was make him a bully that no one respected. He's paid a price for it as will Bale. anyone who can condone this kind of behavior is worse than the person who did it. Enabling a bully is all you're doing. Or perhaps justifying being one yourself.

Heath Ledger's performance was what made TDK worth watching anyway.

The charges may have been dropped in the other case - but there will always be a question mark next to them: were they dropped because he was actually innocent or because money makes these sorts of problems go away. Now we have this episode. From the tapes it does sound as if the man has anger management issues. I'm surprised some union reps haven't appeared on the set or filed a complaint with SAG. What goes around, comes around. When your HOT the studio heads will put up with just about anything. However, no one is HOT forever, and all the people you abuse today may become people you need tomorrow. Lets just hope this was a bad day for both men and that they've ironed out their differences.

Who cares?
The nedia is the one making a big deal out of it.
Yelling obscenities is a very effective way of letting out steam. I loved hearinghim cuss, I thought it was hilarious!

I am not sure why people a coming to bales defense. Yes, the DP should not have been doing what he was doing; however, no person has the right to belittle and treate another in that manner for something so trivial. He could have simply gone up to the director and asked for the DP to be removed. That is the professional way to handle this situation as opposed to going off on a tirade. Even after the guy apologized, bale still kept screaming and going on about it for over a minute. I also liked the ending when he says that this is the last time he will work with this group because of their proffesionalism. Maybe he should read the deffinition of proffesionalism and learn to act like an adult. He is making millions of dollars for this movie, so I find it really hard to be simpathetic to the man that treated everyone (he was telling others including the director to shut up) with so much disrespect. He needs to grow up, and just redo the scene. Also, I really wish that he had kicked the dp's ass so that the guy could turn around and have him arrested for assult and sue the living dailights out of bale.

It's kind of sad to see such a hard working guy take a nose dive like that. It's also sad that there are slinky people standing on the sidelines ready to tell on these actors and high profile people. Hope that Bale gets therapy or something before this gets worst. The public always pins their hopes on these projected hero types. God bless.

You start the article saying he was accused of assault, but you don't mention he was found innocent and the charges were dropped! (unless I skipped over that part in the article). What people also fail to mention is the fact that this isn't a new incident--it happened months ago. But everyone is treating it like he did it all over again. He could have handled it better, but everyone has days where their temper gets the best of them.

"the reason Russell Crowe hasn't been nominated is because he hasn't been in anything; well, anything worth much that is. Twelve people saw 3:10 to Yuma"

Yuma's USA BO was ~ $53 million; Milk's is $21 million.
So there you go, Penn can't win an Oscar for Milk.

I've Googled and Googled to find the video of Crowe's Mercer incident on line. And it's not out there.
Care to comment, Ted ?

No, I thought not.

Everyone knows how irrepressibly flaky some actors are, come on! I don't have an axe to grind here. I love CB's complex intensity he brings to his acting. If he had a bad day, so what? Verbal garbage can sometimes make things interesting. Folks are taking this PC thing to terrible extremes of late, and I think we really need to chill before someone really gets seriously hurt. As long as no one physically touches us we're o.k.. Remember this.

Don't even try to make excuses for the un-called for way Bale verbally berated and abused this man. If it were any other work environment either as a boss or an employee, he would be fired for being so verbally abusive and lacking a professional bearing. A person like this is a liability to any employer and a law suit waiting to happen. And, only Hollywood would put up with it.

The way a person responds to anger speaks volumes about them. And, in this instance it conveys loud and clear Bale is a ticking time bomb that needs anger management. And, not an ego stroke and a that a boy pat on the back.

And, IMO for those condoning this behavior and shrugging it off as normal and expected. Please ask the Screen Actors Guild if this is the professionalism and respect of others they strive for on the set.

I'm sure they'll enighten you that verbal abuse and physical threats isn't part of the ethical and moral standard they strive for. Nor is it the type of behavior they want condoned either.

I work in the film industry and a DOP or any crew member distracting a actor especially during a intense scene such as the one they were doing is a unwritten no-no in the land of Hollywood.

On a film set this DOP would have been fired on the spot as to the producer it all about what makes the movie and the cash - sry but actors do and now because of this Shane will be branded as a bad seed in Hollywood - thats how hollywood works

I do not support any actors these days. My feeling is that people in Sports and Hollywood are way too overpaid. They are glorified for just doing their jobs, and with all the media and paparazzi they think they are more important then they really are; becoming more and more narcissist - remember Tom Cruise?

Forget the high cost at the Movies. Buy the Movie, rent the Movie, or watch it on TV as I do. I am not a Movie chaser looking for the latest release. I could care less about Hollywood writer strikes because most of TV is pure garbage and soiled with Left-Wing lunacy and also devoid of moral and common decency.

It is just too bad the rest of America doesn't realize that they have been desensitized to all this violence, and plain filth, maybe that is why people are getting more and more cold and unfriendly toward each other. Movies these days are garbage full of action sound bites and lewd or childish antics but with no plot or theme or story to tell.

What amazes me is that ordinary people actually respect these Actors and Sports figures just because they make a few more bucks then most of us, how shallow is that.

The Oscar race is a totally subjective popularity contest. If you p*ss off enough people in 'the industry', you're no long popular. And you won't be rewarded with the statuette of the little gold man. I think I realized that something wasn't kosher after Jack Lemmon did NOT win for 'Wine and Roses'.

 

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