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Will Michelle Pfeiffer seduce Oscar voters with 'Cheri'?

March 23, 2009 |  3:39 pm

If Johnny Depp is the actor most overdue to win an Oscar, is Michelle Pfeiffer his female equivalent? Twenty-one years ago, she earned the first of her three Oscar nods for playing the innocent in "Dangerous Liaisons." Michelle Pfeiffer lost the supporting actress race to Geena Davis at her quirkiest in "The Accidental Tourist." Since then she has contended twice for lead actress, losing her 1989 bid for "The Fabulous Baker Boys" to "Driving Miss Daisy" star Jessica Tandy and her 1992 nod for "Love Field" to Emma Thompson for "Howards End."

Following a fallow period in her career, Michelle Pfeiffer returned to the screen two years ago as the campy villainess in "Hairspray," which earned a SAG ensemble nod. (It lost to eventual Oscar champ "No Country for Old Men".) In that frothy musical, Pfeiffer put the moves on Christopher Walken in a sizzling song and dance number. In "Cheri," due out June 19, she stars as a seductress who woos the young son (Rupert Friend) of her courtesan friend (Oscar winner Kathy Bates, "Misery").

The film reunites Michelle Pfeiffer with "Dangerous Liaisons" director Stephen Frears ("The Queen") and screenwriter Christopher Hampton, who won an Oscar back then for adapting his play. Now he has worked his magic on the landmark 1920 novel by Colette ("Gigi"). In and out of gorgeous costumes, Michelle Pfeiffer certainly does not look her 50 years. If any veteran actress can keep pace with the younger fillies in the awards derby it is this stunner.

Certainly, Michelle Pfeiffer is likely to be a Golden Globe nominee, especially if the film is categorized as a comedy where there is always a need to fill the ranks. She earned six consecutive Golden Globe nominations beginning in 1988. She lost her first comedy Globe nod for "Married to the Mob" in 1988 to "Working Girl" Melanie Griffith and her second in 1991 for "Frankie and Johnny" to Bette Midler in "For the Boys." Michelle Pfeiffer did win the drama Globe for "Baker Boys" and contended three other times for that award. She lost all three of those races to the eventual Oscar winner — in 1990 for "The Russia House" to Kathy Bates ("Misery"), in 1992 to Emma Thompson, and in 1993 for "The Age of Innocence" to Holly Hunter ("The Piano").

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