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Did Daniel Day-Lewis, Jack Nicholson and other stars refuse to share the spotlight at the Oscars?

March 8, 2009 | 11:10 pm

The two biggest no-shows at the Oscars were Daniel Day-Lewis and Javier Bardem. Traditionally, last year's recipients of acting awards return to bestow statuettes on the newest winners, usually of the opposite gender. This year, that procedure was switched. The previous year's champs were asked to give Oscars to winners of the same gender, and each one was joined by four other past champs in that same category who took turns addressing the nominees one by one before the envelope was opened.

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However, only two of last year's winners showed up: Marion Cotillard and Tilda Swinton. When Daniel Day-Lewis and Javier Bardem went missing, their absence was so extraordinary that it was the topic of much gossip.

Clearly,  Bardem had a good excuse for not being present: He was suffering from a back injury. But what about Day-Lewis? A source close to the Oscarcast revealed interesting info to Gold Derby but would only speak anonymously because he feared that his future relationship with the telecast might be jeopardized.

Apparently, there were two reasons Day-Lewis didn't show up at the Oscars. Our source said he "wouldn't do the group thing" and he didn't want "to single out one person's performance for endorsement," referring to the way each of the five past winners focused attention upon one current nominee. But isn't that what Day-Lewis did in 1990 when he bestowed the lead-actress award to Kathy Bates ("Misery") one year after he won for "My Left Foot"? Wasn't he singling out just her performance?

Day-Lewis' rep tells Gold Derby that he wasn't present because he was exhausted after recently shooting the movie "Nine," "and he wanted to stay home and spend time with his family" at their residence in Ireland.

But haven't scores of other past winners been in similar situations — tired after film shoots when they were summoned to pass the Oscar crown to a new royal line? Virtually all of them managed to show up. If the "Nine" shoot was especially brutal, it didn't stop Penelope Cruz from attending. Cruz told Gold Derby that she was exhausted too, but she planned to be there.

"That's different," Day-Lewis' rep told us. "Cruz was nominated, and she hasn't won before."

Why should that matter? Don't big actors always insist that they're team players, one mere humble member of that great family of thespians?

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This year, the Oscars telecast was plagued with past winners who "didn't want to do the group thing," our source says. Curiously, it seemed to be more of a problem in the supporting categories than lead. In some cases, the stars' refusals weren't due to ego but because they "couldn't wrap their heads around the concept" of a group presentation.

However, the latter didn't seem to be the case with Jack Nicholson, a past winner of both categories (lead for "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "As Good as It Gets," supporting for "Terms of Endearment"). As Gold Derby reported earlier, he wasn't asked to participate in the group thing for the supporting slot, which would've been great if he'd accepted. Imagine Nicholson discussing what he thought of Heath Ledger's performance as the Joker in "The Dark Knight," a role he portrayed in "Batman."

But our source says that Jack was invited to do the group thing in the lead race but declined, informing Oscarcast producers, "I present alone."

We asked Nicholson's rep Sandy Bresler to comment on this report, but he did not respond to our phone call or to an e-mail in which we presented the inquiry in detail. We also sent a detailed e-mail to Oscarcast producer Laurence Mark (he's the person Daniel Day-Lewis spoke to on the phone when declining to attend), asking him to respond to all of the claims made by our source, but he also did not reply.

After Nicholson snubbed the Oscars show, we asked Gold Derby readers what they thought he ended up doing that night. In our poll, only about 14% of respondents said they believe he watched the Oscars on TV. The other 86% said they think the three-time past Oscar winner watched the Lakers basketball game instead.

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Poll: Did Jack Nicholson watch the Lakers game or the Oscars on TV?

Heath Ledger's Oscar goes to Michelle Williams, not the Ledger clan

Quiz: What Oscars champ also won the Nobel Prize?

Photo: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times

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Comments

Why would he show up? Nobody gives a c**p about the Oscars. You only go if you're nominated, live in the area or need a job. And the Oscar nominees were terrible by last year's standards.

This is so stupid. They can do whatever the hell they want to do, if they didnt want to present then they didnt want to present. They dont need an excuse. There not obligated to present awards, people need to get over it.

Tom, your cred just sank to an all time low. You are the new Rex Reed. Sorry, the new Louella Parsons. Get a life.

1st thing nicholson almost certainlywatched the lakers game. there is no chance he wasnt watching it. i mean hes an absolute mental fan and esp. as the lakers are having a great season.

2. ddl was probably tired from a shoot where he was lead and as is known he gives a lot to his roles, also as someone else pointed out he has a family in ireland not in LA and he is notoriously reclusive from the hollywood scene so any excuse not to be there....

Due to your increasingly gossipy coverage, I no longer have the urge to read the tabloids while in the check-out lanes in grocery stores. Please, try to report and not to create trashy news from non-newsworthy incidents.

DDL is one of the top three actors in the world. If he did not want to come for whatever reason, who should care?

Oh shut up. This is not news.

this entire post is annoying. tomoneil the oscars were weeks ago and DDL can do whatever he wants. stop grasping at your straws

Aren't Sophia Loren, Marion Cotillard and Nicole Kidman all in "Nine", too? They ALL managed to show up. And people are acting like a movie set is a sweatshop. He was not doing an actual performance of "Nine", which, I could understand the excuse that he was exhausted. Try doing the whole damn thing, 8 times a week without stopping to setup the next shot, then, maybe, I'll feel some compassion.

The Oscars were two and a half weeks ago. Time to move on. Geez.

I count one factual miscue (Day-Lewis would only speak to Condon on the matter) and plenty of unfair stretching.

You really think it's the same thing to simply be the guy presenting an award? This was a different procedure and each actor had to be up there on stage frothing at the mouth for ONE performer before the award was presented. Big difference, Tom, and a valid, if artsy-fartsy reason for Day-Lewis to decline. And of course a publicist is going to give you the ole' "he was tired" line.)

The Jack stuff is dead on, though, and unfortunate, really. Never thoguht he'd be such a douche.

im side daniel day lewis,jack nicholson,al pacino...
some disney teen stars,twilight' sleepy eyes in,butttttt,legend actors out.
its really scandal for academy night.sorry but now im can't trust academy.

and this matters? he can do what he wants.

I have to take exception with the way you are unwilling to give Day-Lewis the benefit of the doubt. First of all, if Day-Lewis said he's didn't want to single out one actor for endorsement, why do you assume that is bull? When he handed Kathy Bates her award in 1990, HE did not single her out, the Academy did. He was a presenter, not an endorser for Kathy Bates. This year, when the actors each made their speeches honoring the talents of each nominee, it did appear that they could have had their preferences. I mean Sean Penn was honored by his friend and former co-star DeNiro (We're No Angels), and Pitt was honored by Hopkins (who worked with him in Meet Joe Black.)
Also, contrasting Penelope Cruz's appearance with Daniel's absense is unfair as well. She has 3 musical numbers in Nine. He has at least 9 numbers (if you go by the number of songs in the stage musical). Also, he is a hard-core method actor who had said in the past that he gets about 4 hours a night of sleep when he is shooting. It is said that he arrived at work for Gangs of New York every morning at 4:30 am. If he says, he was exhausted, I don't think he was lying. Plus, Penelope (who I have no doubt worked very hard in NIne) does not havea spouse and 3 kids.
Maybe, he was exhausted, missed his wife and kids, and couldn't wrap this head around the way they were doing things this year. After all, this a man who hasn't done an interview in a full year ans barely makes personal appearances. Does he seem to be someone who always needs to be in the spotlight? Plus, I must add that in past interviews i have of read of him, he has complimented virtually every actor presenting and nominated this year. I don't think he was trying to be disrespectful with his absense.

Jack Nicholson saying he presents alone makes no sense as he presented with Diane Keaton just a few years ago.


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