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Category: Javier Bardem

Oscars poll: Who'll win best supporting actor?

October 29, 2010 |  3:48 pm

Christoph Waltz ("Inglourious Basterds") dominated last year's Oscar race for supporting actor from the outset, but now there's no early front-runner.

Oscars supporting actorThere's a lot of support for Geoffrey Rush's flamboyant role as wily voice coach to Britain's stammering King George VI in "The King's Speech," but voters may feel been-there-done-that due to his 1996 lead actor win for "Shine."

What's curious is that this race isn't overshadowed by the kind of villainous role that ruled this category, with fiendish terror, in recent years (Christoph Waltz, Javier Bardem, Heath Ledger). However, there are a lot of bad-boy roles, including Sam Rockwell as a hooligan wrongly imprisoned for murder in "Conviction," Jeremy Renner as a bully bank robber in "The Town," Mark Ruffalo ("The Kids Are All Right") as a lothario who tries to break up a happy lesbian liaison and Justin Timberlake ("The Social Network") as Napster's founding rascal.

Rockwell has an edge — he's got a lead role hiding in this supporting race (always a plus). Renner holds an Oscar IOU, having top-lined last year's best picture, "The Hurt Locker," losing the lead actor race to Jeff Bridges ("Crazy Heart").

But two other bad-boy roles are standouts for other, personal reasons. Christian Bale gives a knock-out performance as a street thug turned boxing trainer in "The Fighter," but his personal woes may be foremost on voters' minds. They may want to embrace him as he rebounds from recent tabloid scandals. Michael Douglas won lead actor of 1987 as a heartless corporate raider in "Wall Street," but now that he reprises the role in the sequel, academy members may be eager to comfort him as he battles Stage 4 cancer.

Vote also in our poll asking: Who will win for best supporting actress?

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Photos: Christian Bale in "The Fighter" (Paramount), Geoffrey Rush in "The King's Speech" (Weinstein Co.)

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Toronto Film Festival lineup loaded with Oscar hopefuls

July 27, 2010 | 10:45 am

TIFFlogo-1024x309 The 35th annual edition of the Toronto Film Festival is scheduled to include the world and North American premieres of a slew of awards contenders. This year's festival is to kick off on Sept. 9 and run for 11 days.

Among the 50 titles announced Tuesday are the following films that could well figure in the contests for kudos this year:

"Another Year" -- The latest domestic drama by Mike Leigh ("Happy Go Lucky") is centered on a middle-aged couple (Jim Broadbent, Ruth Sheen) and their assorted friends and family, including a saucy alcoholic (Lesley Manville).

"Biutiful" -- Oscar champ Javier Bardem won best actor at Cannes for his portrayal of a dying father looking for redemption in this film from Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu ("Babel").

"Black Swan" -- Darren Aronofksy's psychological thriller revolves around a dancer (Natalie Portman) in competition with a young upstart (Mila Kunis) for the prima ballerina position.

"Casino Jack" -- Two-time Oscar champ Kevin Spacey portrays jailed lobbyist Jack Abramoff in this political drama from George Hickenlooper.

"The Conspirator" -- Robert Redford's film about the assassination of Abraham Lincoln features James McAvoy as a war hero defending a mother (Robin Wright) accused of aiding her son in the plot to kill the president.

"Conviction" -- Tony Goldwyn's stirring biopic stars two-time Oscar winner Hilary Swank as the crusading Betty Anne Waters, who worked tirelessly to free her wrongfully imprisoned brother (Sam Rockwell) .

"The Debt" -- Oscar champ Helen Mirren joins forces with "Avatar" star Sam Worthington for John Madden's thriller about Israeli agents on the hunt for a Nazi in 1965.

"The King's Speech" -- Colin Firth plays King George VI and Helena Bonham Carter his supportive wife, Elizabeth, in Tom Hooper's historical drama, which focuses on the work of a speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) who boosts the king's confidence.

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Quelle surprise! 'Uncle Boonmee' nabs Palme d'Or at Cannes

May 23, 2010 | 12:54 pm
Cannes Film Festival winners Uncle Boonmee news

Thai film "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" became the first Asian movie since 1997 to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival. The previous Asian champ was Japan's "The Eel," which shared the golden palm with Iran's "Taste of Cherry."

"Uncle Boonmee," by director Apichatpong Weerasethakul -- about a man taking a mystical journey as he dies of kidney failure -- pulled off a bit of an upset. Front-runners were considered to be Xavier Beauvois' "Of Gods and Men," which won the grand prize, and Mike Leigh's "Another Year," which won nothing. "Uncle Boonmee" may have been popular with the fest jury, but not with Hollywood execs. It failed to secure a U.S. distribution deal while unspooling on the Riviera.

Javier Bardem ("Biutiful") shared the best-actor prize with Italian actor Elio Germano ("Our Life"). Juliette Binoche ("Certified Copy") won best actress. Read more at 24 Frames.

Other winners:

Jury Prize: "A Screaming Man" by Mahamat-Saleh Haroun (Chad)

Best director: Mathieu Amalric, "On Tour" (France)

Best screenplay: Lee Chang-Dong, "Poetry" (Korea)

Camera d'Or (first-time director): "Ano Bisiesto" by Michael Rowe (Mexico)

Best short film: "Chienne d'Histoire," by Serge Avedikian (France)

Photo: Actress Charlotte Gainsbourg and director Apichatpong Weerasethakul as he accepts the Palme d'Or award for "Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives" at the Cannes Film Festival. Credit: Eric Gaillard / Reuters

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Cannes film festival competition short on Oscar contenders

April 15, 2010 |  1:43 pm

Cannes_festival_logo Only one American film -- "Fair Game" from Doug Liman ("The Bourne Identity") -- numbers among the 16 entries in the official competition of this year's Cannes Film Festival. This politically charged biopic about real-life diplomat Joe Wilson and his spy wife Valerie Plame stars two-time Oscar champ Sean Penn ("Mystic River," "Milk") and Naomi Watts who earned an Oscar nod opposite Penn in "21 Grams."

The director of that 2003 film was Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu, who went on to win the best director award at Cannes for the Palme d'Or-nominated "Babel" in 2006. Prior to that he had picked up two critics prizes in 2000 for "Amores Perres," and he returns to the Croisette with his first Spanish-language film since then, the crime drama "Biutiful" starring Oscar-winner Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men").

Mike Leigh -- who won the top prize at Cannes in 1996 for "Secrets and Lies" as well as the directing award for "Naked" in 1993 -- contends once more with "Another Year," which features Oscar-winner Jim Broadbent ("Iris") and Imelda Staunton, who was a lead actress Oscar nominee in 2004 for Leigh's "Vera Drake." 

Last year, 20 films competed at Cannes, and there is talk that this year's smaller field may well expand. Two possible additions are "The Tree of Life" from Terrence Malick, who won the director prize here for his second film "Days of Heaven" in 1979, and "Inception" by Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight").

The jury -- headed by American Tim Burton, who now makes his home in London -- also includes Oscar-winning actor Benicio del Toro ("Traffic") and Kate Beckinsale, who starred in "Nothing but the Truth," a 2008 fictionalized version of the Wilson-Plame imbroglio.

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Oscars have always welcomed the world

March 10, 2010 | 10:19 am

This year's Oscars numbered only one foreign-born winner -- Austria's Christoph Waltz ("Inglorious Basterds") -- among the four acting champs. However, that does not mean the Oscars are guilty of any homegrown bias. After all, six of the 20 acting nominees were from other countries, including "Nine" supporting actress contender Penelope Cruz, who is from Spain. She won that same category last year for her performance in "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

Indeed, at last year's Oscars, Cruz was one of just three foreign-born folk among the acting nominees but they all won, including lead actress Kate Winslet ("The Reader") and supporting actor Heath Ledger ("The Dark Knight"). Winslet was the latest of 37 English actors to win Oscars, Ledger was the sixth champ from Down Under and Cruz was the second winner in a row for Spain.

Two years ago, all four acting winners came from foreign shores: Daniel Day-Lewis ("There Will Be Blood") and Tilda Swinton ("Michael Clayton") from England, Marion Cotillard ("La Vie en Rose") -- who made Oscars history by giving the first French-language performance to be so honored -- from France, and Javier Bardem ("No Country for Old Men"), who was the first Spanish performer to win an Oscar.

That marked the second time in Oscars history that all four acting champs hailed from outside the United States. The first was back in 1964 when the winners were three Brits -- Rex Harrison ("My Fair Lady"), Julie Andrews ("Mary Poppins"), and Peter Ustinov ("Topkapi") -- and Russian born Lila Kedrova ("Zorba the Greek").

Foreign_oscars

The Oscars rolled out the welcome mat at the very first ceremony in 1929 when Swiss-born Emil Jannings won lead actor for his performances in "The Last Command" and "The Way of All Flesh." And three of the first four lead actresses came from Canada -- Mary Pickford ("Coquette"), Norma Shearer ("The Divorcee"), and Marie Dressler ("Min and Bill").

One of our most prolific forum posters, the aptly named Academy Awards Guru, has compiled a list of the nationalities of all 273 Oscar winners for acting. During the course of 82 ceremonies, they have won 314 Oscars (there has been one tie in each of lead actor and lead actress). Of these, 81 winners came from outside the U.S. to take home 91 Oscars. While 22 other countries have produced Oscar winners, it is not surprising that England leads with 37 of her citizens winning 43 Oscars.

Over the last 82 years at the Oscars, lead actor has gone to a non-American 24 times and lead actress 26 times while in the 73-year history of the supporting awards, non-Americans won supporting actor 22 times and supporting actress 19 times.

In the following list, the Oscar-winning performers are listed under the country with which they are most associated and their birthplace is given when it differs. In addition, those actors who were born elsewhere but raised primarily in the U.S. are not included, such as Elizabeth Taylor, born in England, Claudette Colbert in France, sisters Joan Fontaine and Olivia DeHavilland in Japan, Anthony Quinn in Mexico, and Paul Muni in the Ukraine.

Australia
Cate Blanchett
Russell Crowe (born in New Zealand; family emigrated when he was 4)
Peter Finch (born in England; family returned to Australia when he was 7)
Nicole Kidman (born in the U.S.; family returned to Australia when she was 4)
Heath Ledger
Geoffrey Rush

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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.

Daniel_daylewis_oscars_helen_mirren

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?

Oscars_pull_quote

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.

RELATED POSTS

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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Lover could bestow the gift of Oscars gold to Penelope Cruz?

December 22, 2008 |  9:43 am

Oh, who'd want a mere gold ring if you could receive a whole big chunk of academy gold from your lover instead?

Just got an e-mail from our forums moderator Chris "Boomer" Beachum, who notes "an interesting side note to this year's Oscar ceremony."

Javier_bardem_penelope_cruz

"If Penelope Cruz wins the supporting actress Oscar for 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona," guess who presents it to her?" he says. "Her current boyfriend, Javier Bardem."

True. Traditionally, the acting awards are presented by last year's recipient of the opposite gender. Last year Bardem won best supporting actor for "No Country for Old Men."

"Even if her name isn't in the envelope, that certainly makes for an even more tense situation for him to present to another lady," Chris adds. To which I add this: What if Penelope's name is in the envelope and they're no longer dating? Awkward!

The last time someone presented an Oscar to a lover, as far as we know anyway, was William Hurt ("Kiss of the Spider Woman," best actor, 1985) bestowing the best actress award of 1986 to Marlee Marlin ("Children of a Lesser God"). They broke up soon afterward.

"There have been some 'really good friends' situations, like Anthony Hopkins presenting to Emma Thompson, Julia Roberts to Denzel Washington, and Sean Connery to Catherine Zeta-Jones," Chris adds, wryly.


Sean Penn goes gay — dying for another Oscar?

November 29, 2008 | 10:33 am

Good news for Sean Penn fans: At the end of "Milk" — SPOILER ALERT — you get to watch your hero get blown away by gunfire.

Sorry, but that seems to be the price Penn must pay if he wants to win another Oscar to match the chunk of academy gold he nabbed for 2003's "Mystic River." That's because gay roles that win Academy Awards for actors almost always must suffer ghastly deaths.

Gay_oscars

No star has ever won an Oscar for portraying a gay, lesbian or transgender person who lives happily ever after. The character of Truman Capote (Philip Seymour Hoffman) gets to live, yes, at the end of "Capote," but we know that he'll end up croaking from booze and pills someday while stumbling around Joanne Carson's house in Beverly Hills.

The five other roles that paid off with Oscars have horrible ends on screen: Tom Hanks dies of AIDS in "Philadelphia," Hilary Swank gets beaten to death in "Boys Don't Cry," Nicole Kidman commits suicide in "The Hours," Charlize Theron is executed in "Monster," and William Hurt gets shot — much like Sean Penn — in "Kiss of the Spider Woman."

If you don't count roles that just hint at a character's homosexuality (Paul Newman in "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" or Tom Courtenay in "The Dresser"), I've tallied up 28 gay, lesbian and transgender roles that have been nominated for Oscars. (Have I missed any? If so, click the comments link below.)

Nine get killed off. Some snuff themselves: Kathy Bates uses a pistol in "Primary Colors," Ian McKellen drowns himself in "Gods and Monsters," Ed Harris jumps out a window in "The Hours, " Javier Bardem dies of AIDS in "Before Night Falls."

The fact that Sean Penn is heterosexual in real life hikes his Oscar hopes significantly. No gay person has ever won an Academy Award for playing gay, and only two openly homosexual actors have been nominated for portraying someone with a lavender lilt: James Coco and Ian McKellen. Coco wasn't officially and fully "out" of the closet, but he was candid about his private life to friends and colleagues and frequently flaunted a flamboyant nature in public.

ACTORS NOMINATED FOR GAY ROLES
(X = Winner)
Estelle Parsons ("Rachel, Rachel") (1968)
Peter Finch, "Sunday Bloody Sunday" (1971)
Al Pacino, "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975)
Chris Sarandon, "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975)
John Lithgow, "World According to Garp" (1982)
Marcello Mastroianni, "A Special Day" (1977)
James Coco, "Only When I Laugh" (1981)
Robert Preston, "Victor, Victoria" (1982)
Cher, "Silkwood" (1983)
X - William Hurt, "Kiss of the Spider Woman" (1985)
Bruce Davison, "Longtime Companion" (1990)
Tommy Lee Jones, "JFK" (1991)
Jaye Davidson, "The Crying Game" (1992)
X - Tom Hanks, "Philadelphia" (1993)
Greg Kinnear, "As Good as It Gets" (1997)
Ian McKellen, "Gods and Monsters" (1998)
Kathy Bates, "Primary Colors" (1998)
X - Hilary Swank, "Boys Don't Cry" (1999)
Javier Bardem, "Before Night Falls" (2000)
Ed Harris, "The Hours" (2002)
X - Nicole Kidman, "The Hours" (2002)
Julianne Moore, "The Hours" (2002)
X - Charlize Theron, "Monster" (2003)
X - Philip Seymour Hoffman, "Capote" (2005)
Felicity Huffman, "Transamerica" (2005)
Heath Ledger, "Brokeback Mountain" (2005)
Jake Gyllenhaal, "Brokeback Mountain" (2005)
Judi Dench, "Notes on a Scandal" (2006)

Photos: TriStar, Island Alive, Miramax, Fox Searchlight

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Oscars for 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona,' Penelope Cruz and Woody Allen?

August 17, 2008 | 12:09 pm

Timing of its release couldn't be better for the Oscars prospects of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," which comes just months after its star Javier Bardem, sporting the creepiest hairdo this side of Donald Trump and Jacko, terrified Hollywood into handing over piles of academy gold to "No Country for Old Men."

At the previous Oscars, Penelope Cruz ("Volver") posed the most serious threat to usurp Helen Mirren ("The Queen") in the best-actress race but, having failed, now seems due to reign too. At the derby before that, many Oscarwatchers thought Woody Allen would finally have his big comeback, but "Match Point," despite nabbing a screenplay nomination, didn't catch fire, so the three-time winner is now sparking new heat.

Woody_allen_vicky_cristina_barcelon

"Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is a more appropriate vehicle to return Woody Allen to Oscars glory since it's what he does best. "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" is a comedy, and Woody Allen's career could sure use a smile. His flicks have mostly fizzled this decade. The Hollywood Reporter was among the media that lambasted his previous film "Cassandra's Dream" (2007): "As writer, Allen offers lazy plotting, poor characterization, dull scenes and flat dialogue."

If Woody Allen wins a screenplay Oscar for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," it'll be his first since "Hannah and Her Sisters" (1986) and his third overall after best-picture champ "Annie Hall" (1977) earned him gold for writing and directing. But let's recall that Woody Allen didn't bother to show up to accept those honors. In 1978 (for the '77 awards), it was far more important to him to remain in New York to play his clarinet in the New Orleans Marching and Funeral Band at Michael's Pub.

Back then he scoffed, "I have no regard for that kind of ceremony. I just don't think they know what they're doing. When you see who wins those things — or who doesn't win them — you can see how meaningless this Oscar thing is."

But lots of stars have blasted the Oscars just like that, then turned around and — in the grand tradition of Hollywood hypocrisy — accepted the golden statuette with glee. Think Glenda Jackson, who denounced the kudofest as "a public hanging," and Dustin Hoffman, who pooh-poohed it as "an obscene evening."

Woody Allen did his flipflop in recent years, actually attending the ceremonies in 2002 (for the 2001 awards) and 2007 (for 2006 kudos). Voters may have been reluctant to embrace him with victory after he was tainted with a sex scandal, but they recently forgave Roman Polanski (best director, "The Pianist," 2002), who battled similar woes.

After all, Woody Allen is one of the academy's longtime darlings. After ignoring him throughout the first decade of his blazing career ("Bananas," "Sleeper"), members more than caught up with him afterward. In fact, Woody holds the record for most screenplay nominations (14), compared to 12 for Billy Wilder. However, both Allen and Wilder have 21 nominations overall.

Woody Allen directed 14 actors in Oscar-nominated performances: Michael Caine ("Hannah and Her Sisters"), Judy Davis ("Husbands and Wives"), Mariel Hemingway ("Manhattan"), Diane Keaton ("Annie Hall"), Martin Landau ("Crimes and Misdemeanors"), Samantha Morton ("Sweet and Lowdown"), Geraldine Page ("Interiors"), Chazz Palminteri ("Bullets Over Broadway"), Sean Penn ("Sweet and Lowdown"), Mira Sorvino ("Mighty Aphrodite"), Maureen Stapleton ("Interiors"), Jennifer Tilly ("Bullets Over Broadway"), Dianne Wiest ("Hannah and Her Sisters," "Bullets Over Broadway"), and himself ("Annie Hall"). Caine, Keaton and Sorvino won Oscars — Wiest did so twice.

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Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem join non-premiere premiere of 'Vicky Cristina Barcelona' in New York

August 7, 2008 |  5:42 pm

It sure looked like a film premiere to me last night when stars Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem and Patricia Clarkson strutted the red carpet outside Cinema 2 in Manhattan, spinning and mugging for paparazzi minutes before the East Coast debut of Woody Allen's new flick "Vicky Cristina Barcelona."

The event was billed just as "a screening," mind you. The official premiere was in Los Angeles on Monday night. But this event was obviously the New York equivalent for "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" even though reps for the Weinstein Co. kept downplaying the hoopla.

Vicky_cristina_barcelona_woody_alle

Hey, when did Harvey Weinstein start downplaying hoopla? He has every right to crow now because it looks like he's back in the Oscar game — at the very least with nominations for Woody's screenplay and an acting bid in the supporting slot for Penelope Cruz as a psycho ex-lover of Javier Bardem's who crashes his love affair with Scarlett Johansson.

And Harvey, yes, did a bit of crowing just before the screening started (20 minutes late) as he welcomed attendees personally, then later presided over a private dinner at the Plaza Athenee Hotel. As I entered the fete, I was blinded by glitterati: Cruz, Bardem and Clakson, plus rockers Eddie Vedder and Anthony Kiedis, John Patrick Shanley (author and director of "Doubt," Oscar winner for penning "Moonstruck"), Nora Ephron (Oscar bids for writing "Sleepless in Seattle," "When Harry Met Sally" and "Silkwood").

Woody and Johansson couldn't make it — they're still lingering (oops, make that "working") in L.A. after the official premiere.

The film unspooled at the Cannes filmfest in May to rave reviews. Back then, Envelope contributor Pete Hammond declared it to be Woody Allen's "funniest film in years" and said that "absolutely hilarious" Penelope Cruz is a shoo-in for a supporting Oscar nod. (See Pete's video report on "Vicky Cristina Barcelona" straight from Cannes here.) Our pal Lou Lumenick of the New York Post was equally enthusiastic. While Lou said Cruz was "already generating Oscar buzz," he thought the performance to watch for may well be that of Rebecca Hall, who "scores a breakthrough as Johansson's neurotic fellow American pal, who succumbs to Bardem's charms even though she's engaged to another man."

Woody Allen certainly has an impressive track record of showcasing supporting players with the following actors winning Oscars for their efforts:
Michael Caine ("Hannah and Her Sisters," 1986)
Dianne Wiest ("Hannah and Her Sisters," 1986; "Bullets Over Broadway," 1994)
Mira Sorvino ("Mighty Aphrodite," 1995)

And then there is the longer list of those who were at least nominated:
Maureen Stapleton, "Interiors" (1978)
Mariel Hemingway, "Manhattan" (1979)
Martin Landau, "Crimes and Misdemeanors" (1989)
Judy Davis, "Husbands and Wives" (1992)
Chazz Palminteri, "Bullets Over Broadway" (1994)
Jennifer Tilly, "Bullets Over Broadway" (1994)
Samantha Morton, "Sweet and Lowdown" (2000)

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Gold Derby nuggets: Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem at 'Vicky' L.A. premiere ... Carpetbagger goes gunning for redemption ... Early Oscars predix ... See peeks at 'W.' and 'Appaloosa'

August 5, 2008 |  6:07 pm

Last night saw the Hollywood premiere of "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," the new comedy by Woody Allen. All four of the film's stars -- Javier Bardem, Penelope Cruz, Scarlett Johansson and Rebecca Hall -- were in attendance, as was the writer-director himself, seldom seen on the West Coast. This Wednesday's Gotham premiere is being billed as a "private screening," but Gold Derby will be in attendance and report on the behind-the-scenes hoopla (Cruz and Bardem will be with us at the dinner afterward), plus we'll dish the awards potential of this hoped-for return to form for Allen.

"With its sprawling ensemble of Oscar nominees and winners, from Forest Whitaker to Jennifer Hudson, 'Winged Creatures' has the appearance of a movie designed to be Oscar bait," notes Anne Thompson at her Variety.com blog. But don't expect it to take flight -- READ MORE.

Night_of_the_gun_cover

Scott Feinberg of AndTheWinnerIs blog has issued his early Oscar predix rundown, which is full of shockeroos already causing grumbles of "Scott's got 'Frost/Nixon' in first place for best picture and has snubbed 'Milk'!"

"The Night of the Gun," the shockingly honest confessional memoir by New York Times Carpetbagger blogger David Carr, just hit bookstores. This confession of a former crackhead is so potently written that it's addictive. Get hooked HERE by reading this excerpt in the New York Times magazine. It's devastating to read the details of his dance with death, but here is where Carr plunges his syringe in deepest, when summing up the moral of his ordeal: "What I deserved: hepatitis C, federal prison time, H.I.V., a cold park bench, an early, addled death. Here is what I got: the smart, pretty wife, the three lovely children, the job that impresses."

Below, the teaser poster for Oliver Stone's "W.," starring Josh Brolin as America's current commander in chief.

W

Below, the trailer to "Appaloosa," a western that debuts next month at the Toronto International Film Festival with the Oscar-friendly cast of Viggo Mortensen, Renee Zellwegger, Jeremy Irons and Ed Harris (who directs and also co-wrote the script).

Photos: Simon & Schuster, Lionsgate


Is 'The Dark Knight's' Heath Ledger doomed at the Oscars?

July 18, 2008 |  8:46 am

Don't get carried away with all of the Oscar buzz for Heath Ledger in "The Dark Knight" that you see in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Reuters, everywhere. Remember: Only one star has won an Oscar from the grave (Peter Finch, "Network") and roles like the Joker are rarely even nominated.

Maybe this next Oscars factoid may help to put things in more clear perspective. After the beloved Spencer Tracy died in 1967 after giving a dynamic, heartfelt performance in best picture nominee "Guess Who's Coming to Dinner," he was widely expected to win best actor, but lost to Rod Steiger ("In the Heat of the Night"). However, Tracy's de facto widow Katharine Hepburn won best actress for a rather tame turn with little screen time in "Dinner."

Heath_ledger_the_dark_knight_oscars

Bottom line: Oscar voters wanted to bestow a hug after losing Tracy, yes — but they just didn't want to hug the dead guy.

When Peter Finch passed away, the situation was very different from Tracy's and Ledger's. The latter stars died more than six months before the Oscarcast. Finch died from a heart attack just two weeks before the Golden Globes while he was actively campaigning to stop that juggernaut Robert DeNiro ("Taxi Driver"), who'd swept the film-critics' awards. Oscar and Globe voters were still stunned by Finch's loss when they inked their ballots and they couldn't resist checking off his name.

Heath Ledger bears a striking similarity to James Dean. Both were heartthrob thespians whose promising careers were cut short by tragedy.  Dean had two posthumous Oscar nominations. The first — for "East of Eden" — came nearly half a year after Dean died in a car wreck. The next year he was nommed for "Giant" and he lost both times.

When Oscar nominations come out next January, Heath Ledger will have been dead for a year. Given all of the Oscar hubbub he's generating now, I'm sure he'll be on that list of contenders, but can he really win?

Oscar voters aren't wild about campy villain roles in popcorn flicks like "Dark Knight." The only time one got nominated was Al Pacino as Big Boy Caprice in "Dick Tracy" (1990). Jack Nicholson's widely celebrated Joker in "Batman" (1989) — the same role now played by Heath Ledger — was nominated for a Golden Globe, but not an Oscar, which is odd considering how nuts academy members are for Jack. (Nicholson holds the records for most nominations and wins among male actors.)

And Oscar voters don't usually like villainous roles unless the actor rides to victory atop a best-picture sweep like Anthony Hopkins in "The Silence of the Lambs."

But — wait — that old trend may be changing. Just this past year we saw the trophies for best actor and supporting actor go to stars portraying bloodthirsty monsters: Daniel Day-Lewis and Javier Bardem.

And maybe the whole world, even Hollywood, is different today than it was when those other posthumous Oscar examples occurred. If so, then maybe this joker can get the last laugh. Especially if he holds an ole Oscar I.O.U. from academy members. Does he? (READ MORE, CLICK HERE ). If he does have a serious hope of prevailing, then which category should he enter, lead or supporting? Read more about that great debate — CLICK HERE!

(Warner Bros.)

 


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