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Category: Laura Linney

Gold Derby nuggets: 'Boardwalk Empire' renewed after red-hot premiere | 'Ruined' playwright Lynn Nottage succeeds | Two 'Lost' stars may be reuniting

September 21, 2010 | 11:01 am

Buscmei Boardwalk Empire • "Boardwalk Empire" rolled out its first episode Sunday, and 7.1 million HBO subscribers tuned in to the three airings of the new drama that night. That marks the best numbers for a debut on the paycaster since "Deadwood" premiered after an episode of "The Sopranos" in 2004. On Tuesday, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo confirmed a second season renewal, saying in a statement: "All the ingredients aligned for this one, from Mark Wahlberg and Steve Levinson's initial pitch, to Martin Scorsese's enormous contributions as director and executive producer, to the genius of Terry Winter and the expertise of Tim Van Patten, to a stellar cast led by Steve Buscemi." ZAP 2 IT

Sean Macaulay commemorates the 20th anniversary of the release of Martin Scorsese's best picture contender "Goodfellas" with an essay that begins thus: "When I first saw 'Goodfellas' at the Curzon Cinema in London when I was 25, I was so overwhelmed that I had to go back to see it again the same week. It was an immediate guilty pleasure. No 'classic' film could be this much fun, I thought, or this dense. Even the celebrated shot of Uncle Paulie cutting garlic with a razor blade has a sprig of parsley in the foreground. But I was also compelled to return to the theater because I found the movie so unsettling -- it was simultaneously seductive and queasy. It is a 25-year life of crime presented with the verve of a movie trailer -- and without one hint of sanctimony." THE DAILY BEAST

• Two Emmy darlings -- Mary-Louise Parker ("Weeds") and Laura Linney ("The Big C") -- are ensured of continued TV time with the renewal of their shows for seasons seven and two, respectively. In a statement Showtime president of entertainment David Nevins said, "The unprecedented viewership for both 'The Big C' and 'Weeds' proves that audiences love these shows as much as we do. There are definitely more comedic adventures in store for these fascinating, complex women."

Ruinedposter • Playwright Lynn Nottage -- who won the Pulitzer Prize last year for "Ruined" -- is having a very good week. On Monday, this work -- a stark look at life in post-colonial Africa -- won the inaugural Horton Foote prize for best American play; this new kudo is named in honor of the late Oscar and Pulitzer champ. On Tuesday, the Steinberg Trust announced that Nottage will receive the distinguished playwright prize which comes with bragging rights and a check for $200,000. And HBO has just inked a deal to partner with Oprah Winfrey on a telefilm version of the piece.

• Four-time Tony champ Harvey Fierstein is collaborating with composer Alan Menken -- who has eight Oscars -- on a stage version of the 1993 movie "Newsies." As Menken told Kenneth Jones, "Yeah, it is in development. What it's going to be is -- honestly, right now -- undetermined. I think Disney is still trying to decide whether it's a first-class production or whether it's stock and amateur. But there will be available a stage musical of 'Newsies.' That's all I can say. I've been writing it with Harvey Fierstein and Jack Feldman. [How it emerges is] just gonna be [a] business decision of how Disney wants to proceed with it. But yes, we are developing it." PLAYBILL

Jerry Seinfeld turned his hand to stage directing and scored a hit the first time out with Colin Quinn's "Long Story Short." That one-man show featuring the former "SNL" star is a 75-minute romp through history. After a successful run off-Broadway this summer, it is being remounted this fall at the Helen Hayes Theater in the heart of the rialto. ARTS BEAT

Lost Emerson OQuinn • Two of the Emmy winners from "Lost" could be reuniting reports Josef Adalian. "Are you ready for Linus & Locke? In news that could cause the 'Lost' fan base to have a synchronized aneurysm, Vulture hears that last week, J.J. Abrams and frequent collaborators Josh Appelbaum and Andre Nemec ('Alias,' 'Mission: Impossible 4') began pitching a comedic drama to the networks that would have Michael Emerson and Terry O'Quinn -- a.k.a. Benjamin Linus and John Locke/Smokey -- playing former black-ops agents. VULTURE

• Screenwriter Irving Ravetch died Sunday at age 89. He and his wife, Harriet Frank Jr., were nominated twice for best screenplay at the Oscars ("Norma Rae" in 1979, "Hud" in 1963) and once at the Golden Globes ("Hud"). The New York Film Critics Circle gave them its script prize for "Hud." He also wrote "The Reivers" (1969) and "The Dark at the Top of the Stairs" (1960). He was also a producer of "Hud" and "The Reivers."

• The Latin Recording Academy will bestow lifetime achievement awards to Joao Donato, Armando Manzanero, Las Hermanas Márquez, Joseito Mateo, Jorge Oñate and Susana Rinaldi. Trustee awards will go to Manuel Bonilla, Juan Carlos Calderón and Hebe Camargo. The kudos will be doled out on Nov. 10 at a private ceremony at the Four Seasons Hotel in Las Vegas. That's one day before the main Latin Grammy ceremony will be held at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

• One young lady is so desperate to lose weight in order to be a seat filler at the Latin Grammys that she's had a tongue patch implanted, which causes pain when she eats. TERRA

Top photo: Steve Buscemi in "Boardwalk Empire." Credit: HBO

Middle photo: "Ruined" poster. Credit: MTC

Bottom photo: Terry O'Quinn, left. and Michael Emerson in "Lost." Credit: ABC

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Gold Derby nuggets: Laura Linney shines on Showtime | 'Big Bang' gang theories | Songbird Gwyneth Paltrow

July 28, 2010 |  1:06 pm

Laura Linney Big C Showtime • Three-time Emmy champ Laura Linney is the subject of a lengthy profile in this Sunday's magazine section of the New York Times. Among the highlights of the piece: when writer Frank Bruni accompanied Linney to a rehearsal for the recent Tony Awards where the nominated actress clearly was in her element. "'You just have to see this!' she exclaimed at one point, tugging me backstage. 'It’s just too much fun, all the different casts bumping into each other.'" Along the way, Bruni also visited Linney on the set of her new Showtime series "The Big C," which is set to debut Aug. 16. This first regular TV role for the versatile talent sees her playing a teacher who must learn what is important in her life when told she has terminal cancer. The paycaster has proved to be a Hollywood haven for actresses like Linney, and it is currently showcasing Emmy nominees Toni Collette ("The United States of Tara") and Edie Falco ("Nurse Jackie"). NEW YORK TIMES

• The tuner "Next to Normal" -- which won this year's Pulitzer prize for drama -- welcomed three new cast members Tuesday. Husband and wife Marin Mazzie and Jason Daniely replace Tony winner Alice Ripley and Brian D'Arcy James as the couple coping with her mental illness, while understudy Meghann Fay is permanently stepping in for Tony nominee Jennifer Damiano as the less-than-understanding teenage daughter. PLAYBILL

• CBS has revealed that four of the companies to get a visit from an "Undercover Boss" in the upcoming second season are NASCAR, DirecTV, Great Wolf Resorts and Chiquita Brands. "We're thrilled with this season's new batch of bosses," said the show's creator and executive producer Stephen Lambert. They are NASCAR's senior vice president and chief marketing officer Steve Phelps; Mike White, chairman, president and CEO of DirecTV; Chiquita Brands chairman and CEO Fernando Aguirre; and CEO Kimberly Schaefer of Great Wolf Resorts. The hit show is in contention for best reality series at the upcoming Emmy Awards.

The Big Bang Theory CastHanh Nguyen does a deft job live blogging the lively discussion of "The Big Bang Theory" cast and creators that kicked off the annual TV critics confab Wednesday. Among the tasty tidbits is one from Emmy nominee Jim Parsons, who said he loves Comic-Con, "but seeing the thousands of Sheldon t-shirts was a little disturbing." And when asked about the show's fans, he replied, "They're the sweetest, least psychotic bunch of people I've ever met." ZAP 2 IT

• Our good friend Mike Ausiello caught up with the "Big Bang" gang at Comic-Con last week for a video interview that was punctuated throughout with merriment. Among the subjects covered in the lively conversation were the Emmy snub for best comedy series, upcoming plot points and ongoing salary negotiations. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Joel Keller chats with Emmy winner Felicity Huffman on the set of "Desperate Housewives." The one-time Oscar lead actress nominee ("Transamerica") admitted, "I was anticipating doing more movies. I got a lot of movie scripts for a while... I don't really get them anymore." And she said, "Independent films have taken a dive. They're becoming harder and harder to do and somewhat extinct because there's a glut on the market, and they're just so hard to get funding. So I feel like the golden age of independent movies, at least the way they were being done, is over." TV SQUAD

• And our great pal Ray Richmond sat down with "Housewives" creator Marc Cherry, who said "he could see handing off his 6-year-old baby to someone else to run after the coming 7th season. In fact he thought it was likely, as he’s now penning a pilot for a potential new ABC series that he hopes will be up and running by next June. He wouldn't elaborate on what the pilot is about, only noting it 'will not be set in suburbia.'" Cherry also revealed to Ray, "I’ve got a contract that keeps me around ABC for a few more years. I hope (Housewives will be around) for a couple of more seasons, and my thing is I always will be executive producer and consultant on the show. It’s my baby. I can’t let go. I have control issues. They can’t totally get rid of me." DEADLINE

Country Strong Gwyneth PaltrowDonna Hughes previews the just-released title track from the upcoming film "Country Strong." The ditty is done by Oscar champ Gwyneth Paltrow who stars as fallen singer Kelly Canter. As Donna notes, "The actress is no stranger to the music scene, having charted a hit single with Huey Lewis on a remake of 'Cruisin' from the film 'Duets' in 2000. She also happens to be married to Coldplay's Chris Martin." Country crooners Vince Gill and Patty Griffin perform background vocals on this debut single. Though the film won't be out till Dec. 22, the soundtrack is set for release on Oct. 26.  While there is no word yet on the full track listing, another singing star -- Tim McGraw -- appears in the film as Canter's husband/manager. He sets out to resurrect her career with the help of a songwriter she meets in rehab. THE BOOT

Anne Thompson thinks that "Get Low" -- the new Robert Duvall picture about a hermit re-entering 1930s society -- "should be a soft lob down the middle for Oscar voters." As Anne notes, the film, which she saw at last year's Toronto filmfest, is doing well with the mainstream critics and she planned on attending Tuesday's premiere at the academy which was chronicled by our team. THE ENVELOPE

Photos, from top: Laura Linney in "The Big C" promotional still. Credit: Showtime; "The Big Bang Theory" 3rd season Blu-Ray cover art. Credit: Warner Home Video; Gwyneth Paltrow in "Country Strong." Credit: Screen Gems.

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Playwright Don Margulies on Tonys contender 'Time Stands Still'

May 11, 2010 |  8:52 pm

Normally, plays that aren't currently running on Broadway have a tough time winning top Tony Awards, but voters just learned that "Time Stands Still" will return to Manhattan stages this fall. That may make a big difference in the race for best play for the critically cheered drama by Donald Margulies about a photographer (Laura Linney), who returns from covering the war in Iraq, wounded both physically and psychologically.

It's a "thoughtful drama," says the New York Times, "Mr. Margulies's finest play since the Pulitzer Prize-winning 'Dinner With Friends.' " Below, our chat with the playwright.

Video by Paul Sheehan


Experts predict Tony Award nominations

April 29, 2010 |  9:57 am

There's a lot of drama surrounding the Tony Award nominations, which will be unveiled Tuesday. Take, for example, the battle over best musical. The pundits cited below are split over eight contenders to take those four category slots. "American Idiot" is the favorite to win, but an upset is possible. The biggest drama of all is over best drama — there's no clear front-runner.

We've recruited predix from a team of savvy prognosticators: Melissa Bernardo (Entertainment Weekly), Martin Denton (NYTheatre), Thom Geier (Entertainment Weekly), Andy Humm (Gay City News, Gay USA), Kenneth Jones (Playbill.com), Brian Lipton (Theater Mania), Patrick Pacheco (L.A. Times, NY1), Paul Sheehan (TheEnvelope.com), David Sheward (Back Stage), Matt Windman (amNY) and me.

American Idiot Broadway Tonys Tony Awards nominations news 2

BEST PLAY
"A Behanding in Spokane" — Geier, Humm
"Enron" — Bernardo, Denton, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward
"In the Next Room or the Vibrator Play" — Humm, Windman
"Next Fall" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Race" — Denton, Jones, O'Neil, Sheward
"Red" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Time Stands Still" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, Pacheco, Sheehan, Windman

BEST MUSICAL
"The Addams Family" — Jones, Sheward
"American Idiot" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Come Fly Away" — Bernardo, Geier, Windman
"Everyday Rapture" — Lipton, Pacheco
"Fela!" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Memphis" — Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Million Dollar Quartet" — Bernardo, Denton, Humm, Sheehan
"Sondheim on Sondheim" — O'Neil, Humm

BEST REVIVAL OF A PLAY
"A View from the Bridge" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Collected Stories" -- Humm
"Fences" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Hamlet" — Bernardo, Humm
"Lend Me a Tenor" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"The Royal Family" — Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

BEST REVIVAL OF A MUSICAL
"A Little Night Music" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Finian’s Rainbow" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"La Cage Aux Folles" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier,Humm,  Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
"Ragtime" — Bernardo, Humm
"Promises, Promises" — Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL
John Gallagher Jr., "American Idiot" — Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, O'Neil, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Kelsey Grammer, "La Cage aux Folles" — Denton, Jones
Sean Hayes, "Promises, Promises" — Bernardo, Geier, Lipton, Pacheco, Sheehan, Windman
Douglas Hodge, "La Cage Aux Folles" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Chad Kimball, "Memphis" — Bernardo, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Nathan Lane, "The Addams Family" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheward
Sahr Nguajah, "Fela!" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL
Kate Baldwin, "Finian’s Rainbow" — Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Kristin Chenoweth, "Promises, Promises" — Bernardo, Humm, O'Neil
Montego Glover, "Memphis" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Bebe Neuwirth, "The Addams Family" — Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheward, Windman
Christine Noll, "Ragtime" -- Bernardo, Denton
Sherie Rene Scott, "Everyday Rapture" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman
Catherine Zeta-Jones, "A Little Night Music" — Bernardo, Denton, Geier, Humm, Jones, Lipton, O'Neil, Pacheco, Sheehan, Sheward, Windman

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Oscar nominations follow guild awards as a guide

January 22, 2009 | 11:59 am

This year 18 of the 19 SAG acting nominees are repeating at the Oscars. Since double SAG nominee Kate Winslet was bumped up by the Oscars from supporting to lead for "The Reader," she was denied a lead nom for "Revolutionary Road." However, that film's Michael Shannon managed to knock SAG nominee Dev Patel of "Slumdog Millionaire" out of the supporting race.

Last year 15 of the 20 SAG nominees went on to compete at the Oscars. Two years ago, it was a staggering 19 of the 20 with the one variation coming from the same film — "The Departed" — as SAG nominee Leonardo DiCaprio was replaced at Oscar time by Mark Wahlberg.

Oscars_nominations_guild_awards_4

Four of this year's five SAG-nominated ensembles appear in Oscar-nominated best pictures with SAG contender "Doubt" replaced by "The Reader." Last year only one SAG ensemble nominee — "No Country for Old Men" — made it into the best-picture race, although that film won both awards. Two years ago it was three of five, with "Little Miss Sunshine" taking the SAG prize, but losing the top Oscar to "The Departed."

All five of the lead actress nominees are competing for both awards, though Kate Winslet contends at the Oscars for "The Reader" rather than "Revolutionary Road." Last year, it was four of five as the only SAG nominee not needing a babysitter come Oscar night was Angelina Jolie ("A Mighty Heart") whose spot went to "The Savages" star Laura Linney.

The supporting actress race matches up four to five as the promotion of Kate Winslet for "The Reader" left room at the Oscars for the addition of Marisa Tomei ("The Wrestler"). Last year, this race was also four for five with SAG nominee Catherine Keener ("Into the Wild") replaced by Saoirse Ronan of "Atonement."

Lead actor matched up perfectly. Last year, it went three for five with SAG nominees and relative newcomers Emile Hirsch ("Into the Wild") and Ryan Gosling ("Lars and the Real Girl") replaced by Hollywood vets Johnny Depp ("Sweeney Todd") and Tommy Lee Jones ("In the Valley of Elah").

And, as mentioned, the supporting race is four for five with Shannon replacing Patel. Last year SAG nominee Tommy Lee Jones ("No Country") was replaced by Philip Seymour Hoffman ("Charlie Wilson's War").

The DGA picks for best director matched up with four of the five academy choices as DGA nominee Christopher Nolan ("The Dark Knight") was edged out at the Oscars by Stephen Daldry ("The Reader"). Daldry has only helmed three films and has Oscar nods for all of them, the previous two being "Billy Elliot" (2000) and "The Hours" (2002). Last year, DGA nominee Sean Penn ("Into the Wild") lost his Oscar slot to Jason Reitman who helmed best pic nominee "Juno."

The PGA nominees for best picture also went four for five with the Oscar contenders as "The Dark Knight" was bumped by "The Reader." Last year, it was also four for five with PGA nominee "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" replaced by "Atonement."

The WGA nods for original screenplay were shut out save for Dustin Lance Black and his script for "Milk." Last year they lined up with the Oscar nominees except for "Knocked Up" which was knocked out of the competition by the team who whipped up "Ratatouille." However, the adapted screenplay race went four for five with only the WGA nominees for "The Dark Knight" bumped by David Hare, who adapted "The Reader." Last year Sean Penn, who wowed the WGA with his adaptation of "Into the Wild," was snubbed by the Oscars as was the scripter for "Zodiac." They were replaced by "Atonement" adapter Christopher Hampton and first time writer-director Sarah Polley.

The ASC choices for best cinematography lined up with the Oscar nominees except for "Revolutionary Road" shooter Roger Deakins, who was replaced by Tom Stern for "Changeling." Last year the ASC went five for five.

The ACE picks for best editing match those of the Oscars. Last year ACE nominee "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" was replaced by "Michael Clayton."

Continue reading »

How much do the episode entries really matter in deciding who wins Emmys?

September 22, 2008 |  3:50 pm

Every year the most lunatic Emmy gurus like me make a special point of watching the episodes that nominees for best acting in a series submit to voters. They all give one sample of their best work to judges, who must sign an affidavit attesting they viewed everything required in a given category before voting.

But how much do the episodes really make a difference in the voting process anymore? That's the big question pundits must decipher when forecasting Hollywood's most unpredictable award. Before 2000, the episodes mattered almost exclusively. Back then voters viewed them at judging panels conducted at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and they had to vote immediately afterward when still feeling the full emotional impact of submissions. As a result, the flashiest and most sentimental episodes usually paid off with victory.

Bryan_cranston_emmy

But the voting process changed this decade, and now judges view them at home and can ink their ballots later. Since then, industry buzz and the Cool Factor have played a larger role deciding who wins as voters have time to be reminded of those points while having some emotional distance between themselves and the episodes.

Clearly, Bryan Cranston''s episode of "Breaking Bad" is what cinched the upset victory for a show that's mustered only wee viewership for its seven episodes telecast. Portraying a guy who wigs out and goes on a drug spree when he finds out he's dying of cancer, Bryan Cranston gave the most volcanic and showy performance among the six up for best actor.

Also, Glenn Close ("Damages") and Jeremy Piven ("Entourage") had the most dynamic, or nearly so, episode entries in their categories.

But that certainly wasn't true of Tina Fey ("30 Rock") and Dianne Wiest ("In Treatment"). That leads me to wonder: Did they win based upon buzz and Cool Factor alone? If so, why didn't that pay off for Fey's "Saturday Night Live" costar Amy Poehler, who's almost as cool as her cohort? The vast majority of Emmy pundits predicted Poehler would win, if for no other reason than because she had the longest episode entry in terms of face-time minutes. Usually, that pays off with triumph.

Continue reading »

Oscars derby 2008-2009 front-runners

July 12, 2008 | 11:58 am

Click on the film titles below to learn more about each Oscars contender. Obviously, things will change. There are rumors, for example, that "The Reader" may move to 2009 so that two Kate Winslet flicks don't compete against each other. Also, some of these films don't have a distributor yet, including "Two Lovers," "Grey Gardens," "Synecdoche, New York" and "The Argentine." Many thanks to my Envelope colleague and pal Pete Hammond for his input to this list.

Happygolucky_sally_hawkins_mike_lei

BEST PICTURE
"Appaloosa"
"Australia"
"Body of Lies"
"Burn After Reading"
"Changeling"
"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"
"The Dark Knight"
"Defiance"
"Doubt"
"Gran Torino"
"Happy-Go-Lucky"
"Frost/Nixon"
"Milk"
"Miracle at St. Anna"
"Mamma Mia!"
"The Reader"
"Revolutionary Road"
"Secret Life of Bees"
"Seven Pounds"
"The Soloist"
"Vicki Cristina Barcelona"
"The Visitor"
"Wall-E"
"W"

BEST ACTOR
Eric Bana, "The Time Traveler's Wife"
Josh Brolin, "W"
Benicio del Toro, "The Argentine" or "Guerrilla" *
Leo DiCaprio, "Revolutionary Road" or "Body of Lies"
Robert Downey Jr., "The Soloist," "Iron Man"
Clint Eastwood, "Gran Torino"
Harrison Ford, "Crossing Over"
Jamie Foxx, "The Soloist" (supporting role?)
Richard Jenkins, "The Visitor"
Philip Seymour Hoffman, " Synecdoche, New York" * or "Doubt"
Hugh Jackman, "Australia"
Tommy Lee Jones, "In the Electric Mist"
Frank Langella, "Frost/Nixon"
Heath Ledger, "The Dark Knight" (supporting role?)
Derek Luke, "Miracle at St. Anna" (supporting role?)
Viggo Mortensen, "Appaloosa," "The Road"
Sean Penn, "Milk"
Joaquin Phoenix, "Two Lovers" *
Brad Pitt, "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" or "Burn After Reading"
Michael Sheen, "Frost/Nixon"
Will Smith, "Seven Pounds"

KEEP READING - CLICK HERE!

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Laura Linney lusts after Tony Award in 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses'

May 2, 2008 |  9:59 am

"Les Liaisons Dangereuses" is a provocative play about passion in 18th century Paris that returns to the rialto 21 years after it went 0 for 7 at the 1987 Tony Awards. ("We were up against August Wilson's 'Fences,' which swept everything," playwright Christopher Hampton tells Gold Derby. "We didn't have a prayer.") Hampton did go on to win the Oscar the following year for adapting his script for Glenn Close and John Malkovich. This well-received Roundabout stage revival now stars two-time Tony nominee Laura Linney and British heartthrob Ben Daniels in the plum roles of the calculating countess and her playboy pawn.

Ld3

The show led among plays at the Outer Critics Circle with nine noms, including best revival as well as nods for the stars who are also among the 69 actors competing for the distinguished performance prize from the Drama League. While it fared less well with the Drama Desk, picking up only two technical nods, expect it to figure in many Tony races when those nominations are announced May 13.

In his three-star review, Clive Barnes of the New York Post asks: "What is there not to like in 'Les Liaisons Dangereuses'? As revived last night by the Roundabout, Christopher Hampton's play is sensual, oddly naughty and totally, impassively immoral. That sensuality is neatly caught by Rufus Norris' elegantly paced staging and the leads: the couthly chilly Laura Linney, as La Marquise de Merteuil, and a splendiferous Ben Daniels, enjoyably snakelike as the urbane Le Vicomte de Valmont."

In her three-star review, Elysa Gardner of USA Today says, "Linney portrays the impervious elegance of a certain type of society woman as ably as Close did. But Linney also transmits an inescapable warmth, making the Marquise's ability to disarm her victims completely convincing, while giving us scrupulously subtle glimpses of her enduring ardor for Valmont. The witty Daniels, in contrast, seems impenetrable, at least until we grasp the full extent of Valmont's feelings for the virtuous Madame de Tourvel, whose honor he intends to destroy for reasons more complicated than he realizes. When forced to confront his love for this married woman, and how he has hurt her, Daniels powerfully evokes his ravaging guilt and regret."

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