Published January 11, 2009
It’s the day of the Golden Globes, and the question is lingering everywhere: has Anne Hathaway won Best Actress for “Rachel Getting Married” and do the members of the Hollywood Foreign Press already know it?
On Friday, a star appeared next to Hathaway’s name on the HFPA’s web page listing their nominees. The star meant Hathaway was the winner. The only problem was that the ceremony was still 48 hours away. Whoops! The HFPA said it was a mistake, that Hathaway had not won. But frankly, the people out here at parties leading up to Globe night aren’t so convinced.
It’s now a lose-lose situation. If Hathaway is announced as the winner, the naysayers will feel vindicated. Of course, if she doesn’t win, many will claim that the HFPA simply changed the winner at the last minute to get themselves off the hook. It’s not good.
Imagine Meryl Streep, stuck in New York because of bad weather, only now presumably on a flight this morning to Los Angeles. She will make it with just a couple of hours before air time. She’s no doubt heard this story. Does she proceed or just go home, get back into a warm bed, and forget it? Either way, she’s justified.
Meanwhile, two Best Actress nominees made the rounds last night at Paramount Pictures’s swellish get together at the Chateau Marmont in West Hollywood. Paramount took over the famed faux medieval castle on Sunset Boulevard from HBO, which downsized its annual pre-Globes soiree to the Four Seasons hotel. At the same time, Paramount’s guests had to deal with a parking nightmare because the Chateau had at the same time leased out space to Vanity Fair’s publishing side so they could toast the cult TV show, “Mad Men.”
But up in the Chateau lobby, and out on the tented front lawn, it was quite a scene as Paramount’s homecoming king and queen, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, moved through the crowd clockwise as a scrum of friends, publicists, agents, well wishers, and autograph hounds followed. The couple held hands, stopped and chatted with just about anyone who wanted to talk to them.
They were unfailingly polite. Brad asked Angie, “What do you want to drink?” he also asked this reporter what I’d like to drink. I replied, “We’ve established that you’re very nice.” Pitt laughed. “I can be an ass, too, sometimes. Don’t worry.” Angie took a red wine. Someone behind me said, loudly, as if Jolie were in a picture and not able to hear, “She isn’t pregnant, see?” You think: would you go out in public if people were always commenting about you? It’s like the "Truman Show."
The couple answered a lot of questions about their newish twins, Knox and Vivienne, with similar answers to anyone who asked. “He’s just like me, and she’s just like her,” Brad said, after Angie said something similar. Each time, it sounded unrehearsed, and revelatory. Brad said, like most dads, “But they have their own personalities. It’s amazing.” In fact, there are six personalities in small bodies at home. But the couple seems undaunted. Angie talked about reading Dostoyevsky and visiting Russia. She told me she was getting together soon with Marianne Pearl, whom she played in “A Mighty Heart.” Their friendship has endured. Brad shook hands with commentator Bill Maher. Later, they hung with Robert Downey, Jr., who wore his Sherlock Holmes hat and jacket to the party.
Jolie wasn’t the only Best Actress nominee at the Paramount party. Kate Winslet had finally arrived from New York. She was sitting so quietly in the center of the storm that most guests were unaware of her presence. She told me she was thrilled to have won the Critics Choice award on Thursday for Best Supporting Actress in “The Reader.”
“I couldn’t lose another award!” she joked ruefully. How right: years from now people are going to look back at her work in “The Reader” and “Revolutionary Road” and say, “She did them both in the same year? Incredible!”
Nearby, her friend and co-star Leonardo DiCaprio lingered with girlfriend Bar Rafaeli and pal Kevin Connolly of “Entourage” fame. The trio, like many of us, had just arrived from the BAFTA/LA tea at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Leo went on a shopping spree at the event’s silent auction, picking up a guitar signed by the Rolling Stones for $2,000, plus Mikimoto diamond earrings for his mom and some American Airlines tickets to an unknown destination. “I’m trying to support the cause,” Leo said, which was nice since BAFTA only votes for British movies and actors.
So yes, your reporter stood in an area the size of maybe a small walk in closet with Leo, Kate, Robert, Brad and Angelina among others—these are the Hollywood stars of this generation, dragged through tabloid mud every week, fictionalized on blogs, and observed them simply chatting and drinking and eating Chateau snacks from cupcakes to mini egg rolls. No one was pregnant, everyone smiled and laughed, there were no fights or proclamations of jealousy. You could almost feel Star and US Weekly going out of business.
They weren’t the only actors in the room. A very thin Sharon Stone made the rounds with a boyfriend who was less than half her age but well spoken and, thankfully, “not in the business.” Bob Balaban popped in with daughter Hazel. “John Adams” director Tom Hooper came by with his Globes companion, Peggy Siegal. There were some very cool stars of recent generations, too, whom we admired, like Jacqueline Bisset, Seymour Cassell, Beau Bridges, Diane Baker, and Brenda Vaccaro. We talked to the legendary Martin Landau about one of his many famous movies, Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest.” And so on.
And these were not the only events of the night. Over at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, Miramax and Disney took over the penthouse floor and roof to hail both “Doubt” and “Wall E.” Amy Adams, John Patrick Shanley, Viola Davis, “Wall E” director Andrew Stanton were among the guests. Director Brett Ratner hosted a screening and cocktails for Mickey Rourke and Darren Aronofky for “The Wrestler.”
And all of that was preceded by that BAFTA/LA tea, where Clint Eastwood rolled in toward the end, all smiles as his “Gran Torino” scooped up $9 million on Friday night as it expanded its release and won the night, and the weekend. The Globes gang didn’t get “Gran Torino,” but the Oscar predictors are now saying that the movie and the actor may make a last minute surprise attack, come in and clean up. We can only hope it’s true.
We also ran into Josh Brolin, who got a kick out of the press resulting from this column’s first report about his Russell Crowe speech on Monday in New York. “I got an email from Russell,” Josh told me. “He thought it was hilarious.”
Also at BAFTA: “Reader” director Stephen Daldry, the inimitable Fred Willard, “Californication” actor-writer Evan Handler, Brendan Frasier, plus Ron Howard, Paul Haggis, Kristin Scott Thomas, Sally Hawkins, Michael Barker and Tom Bernard from Sony Pictures Classics—they just picked up Woody Allen’s new movie, much to the delight of Woody’s sister/producer Letty Aronson, who was also there, plus Marisa Tomei and the whole “Slumdogs” gang including director Danny Boyle, writer Simon Beaufoy, and young stars Dev Patel and Freida Pinto who everyone, including Clint Eastwood, wanted to meet.
My favorite guest? “Brothers and Sisters” star Matthew Rhys who speaks with a Welsh accent. “Sometimes girls say to me, Stop it, I hate it when actors fake accents,” Rhys joked. “I tell them I’m really from Indiana.”