Published January 26, 2009
Never underestimate the power of Tom Cruise, or for that matter Creative Artists Agency.
How else do you explain Katie Holmes, of all people, getting the plum task last night of presenting the Best Actor Award at the Screen Actors Guild Awards?
Holmes is, at best, a TV actress. She doesn’t come from movies, and has never won any awards — never nominated for a SAG or even an Emmy for Dawson’s Creek. Not even a Golden Globe nomination. Consider that right there on the premises SAG could have chosen from any number of better suited candidates, starting with two time Oscar winner Sally Field? Or how about asking Kate Winslet, nominated for two awards last night — and the winner of one?
Not that I don’t like Katie Holmes, but really: wishing her into a movie star won’t make it so, at least not this way.
Otherwise, the Screen Actors Guild Awards went pretty much as planned: Meryl Streep, Sean Penn, Heath Ledger, and Kate Winslet picked up their expected statues. Slumdog Millionaire won Best Cast (formerly Best Ensemble). The nervous actors forget to thank screenwriter Sean Beaufoy. I’m sure they’re sorry for that.
I do think that the one change when the Academy votes will be giving Kate Winslet her Best Actress award for The Reader. This will free up Best Supporting Actress for either Penelope Cruz or Viola Davis. I am an unrepentant Meryl Streep fan — she IS the best actress of all — and her performance in Doubt is, as usual, spot on.
But Kate Winslet has been nominated for six Academy Awards. Her performance in The Reader is her richest and bravest yet. She could easily win the Oscar this time. She very much deserves it. Streep has so many awards and she no longer cares — in the best way. She was also hilarious and sweet on the SAG show, admitting that she didn’t even bother buying a dress. Too funny. Streep has entered some kind of nirvana where awards no longer matter.
I’ve also surmised that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt may have finally caught on, and know they will not be winning anything. Their good-natured appearances at these awards shows can only last so long. I can’t imagine what it’s like to always give that frozen grin to the camera when someone else’s name is called. Maybe the Oscar upset will be to give Brad Best Actor over Sean Penn. Stranger things have happened!
On the TV side, not to besmirch the brilliant Tina Fey and the wonderfully acerbic Alec Baldwin, but: Steve Carell is getting the shaft big time. The Office is the best comedy on TV, he’s the best actor, and the whole enterprise is about 100 percent more sublime than 30 Rock — and I love 30 Rock. Here’s hoping that by the Emmys next fall, the Fey-Sarah Palin spell will have worn off, and Carell and company can be rewarded for their wonderful work, too.
The plans for the 2009 Academy Awards show are oh so hush-hush. The producers won’t even tell us who’s presenting until they arrive on the show. Imagine reclusive stars like Lassie, Doris Day, J.D. Salinger and Justin with Britney and Jessica Biel!
Well, the line up will probably be more serious than that, but here’s a little scoop about the potential opening number. Seems Australia and Moulin Rouge director Baz Luhrmann, was telling friends about his role in all this at the Australia Week festivities here in New York this past week.
You want to know why Oscar host Hugh Jackman has been seen all over town lately? Well, he has asked Luhrmann and Catherine Martin — the director’s wife — to choreograph and produce a big opening musical number for him for the Oscars.
This should be something on the level of Busby Berkley and somehow make reference to all this year’s big films. You can almost envision Jackman — a song and dance man trapped in a Wolverine — in top hat and tails, doing his Fred Astaire thing to Bruce Vilanche’s rhymes about The Reader, Slumdog Millionaire, Ben Button, Frost/Nixon and Milk. Maybe throw The Dark Knight, Doubt and a couple of others in just for fun.
Sounds like Oscar producer for the night Bill Condon is trying to come up with some eye catching, popular stuff to make viewers keep their recently digitized TVs tuned to ABC. If anyone can do it, he can, that’s for sure.
Here’s an idea, Bill: intersperse an Oscar-centric episode of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire with all the nominees playing for charity. Regis can host, and you can torture the players who get the wrong answers! So when no one remembers the names of the 1984 supporting actress nominees, they get a little electric shock!
I’m just sayin’ …
Friday was the last time you’ll Deidre Hall on Days of Our Lives. She and Drake Hogestyn are gone, and I sincerely doubt they will return. Hall was the star of the show for 32 years. She’s been replaced by Kewpie dolls. Days faces imminent cancellation in 2010 as NBC is already all but divested of soaps. The soap world, overrun by self important executive producers and hack writers, not to mention crazy network execs, has allowed itself to implode … At 1p.m. today, in honor of Hall, turn off the TV and read a good book …
… Rosie O’Donnell’s ribbon cutting at the Maravel Center today is not this morning but this evening—6pm—in the Theatre District. FYI …
… Jimmy Fallon’s videos at Diggnation.com are getting better and better. Fallon’s using the spots to prepare for his late night take over of Conan O’Brian’s show in March on NBC …
… Ben Taylor, son of Carly Simon and James Taylor, is hitting the road to promote his excellent album, The Legend of Kung Folk. Schuyler Fisk, an accomplished singer songwriter and daughter of Sissy Spacek and Jack Fisk, is his opening act. Nice to see the talented second generation at work …
… One more Inauguration gala: Diane Blagman put together a swinging cocktail party last Monday night in Washington, DC for law firm Greenberg Traurig. The Grateful Dead and Warren Haynes of the Allman Brothers made an appearance, along with members of Congress, many mayors of major cities, and stars of the World Series of Poker. Blagman is one of the capital’s great movers and shakers…She gave Tory Burch and Lyor Cohen her seats at the Lincoln Memorial concert on Sunday…And wound up sitting with Maria Shriver with “a bunch of Kennedys,” Kate Walsh, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Bruce and Patti Springsteen and a bevy of celebs. Hanks, I’m told, really enjoyed Garth Brooks’s rendition of “(You Make Me Wanna) Shout!”