Charlize 'Kisses Up' to Shirley MacLaine
It was the kind of moment television producers can only dream about.
Last night, during the taping of Premiere magazine's annual Women in Film ceremony, Oscar-winner Charlize Theron jumped off the stage, walked down into the audience and kissed Shirley MacLaine's posterior.
MacLaine had about two seconds' warning.
Theron first announced that she was on heavy painkillers for her neck, which she injured making the sci-fi thriller "Aeon Flux." She was accepting her award as a Premiere Icon in honor of all women.
"I love being a woman," she announced to the crowded main ballroom of the Beverly Hilton — the same room where the Golden Globes are handed out in January. She then extolled the virtues of having breasts.
MacLaine had been honored from the stage prior to receiving her own award, presented by Rachel Weisz and Lindsay Lohan.
(I loved Lindsay's unscripted remark about receiving a Women in Film award. "I'm not even a woman yet," she quipped. "I'm only 19.")
MacLaine pulled up her top and yanked down her pants just enough for Theron to plant a big wet kiss on her.
"That's the best I've had in years!" she shouted as Theron headed back to the podium.
The "Monster" star then conceded that she was likely "high" on painkillers.
"God," she said from the stage to MacLaine, "I'd love to get drunk with you."
Nikki Caro, the director of Theron's new movie, "North Country," introduced her.
Theron also talked about the importance of her entourage of friends and employees as her family.
"I don't really have a family," she said, and introduced her mother — who famously shot her father to death in South Africa many years ago, claiming self-defense.
Theron then spoke glowingly of her mom, who was in the room, recalling how she'd worked with road construction crews in South Africa, going to meetings in a suit.
All of this was caught by a film crew from American Movie Classics, which will air the Premiere event later this month.
Among those in the audience were other honorees — actress Laura Linney and costume designer Sophie De Rakoff — as well as Diane Lane, Reese Witherspoon, Joely Richardson, singer Julia Fordham with writer-sister Claire , best-selling cookbook author Martha Rose Shulman, former "Law and Order" actress Elisabeth Röhm, gorgeous former Miss America and sports commentator Phyllis George.
Also there were actor Alessandro Nivola with actress-wife Emily Mortimer, Ioan Gruffudd and Alice Evans, actor Jeff Daniels, Jane Seymour and Jane Kaczmarek.
The latter made such a moving speech about her successful charity, "Clothes Off Our Backs," that both Lohan and Weisz immediately donated the dresses they were wearing for auctions.
Theron was not the only honoree who spoke to MacLaine from the stage during the presentations.
Weisz, who's looking at a Best Supporting Actress nomination for "The Constant Gardener," was first.
She said, referring to MacLaine's work, "I actually pee in my knickers and cry at the same time."
She said MacLaine's character in "Terms of Endearment," Aurora Greenaway, was her favorite of all time.
Weisz, one of the speakers who did not use a TelePrompTer, also quoted poet W.H. Auden on the subject of war. She's someone we'll really be keeping an eye on now!
MacLaine was without a doubt the star of the evening when she finally got a chance to speak.
First of all, her guest was not her daughter, Sachi Parker, or even her brother, Warren Beatty. It was James van Praagh, the stout mustachioed fellow who talks to dead people. He's a medium. (Shirley's a small. Sorry.)
Van Praagh is apparently the co-executive producer of a new show called "Ghost Whisperer."
MacLaine is 71 and has roles in two highly anticipated films — Rob Reiner's "Rumor Has It" and Curtis Hanson's "In Her Shoes."
In her speech, MacLaine said — after 51 years in show business — she would never retire even though there are no roles for women over 40 in movies anymore.
"I would talk to the marketing people at the studios about it," she observed, "but they're 12 years old."
Actor Fisher Stevens wandered into Trader Vic's at the Beverly Hilton last night.
He'd just been to a cast screening of Robert Altman's "Prairie Home Companion," the film version of Garrison Keillor's radio show.
"It's wonderful," he told us, and we believe him. ...
Reese Witherspoon had better learn how to speak in public if she's going to accept awards for her work in "Walk the Line."
When she introduced Sophie De Rakoff last night — her costumer in "Legally Blonde" and "Sweet Home Alabama" — Witherspoon gushed, gasped, guffawed and generally came off like one of her ditzy, inarticulate characters. She used the word "amazing" 20 too many times. ...
People at the Premiere party were still talking about the Emmys and how "Deadwood" star Ian McShane could possibly have lost for Best Actor, how Jeremy Piven was robbed of his award from "Entourage" and how Frances Conroy also could have been overlooked for her last season on "Six Feet Under."
As I have explained before: HBO usually loses in categories regarding series. Emmy voters are largely network employees from Los Angeles. They vote against New York and cable. It's not a situation that is likely to change.
TV, not movies, provides the main economy on sound stages all over Hollywood for thousands of people. These are the cold, hard facts.