Daniel Day-Lewis is finally relaxed about picking up awards for a movie role.
It was only a few years ago that DD-L was as tense as a guitar string while making the rounds reluctantly for "Gangs of New York."
But now that he’s back, accepting kudos for "There Will Be Blood," DD-L is positively glowing. He’s wearing two earrings, smiling from ear to ear, and showing up everywhere. It’s not like he’s campaigning — he’s not — but suddenly the ferociously private actor is acting a little bit like a movie star.
"I think it is easier this time around," DD-L told me on Saturday night at the Los Angeles Film Critics dinner at the Intercontinental Hotel in Century City. It was the third award DD-L picked up in the space of a week, but he seemed altogether nonchalant and sort of, well, happy.
"There was a lot of tension around 'Gangs of New York,' and there isn’t this time. That helps, too," he said. For one thing, DD-L is the out and out star of There Will Be Blood, while Gangs co-starred him with Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, and legendary director Martin Scorsese. Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson is of DD-L’s generation, and there has been very much a soft sell of this film.
Meanwhile, the LA Film Critics—who call themselves LAFCA, which sounds like the character Andy Kaufman played on "Taxi" — also saluted director Sidney Lumet for Lifetime Achievement and his current film, the amazing "Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead."
During her toast to Lumet, actress Christine Lahti — who starred in his "Running on Empty"—revealed a little too much about why the director liked a scene she shot. She thought it was because the all male crew had tears in their eyes when Lumet yelled "Cut!"
"But he said it was because he [was aroused]," Lahti said.
With testimonials like these, it’s no wonder Lumet isn’t campaigning for an Oscar.
He should be, though. He told me before the dinner that his next film, at age 83, is a surprise. "I haven’t cast it yet and I don’t like to talk about films until they’re done." All we know is that he wrote the script himself and the title is "Getting Out."
Other stars at the LACFA dinner included Best Actress Marion Cotillard, whose performance as Edith Piaf in Picturehouse’s "La Vie En Rose" continues to win praise, and guests like Oscar winner Sissy Spacek, whose husband Jack Fisk won an award for the production design of "There Will Be Blood."
Is the alphabet network on a collision course to kill the Oscars next month?
It certainly seems like that’s the case after what ABC did on Friday.
The network — led by Robert Iger, who made $27 million last year according to reports — cancelled a dozen or so production deals with major TV producers late on Friday. The network used "act of God" contract provisions — meaning the WGA strike — to rid itself of deals with actor Taye Diggs of the show "Private Practice," "Borat" director Larry Charles, "Scrubs" creator Bill Lawrence, and many others.
One would think that if ABC wanted the Guild to allow a waiver for the Academy Awards on February 24th, the network wouldn’t be antagonizing writers.
But this huge, sweeping dismissal of a number of stars came off as an act of war, not conciliation. At this rate, the Oscars look doomed. Said one Academy insider last night: "You don’t know all the agendas going on here."
Maybe not, but at this rate, the TV networks are going to be running test patterns next fall.
There will be no Golden Globes ceremony tonight in Hollywood, no parties, and, frankly, no tears for this strange group.
Indeed, it’s possible that the Hollywood Foreign Press — loathed by every legit person in the movie business — could be in financial trouble when all is said and done thanks to the Writers Guild strike.
Because the Globes will not have their annual TV show tonight on NBC, the HFPA will lose its $6 million fee paid to them by the network. They will also lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue from the sales of tickets to their event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
At the same time, though, because the HFPA decided not to go ahead with the show, but with a "press conference" at the Hilton, the group will still be stuck with bills for venue rental and security.
But don’t cry for the HFPA. They claim $15 million in assets on their most recent federal tax return. The group has socked away millions from the NBC deal over the years. And it hasn’t hurt that the movie and TV studios have been treating them to all kinds of graft over the years.
Last night, NBC Universal and Focus Features threw a special party at Spago Beverly Hills for the HFPA members. Very few celebrities showed up, but there were just enough — and just enough free food — to keep the Globists in good stead.
On Friday night, Miramax — that’s the newish Disney Miramax — did the same for the HFPA, putting the photo-op-hungry members in close proximity to their stars. Wouldn’t be it a coincidence if both Miramax and Focus wound up getting a lot of Golden Globes tonight?
Earlier on Saturday, at least four members of the HFPA were seen scarfing down sandwiches at BAFTA/LA’s British Academy Tea at the Bev Hills. This is funny considering no members of BAFTA/LA are allowed in the HFPA’s closed society of schnorrers.
More on the BAFTA LA Tea tomorrow…
Vin Diesel at the Beverly Hills Hotel Polo Lounge with a posse of guys…Michelle Pfeiffer at the Four Seasons Hotel in West Hollywood lunching with CAA’s Kevin Huvane and Chris Anderson — far from the CAA ‘Death Star’ building in Century City and its attendant New York restaurant Craft. Michelle has been a client of Ed Limato’s for a hundred years, but Limato is now at William Morris and Michelle apparently is in a possible takeover situation. She could not have looked more youthful or beautiful even in jeans and no make-up. There’s a lot of career left there, and Huvane/Anderson can probably put her into 10 projects this week…Someone should tell New York hotelier Andre Balazs, who’s known as a friendly guy, that the insolent doormen at his Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles are not winning him much sympathy. It’s an awful scene at the entrance to the once-welcoming neighborhood hotel…