Tag Archives: Oscar

Test Your Academy Awards Know-How With Beck/Smith’s Oscar Quiz

The waiting is almost over for Hollywood’s biggest night of the year! With the 84th Academy Awards coming up tomorrow (Feb. 26), it’s time to test your Oscar show know-how. Here’s our Oscar Quiz, with a little gossip, a little trivia and a few blush-worthy moments mixed in:

1) Which of last year’s winners failed to return from the bar fast enough, got locked out of the Kodak Theater during the awards, and missed a costar’s win? A. Melissa Leo B. Colin Firth C. Christian Bale

2) This is Billy Crystal’s ninth Oscar show hosting, but he has a ways to go before surpassing Bob Hope’s record of Academy Awards emceeing. How many times did Hope host? A. 12 B. 18 C. 21

3) This past Oscar nominee crashed the Academy’s Board of Governor’s Ball wearing rumpled cotton slacks and a Hawaiian shirt. A. Johnny Depp B. Bill Murray C. Djimon Hounsou

4) This Best Actor Oscar winner’s acceptance speech, thanking his high school drama teacher, a gay man, is said to have been the inspiration for Kevin Kline’s “In and Out” movie. A. Richard Dreyfuss for “The Goodbye Girl” B. Tom Hanks for “Philadelphia” C. Russell Crowe for “Gladiator”

5 ) Which of this year’s “The Help” acting nominees was the parole board member questioning Danny Ocean (George Clooney) in the opening scene of “Ocean’s Eleven?” A. Jessica Chastain B. Octavia Spencer C. Viola Davis

6 ) Hal Holbrook and Ruby Dee were nominees with a special distinction in the 80th Oscars. What did they have in common? A. They were the last two nominees born before the first Academy Awards. B. They were also both Emmy nominees that year. C. They both did voiceovers for Sears Financial Services.

7) The story goes that she won an Oscar, he was jealous, and it led to their breakup. A. Sandra Bullock and Jesse James B. Sally Field and Burt Reynolds C. Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise

8 ) Which one of these portrayals did not involve partial nudity? A. Gwyneth Paltrow “Shakespeare in Love” B. Catherine Zeta-Jones “Chicago” C. Kathy Bates “About Schmidt”

9) Which Best Actress winner was so mortified to realize she’d forgotten to thank her husband in her acceptance speech, she spent the next year trying to rectify the slight? A. Halle Berry B. Hilary Swank C. Helen Hunt

10) After he dumped her on national TV, she showed up on the Oscar red carpet looking especially stunning. A. Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow B. Billy Bob Thornton, Laura Dern C. Matt Damon, Minnie Driver

11) A long-standing urban legend has it that the 1993 Best Supporting Actress Oscar should have gone to Vanessa Redgrave for “Howard’s End,” but presenter Jack Palance incorrectly announced this actress’ name instead. No truth to it, by the way. A. Juliette Binoche, for “The English Patient.” B. Mira Sorvino, for “Mighty Aphrodite.” C. Marisa Tomei, for “My Cousin Vinny.”

12) Which actress was so flustered by her win she left her Oscar behind in the ladies room? A. Holly Hunter B. Meryl Streep C. Whoopi Goldberg

ANSWERS 1) C: Christian Bale missed out on his “The Fighter” mom, Melissa Leo’s Oscar moment.

2) B: 18

3) B: Bill Murray

4) B: Tom Hanks

5 ) C: Viola Davis

6 ) A: They were born before the first Oscars in 1929

7) B: Sally Field and Burt Reynolds. Bullock learned James was having an affair days after her Oscar win. Kidman won after her marriage to Cruise had ended.

8 ) B: Catherine Zeta-Jones

9) B: Hilary Swank, who won again the next year and thanked now-ex husband Chad Lowe first.

10) C: Matt Damon, Minnie Driver

11) C: Marisa Tomei

12) B: Meryl Streep

‘The Artist’s’ Unique Place Among Oscar Nominees


“The Artist,” which is up for 10 Academy Awards and has won just about every other award in sight along with the hearts of the film community here,  is the only film among the nine Best Picture Oscar nominees that was actually made in Hollywood.  Yes, if a French filmmaker, director Michael Hazanavicius, had not felt passionately that he had to make his film about Hollywood IN Hollywood, there wouldn’t have been a single movie made exclusively in Movietown among the nominees.

Hazanavicius also made sure that moviegoers see Hollywood faces on the screen.  Sixty-six of the 68 actors in the film were Hollywood actors (67 out of 69 if you count Uggi, America’s new canine heart-throb).

Michel Hazanavicius

The film could have been shot in Paris, but the director — who took home honors from the Directors Guild of America over the weekend — wanted it to be done on the streets and in the sound stages that were around over 80 years ago when movies were making the change from silent flicks to talkies.

You’d better believe that many in this town, home to the greatest reservoir of film-acting talent and craft talent and site of the world’s best movie-making facilities, are hoping that the spectacular success of “The Artist” serves as a reminder that it can be done best here.

Janet McTeer Finding Oscar Spotlight More Fun This Time Around

Janet McTeer on Browadway in Mary Stuart

Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee Janet McTeer is enjoying her time in the Academy Awards spotlight for “Albert Nobbs” much more than she did when she was nominated as Best Actress in 1999 for her portrayal of a single mom in “Tumbleweeds.”  The reason:  “It’s easier because it’s a bit less scary,” she explains. 

“I suppose I’m older and wiser so I suppose I can take it more lightly.  I know more people here now.  I’m more likely to bump into a lot of mates.  When I first went to the Academy Awards, I knew not a single person.  You think, ‘Oh my God, I’m going to do the wrong thing, fall over my dress, do something embarrassing and lose every friend I’ve ever met and end up without a dime in my pocket,” she dead-pans. 

Now, she says, her feeling is, “How lovely.  What an honor to be included and see all these wonderful people.”

The RADA-educated, Tony and OBE-awarded actress was quoted in the past, talking about the whole Oscar business as “silly” and noting that the English tend to be embarrassed by the idea of admitting they’d like to win, whereas Americans have been known for declarations about the nominations constituting the best day of their lives and such. 

Reminded of that statement, she says, “I would probably say the best day of my life was the day I got married, as opposed to the day I got nominated.  It’s a wonderful thing, not a defining thing.  Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t mean to sound trollish.  I think they’re wonderful.  I think they’re a great honor.  And it’s absolutely fantastic for the film — how many more people will see it and see what Glenn (Close) has achieved.  I’m grateful for that, and genuinely, hugely flattered.”

McTeer’s awards season whirlwind continues.  She has the big screen chiller “The Woman in Black” starring Daniel Radcliffe opening Feb. 3.  She’s also been busy with projects for the BBC and HBO, and a German film, in addition to her upcoming guest arc on Close’s “Damages.”  She tells us, “I’ve been going back and forth, racing back toMaineto see my family whenever I could.  I live inMaineand work inNew York.  Truthfully, I think when we get to March I’ll vacation for a week.”

Janet McTeer Delighted by ‘Albert Nobbs’ Gay/Lesbian Support

"Albert Nobbs"

Esteemed British actress Janet McTeer, who is up for Independent Spirit Award and Golden Globe honors for her performance in “Albert Nobbs,”  is delighted that she and her character are being embraced by the gay and lesbian community.

“I think it’s awesome,” says the 6’1″ Tony winner and OBE, who wanted her character to be markedly different from Glenn Close’s titular character in the film.  (Warning: the following three paragraphs contain spoilers.)  Albert Nobbs is a woman in 19th century Ireland who took on a male persona in order to get a job and get off the streets, and has lived as a man for 30 years.  Her path crosses with that of McTeer’s Hubert, who also turns out to be a woman passing as a man.

“Albert is very different from Hubert.  With Albert, you’re not sure if he’s gay, straight or whatever, and I’m not sure Albert knows.  Albert is a damaged human being.  What I very much wanted to portray with Hubert is someone spectacularly happy and at peace being themselves,” says McTeer.  And she did.  Hubert, who is happily married, comes off as “a bloke you’d like for a neighbor, or someone you want to go out and have a pint with, and still retains these lovely feminine qualities.”

She’s been told that, “The lesbians and the crossdressers and the transsexuals are all going to want to claim you.’  And I said, ‘Good, because they can all claim Hubert.   Hubert is someone I think of as both a he and a she….I really wanted to play a character like that — one who doesn’t explain herself, doesn’t feel the need to justify herself.   I can’t bear labels.  I couldn’t give a —- about anyone’s sexuality unless I want to sleep with them myself.”

Right now, McTeer and Close are busy working together again — as opposing (female) attorneys who have a history — on the final season of Close’s “Damages.”  McTeer jokes that they’re in each other’s contracts nowadays.  They’ll be breaking from series production on the East Coast to head to Hollywood for the Jan. 15 Golden Globes — where Close is up for Best Actress and Best Original Song.  They’re each up for Screen Actors Guild Awards, too.  And they’re considered by many to be shoo-ins for Oscar nominations.

‘Whites Only’ Oscars? Not If These Tour De Force Turns Are Remembered

Helen Mirren, Felicity Jones, Djimon Hounsou

Will the 2010 Oscars be a whites-only club? Gregg Kilday and Matthew Belloni projected the possibility in the Hollywood Reporter back in September, and as this awards season has moved forward, indeed, the focus has been on a collection of Caucasian colossi.

Where are the faces of color? Minority stars have been busy cranking out big commercial movies this year rather than Oscar-type fare, goes the prevailing industry wisdom — Denzel Washington in “Unstoppable,” Don Cheadle and Samuel L. Jackson in “Iron Man 2.” The dearth of African-American, Latino and Asian players in the critics’ awards picks is either 1) just a coincidence or 2)another result of the recession, as distributors fail to pick up independent films that feature minorities, and studios “play it safe.”

Before we get too carried away with this theme, however, the picture could still change. There are Oscar-worthy performances by non-whites in this year’s crop of films, performances that merit more attention than they’ve been getting, starting with Djimon Hounsou in Julie Taymor’s “The Tempest.”

Two-time Academy Award nominee Hounsou plays the enslaved island native Caliban as quite literally a force of nature, the offspring of a witch and the devil. The actor studied Butoh, an ancient form of Japanese dance that represents nature, to prepare for the role. He moves with raw, animalistic grace. He went through five hours a day having makeup applied to his nearly naked body, a process the actor admits always left him in a terrible mood — which he used in his performance as a not-quite-human being consumed by rage.

Taymor continues to have the artistic audacity to follow her own creative instincts rather than playing to critics’ or audiences’ expectations, which has resulted in a “Tempest” that’s excited passionate responses both negative and positive. That this film, with its flawless performances and unforgettable stark imagery, will stand the test of time is without doubt, whether the Academy pays more attention than critics’ groups or not. “The Tempest” opens tomorrow
(12/10).

Meanwhile, would Kimberly Elise be getting more notice for her heart-wrenching portrayal of a woman who submits to abuse in “For Colored Girls” if it weren’t for the fact that Tyler Perry directed the film, and critics don’t like Perry?

The flaws of Halle Berry’s “Frankie and Alice” — also opening, in limited release, tomorrow (12/10) — have been widely enumerated, but there is no ignoring the daring performance of Oscar-winner Berry as a severely emotionally damaged woman with two alternate personalities.

Almost certainly, Javier Bardem, another Academy Awards nomination veteran, will be remembered for his portrayal of a terminally ill criminal in “Biutiful,” which already won him Best Actor honors at the Cannes Film Festival. That, at least, will add a dash of Spanish flavor to the mix.