Now that the Golden Globe nominations are in, everybody is handicapping the Oscars. Most insiders think the GG’s really make an impression on Academy voters. The Globes are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. They can be a bit strange and we’ve never heard of most of them, but never mind, now, once a year they are a power in Hollywood.
However, since these are the Globes, this is what I hope for on Jan. 13. Best Picture Drama: “The Life of Pi” (One of the most amazing and moving films I have ever seen!) … Best Picture Musical or Comedy: “Silver Linings Playbook” … Best Director: Ben Affleck, “Argo” … Best Actor, Drama: Richard Gere, “Arbitage” … Best Actress, Drama: Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone” … Best Actor Musical or Comedy: Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook” … Best Actress Musical or Comedy: Jennifer Lawrence, “Silver Linings Playbook” … Best Supporting Actor: Alan Arkin, “Argo” … Best Supporting Actress: Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables” … Best Screenplay: Chris Terrio, “Argo.”
My wish list for Oscar will be different.
Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the first “Pink Panther” movie. This starred David Niven, Robert Wagner, Claudia Cardinale, Capucine and, but of course, Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau.
Sellers would go on to reprise the role in “A Shot in the Dark,” and make three more “Pink Panther” movies.
MGM is bringing out a lavish DVD/Blu-ray box set of all the Sellers “Panther” pics. This will include cartoons – as well as the sly animated Pink Panther that opened and closed the movies.
Steve Martin, who also played Clouseau a couple of times, has been planning another “Panther” movie. The script is being worked on.
Are you one of those people who actively hates The New York Times’ drama critic and believes that guys like Ben Brantley can close down shows with a few choice words?
The other night I appeared at a gathering in the Core Club where Ben and I, together, discussed America’s passion: Broadway musicals. And “Broadway Musicals” is also the title of a collectors’ item coffee-table book by Ben – a mouthwatering offering with a dazzling photo of those “Chicago” girls Bebe Neuwirth and Anne Reinking dancing on the cover.
I don’t know if Ben and Liz as arbiters of such an all-American art form sold any of these fab books published by Abrams, but we certainly had a lively discussion. (Ben thoroughly discusses 200 odd shows, so this book would make a great Christmas gift for that theater lover in your life. He is being pilloried for omitting some people’s favorites, like 1961’s “Carnival!”)
In our discussion, I put down British “musical comedy,” saying that it was pallid early on, despite the talents of such as Hugh “Binkie” Beaumont, Noel Coward and the drag use of pantomime, arguing that U.S. values created the ’20s and ’30s show biz atmosphere of such geniuses as Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Then, sometime in the ’80s, the Brits got their act together and sent us Andrew Lloyd Webber’s considerably different musical works, with exploding scenery.
Does Ben Brantley close shows? He confesses he’s not keen on “The Phantom of the Opera,” but notes that it is still playing to long lines at the Majestic on the Great White Way, since 1988. And it has gone all over the world on stages and in the film – which I liked better.
Ben and I both tried to convince our audience that we were just small-town hicks from North Carolina and Texas, respectively, and we had “gotten lucky” in New York and realized our own personal dreams. We are still stage-struck and Mr. Brantley begged the audience to consider his writings as only one opinion and to go to the theater enthusiastically and make up their own minds.
Then, the Times-man confessed to his own lowbrow prejudices. (He loves the musical “Mamma Mia!” – and so do I, having seen it about six times.) We also admitted that we still love the lure of the stage, are almost never bored when the lights go down, and find something valuable in every theater experience.
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