So many insights from last night’s Gotham Awards, starting with this exchange with the affable Ryan Reynolds, husband of Scarlett Johansson and co-star of “Adventureland,” a Focus Features film that brought him to the awards for the first time. Reynolds is more of a studio pictures guy. But anyway I digress. When I told him I saw Scarlett and Pete Yorn on “Live with Regis and Kelly” yesterday morning, his eyes narrowed.
“Wait. Was that the show with Matt Dillon?” Apparently, Ryan gave up watching when he saw Dillon, not realizing that Scarlett and Pete would be on last. Oh well, someone will show him the tape. Ryan did recite for me the Green Lantern’s famous motto after a few seconds of sorting it out from memory. He stars filming as the superhero next March.
In case you don’t know it: “In brightest day, in blackest night ‘ no evil shall escape my sight! Let those who worship evil’s might ‘ Beware my power… Green Lantern’s light!”
“I don’t have to know it until next spring,” he said, but then figured it out.
Meanwhile, Reynolds hung out, at least during cocktails, with Anthony Edwards, Dr. Greene of “ER” fame who’s just starting to get back into acting after taking some time off. He just did Rob Reiner’s next film, “Flipped,” set for release in September 2010. “It’s got the feel of ‘Stand by Me’,” Edwards said. And where has he been? “I have four kids,” he replied. “Plus, I think we were all a little sick of seeing me so much on TV.” Not true — but a refreshing approach.
Meantime, the Gotham Awards were just cheek by jowl stuffed into the usually cavernous Cipriani downtown, a former bank that is often used for charity functions and private music shows. If there was anyone from the New York film world not there last night, fuhgeddaboutit. The Gothams are now the kick off to the season. This morning (Tuesday) come the Indie Spirit nominations from Los Angeles. We are off to the races, with Kathryn Bigelow’s “The Hurt Locker” on the inside track. (It won a bunch of awards last night.)
Looking calm while their world was being sent into upheaval uptown: Universal Pictures’ Ron Meyer and NBC chief Jeff Zucker. Indeed, the Universal turn out at Cipriani was heavy for their Coen Brothers’ movie, “A Serious Man,” Focus Features, and honorees Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner from Working Title Pictures. While the show was going on, Comcast was making its deal to take over NBC Universal.
The gang from “A Serious Man,” meanwhile, was pretty heavy ‘ the whole cast, plus the Coens, including Michael Stuhlbarg, Richard Kind, Amy Landecker, Fred Melamed, and Sari Lennick. Still, they lost to “The Hurt Locker.”
Where do the Gothams and the Spirits fall? If you think of a three-tiered system, there are the big studio movies that get no awards but rake in the bucks (e.g. “The Blind Side,”). Then there are the serious Oscar movies, and at the bottom, the small gems. This year’s include “The Messenger,” “Big Fan,” and about a dozen more. Last year, “Frozen River” was in that group. Will one of them break out? It seems like “The Hurt Locker” grabbed that spot a while ago.
And into this came: Ellen Burstyn, Alec Baldwin, Sam Rockwell, Oliver Platt, Shohreh Aghadashloo, Rosie Perez, Brooke Shields, Willem Dafoe (who had to endure ribbing from the night’s emcee about “Antichrist“), Chris Rock and his wife Malaak, doc makers James Toback (”Tyson” ‘ overlooked by the Academy this year),’ Morgan Spurlock (finishing up his “Simpsons” documentary for January), and so on. Tim Robbins popped in at one point. Stephen Daldry, director of “The Hours” and “Billy Elliott” also dropped in, and said he hadn’t heard: “Billy Elliott” on Broadway broke a boxoffice record last week. “Really?” he exclaimed owlishly, while Jim Sheridan, director of “Brothers” and a bunch of beloved films, tried to figure out how to introduce Natalie Portman later in the evening.”No one told me anything,” said Daldry.
And then there was Patricia Clarkson, a’ breath of fresh air, who should be nominated for Best Supporting Actress from Woody Allen’s “Whatever Works.” Like all of Woody’s supporting actresses over the years, Clarkson arrives about 40 minutes into the film and steals it from all the other actors you’ve been following up to that point. Penelope Cruz did it last year, Dianne Wiest has done it twice, Mira Sorvino did it in “Mighty Aphrodite,” Maureen Stapleton in “Interiors,” and so on. It’s as if Woody knows the audience is tiring from his basic set up, and needs a kick in the pants. Clarkson more than does it.
The best bestowment of the night? A cherubic Meryl Streep, giving Stanley Tucci ‘ her co-star in both “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Julie & Julia” ‘ his tribute award. There were tributes, not Lifetime Achievement awards, also for 26-year-old Natalie Portman and to Fellner and Bevan.
“You gave me this a little early,” cracked Tucci. “I will get better.”