Why is Meryl Streep our favorite person? On Friday she flew from Tulsa, Oklahoma–where she’s shooting “August: Osage County” in 35 degree weather, to East Hampton, NY. Having only cold weather clothing, she went into her sister in law’s closet, picked out a warm weather top and jeans, and sneaked over to Guild Hall to surprise award winning costume designer Ann Roth for her tribute at the Hampton Film Festival.
For most of the tribute–moderated by Alina Chow, with guests Mike Nichols and Nathan Lane hilariously providing the comedy for Roth, who doesn’t like press and claimed to have no idea why she was being given a tribute by the Festival and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences–Streep sat hidden in the back of the theater.
I’m surprised Roth didn’t know she was there. When Chow described Roth as “the Meryl Streep of costume designers,” Streep let out a loud hoot from her seat. It was pretty funny.
When Streep finally took the stage, after Lane and Nichols ably entertained the crowd, she read a poem she’d written about Roth.
Later, in the green room, Streep admitted that she’d stolen the top she was wearing. “This is from Mary Streep. But don’t write that. She has no idea.” (It was very nice, Mary, but very Meryl.) I said, “Four hundred people just heard you say that,” I replied. “Yes,” said Meryl,”but they won’t say anything, will they?”
Streep, sporting short hair, said “August: Osage County” is going very well, but that since she’d been in Tulsa the temperature had dropped from 80 to 35. “It’s supposed to be August, so we’re shooting the fall things as quickly as possible.”
Meantime, I told Mike Nichols I was relieved to see him– and to see how well he looked. A gossip wag had called recently claiming Nichols wasn’t well. “Do you know how you knew it wasn’t true?” Mike asked. “Someone called you.” Nichols just recently staged that elegant memorial for Marvin Hamlisch at the Juilliard School.
Among the guests at Guild Hall were Scott Rudin and Hawk Koch, the new president of the Academy.
As for Roth, she’s like someone’s erascible grandmother or a modern day Bud Abbott She’s the perfect straight man. She talked a lot about Nicole Kidman’s nose in her Best Actress performance in “The Hours,” Jane Fonda’s famous haircut in “Klute” (Roth took her to get it)–also an Oscar winning performance; designing Barbra Streisand’s very sexy costume for “The Owl and the Pussycat?” (the New York Times, she said, wouldn’t run the ads) and getting Colin Firth and Pierce Brosnan to wear spandex while singing “Waterloo” in “Mamma Mia.”
After Roth convinced Brosnan to wear the spandex, she walked across Pinecrest Studios with him. She recalled “If you remember, he’d lost the job of playing James Bond, and it wasn’t a happy experience. And there we are, crossing the lot, he’s in the spandex, and here comes Daniel Craig walking past us in the most stunning tuxedo.” Roth takes a beat. “Let’s just say it was an awkward moment.”