Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Daniel Day Lewis Likes Pop Culture But Is No Fan of “Downton Abbey”


Not everyone was watching “Downton Abbey” on Sunday night. Two time (and soon maybe three time) Oscar winner Daniel Day Lewis, a Brit who is also Irish, laughed when I asked if he’d been among the 7.9 million viewers of Matthew and Mary Crawley’s wedding. “Are you kidding?” he said, sort of smiling and outraged at the same time. “That [sort of thing] is why I left England!”

Apparently, the “Lincoln” star’s sixteen year marriage to American writer-director Rebecca Miller (daughter of the late quintessential American playwright Arthur Miller) has made him more like us that Shirley MacLaine’s Martha Levinson– who told all the other characters in Sunday’s episode that their days of splendor were at an end.

But what about Maggie Smith, I asked, naively? (I mean, we all love the Dowager Countess.) “Oh come on!” Daniel said, rolling his eyes, and laughing a bit. He’s not a snob–quite the contrary. In a prior conversation, he had recounted for me a full knowledge of current pop culture. He’s with it, just not into revisiting England’s imperious past.

There wasn’t a lot of standing on ceremony last night at the New York Film Critics Circle dinner, where DDL won Best Actor for playing Honest Abe. A guest of one of the film critics, a young Christian man, hurled an epithet at Michael Moore when the documentary filmmaker criticized the Catholic church during his speech. His “F– you!” was heard right across the mic, and the miso sea bass. Moore responded by speaking in Latin, and laughing it off. He’s been heckled before. But the moment seemed to enliven his speech about how the church had ignored the AIDS crisis initially, and he went on to present David France with his award for “How to Survive a Plague.”

Chris Rock arrived, presented an award, and when done, immediately exited. It would have taken more time to wait in line and buy a sweater at Banana Republic. “Magic Mike” director Steven Soderbergh came, sat until he was called, presented the very gaunt Matthew McConnaughey with his award for Best Supporting Actor, and then he left immediately thereafter. McConnaughey made a rambling 13 minute speech, briefly returned to his table, then he exited.

People seemed to be dropped like flies. Winner Sally Field made a nice acceptance speech for playing Mary Todd Lincoln, then she also hot footed it out of there. “Lincoln” director Steven Spielberg also made a quick run for the door. Doesn’t anyone stay for dessert anymore? Actually, some do: Rachel Weisz and Daniel Craig, Daniel Day Lewis and Rebecca Miller, and French actress Emmanuelle Riva (“Amour”) all hung around for quite a bit, chatted and were all in great moods.

Craig–who is hard to get a read on sometimes– was all smiles when I mentioned how many awards and top 10 lists “Skyfall” had made it onto.

“Isn’t it great?” he said, which is a lot for James Bond. He and Weisz held hands all through this last part of the night, it should be noted. Aw, shucks!


Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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