A weird scene in the press room Monday night at the Gotham Awards: Somebody who worked for the vodka sponsor threw a fur hat at Jared Leto’s head to get him to turn his head a particular direction for a photograph. At first we didn’t realize it was a soft item and everyone gasped. The “Dallas Buyers Club” actor was very cool. He also has quite a mane of hair, so it didn’t hurt. The publicist in the room was understandably furious at the guy who threw the hat and chewed him out..
Cate Blanchett dropped off the press list. Bummed out journalists told me as soon I arrived on the red carpet at the Gotham Awards Monday night at Cipriani Wall Street. The “Blue Jasmine” star was to lose out anyway in the Best Actress category to the stunned and bubbly Brie Larson for her subtle star turn as a social worker in “Short Term 12.’
Other notable no-shows were Ethan and Joel Coen, who won the Best Feature Film award for “Inside Llewyn Davis.” Oscar Isaac, who stars in the title role as a talented but doomed-to-fail 1969’s folk singer, picked up the glass trophy instead for the absent brothers.
Isaac, who was also nominated for Best Actor, lost out to Matthew McConaughey for “Dallas Buyers Club.”
But McConaughey also didn’t make it to the Gotham Awards, so Jared Leto, who co-stars in “Dallas Buyers Club,” picked up the prize for McConaughey instead and even tried to call him from the stage to give him the good news.
In the pressroom Leto told me of McConaughey, “Alas he couldn’t be here. He’s working so I just thought I should try and call him and, you know,” he laughed, “it didn’t work out so well but he was laughing on the phone so it was kind of fun to be a small part of it. You know, it’s his award. I’m just happy that I could be here to kind of shepherd it and hide it from him.”
McConaughey’s got a good out; he’s on the film set of the hotly anticipated Christopher Nolan sci-fi thriller, “Interstellar,” co-starring Jessica Chastain and Anne Hathaway
Leto has added a lot of facial hair and a some weight since last year when he was at the Gothams to pick up an award for his documentary film “Artifact.” Leto was in the middle of shooting “Dallas Buyers Club,” in which he played the transgender Rayon, who is wasting away from AIDS, and he was so emaciated no one in the pressroom even recognized him. He’s still very skinny but at least now he doesn’t have to lean on anyone for support to keep from falling over from hunger. Also his eyebrows grew back.
“Last year everybody was wondering what the hell I was doing with no eyebrows, right?” Leto cracked before he exited the pressroom.
Meanwhile Oscar Isaac was just coming into the pressroom to pose with the Coen brothers trophy and chat with the press. He told he didn’t get a chance yet to tak to the famously awards-adverse brothers. “No, No, I just got off stage and talking to you now.”
Asked what he liked about working with Ethan and Joel, Isaac said, “They make a community of artists and so everyone is encouraged to give all their ideas and we’re all making it together. It really reflects what it was like in the Village in the 60’s you know.”
“There’s no vanity. There’s no ego to the thing that they do and they really examine existence,” he said.
Isaac told me the most challenging part about his role was how internal the character is. “He doesn’t show his emotions and he doesn’t ask to be liked. He doesn’t use charm, so to still convey a sympathetic human being as someone that deserves your attention without using those traditional means of warmth or extraversion, that was a challenge.”
Unlike Llewyn, Isaac is very charming and outgoing, especially when I asked him about his next film, which is set in 1860’s Paris and co-stars Elizabeth Olsen. It’s based on the Zola novel “Thérèse Raquin” about a sexually repressed young woman trapped in a loveless marriage with her sickly cousin Camille (Tom Felton). Jessica Lange plays Thérèse’s domineering aunt. At the “Oldboy” junket recently Olsen told me Isaac was terrific as Laurent, her passionate lover.
I asked Isaac what he could tell me about the film.
“I think Jessica Lange in incredible in the movie,” he said enthusiastically, “and she’s been one of my favorite actresses and so to get to work with her was incredible.”
And for once he gets to have some sexy love scenes I pointed out.
“I only wish it was with Jessica Lange, I can say that.”