Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Oscar Campaigns Wrap it Up with Dueling Luncheons, Last Minute Screenings

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It’s almost over. By tomorrow evening, the Academy Award nominations ballots will be in. And then there’s nothing anyone can do. Today was the last big chance to luncheons, dinners and screenings. And today was particularly fraught in New York, with 10 degree weather, vicious winds, and competing luncheons.

At Michael’s, Paramount Pictures celebrated Martin Scorsese’s Directors Guild nod for “The Wolf of Wall Street.” They also toasted Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska.” Both films are likely Best Picture nominees. Scorsese arrived just as the guests were seated for lunch in the Garden Room, where Bruce Dern — a definite nominee for “Nebraska”–and “Wolf” stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill were already tucked into sliced filet mignon.

Also on hand: Scorsese’s brilliant editor Thelma Schoonmaker; new “Late Night” host Seth Meyers, and Richard Gere, who kept his table buzzing with anecdotes.

Scorsese told me the success of “Wolf” quote–“is a relief. You betcha! We were editing in the dining room.” Indeed the film was finished at Scorsese’s home in a wild flurry of activity.

Before lunch was over, surprise guests like Ron Meyer and Charles Koppelman popped in to say hello. I introduced Koppelman to a fascinated Scorsese. Charles was the adviser to Steve Madden during the era of Jordan Belfort–a big section of “Wolf of Wall Street.” Small world. Everyone agree they liked Jake Hoffman’s portrayal of Madden, who has since gotten out of jail and become a great success in no small part due to Koppelman.

Meanwhile, over at the ’21’ Club, Peggy Siegal guided a lunch for the ladies of “12 Years a Slave” with the film’s director, Steve McQueen, and actresses Lupita Nyongo and Adepero Oduye. Multiple Oscar nominee Glenn Close held forth, and Lorraine Bracco– a new grandmother!–served as host. (The baby, named Vivian, is very cute a five weeks.) McQueen was similarly saluted as a Directors Guild nominee with cheers.

More? Oh yes. On Monday, the place to be was at the St. Regis Hotel for tea with “Philomena” director Stephen Frears, star and co-writer Steve Coogan. There were a lot of questions from the tea-teetotalers. But mine was: what happened to the Steve Coogan from “Tropic Thunder” and all those comedies? Is he gone? I think he is. Coogan: “This was a deliberate choice in my career.” I hate it when people grow up! So annoying. “I wanted to do something that was irony-free,” he said. “Philomena” is on its way to many Oscar nods.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
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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