Sunday, May 19, 2024

“The Big Short” Stars Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling Get Big Time Oscar Treatment in Hollywood


You know you’re at a cool party when Dan Aykroyd greets you at the front door of a beautiful Beverly Hills home high in the sky. And it’s not even his house!

Aykroyd was an official co-host with his wife, the gorgeous Donna Dixon (yes, she is still every bit the ravishing beauty from “Bosom Buddies”) at an intimate gathering to celebrate Adam McKay’s “The Big Short.” Aykroyd was waiting for Dixon outside, even with the drizzle and the unseasonable cold, shaking hands with stars as they filed in one by one.

The actual hosts were famed producer Mike Medavoy and his stunning wife, Irena, who are sort of Hollywood’s unofficial goodwill ambassadors this week.¬† Last night it was “The Big Short,” tonight it’s “The Revenant.” If you want to know where anyone is this week, ask the Medavoys. (They couldn’t be nicer about it either– and so much cozier than another hotel or restaurant party.)

Inside, actress and social butterfly¬† Colleen Camp– who appeared this year in “Grandma,” “Knock Knock,” and “She’s Funny that Way”–was busy also co-hosting and greeting the stellar crowd including Lily Tomlin, “Grandma” director Paul Weitz, the naturally ebullient David O. Russell, Candy Clark (beloved from “American Graffiti”), plus Val Kilmer, Chaz Bono, Melanie Griffith, star jewelry designer Loree Rodkin, Laura Dern, Mary Kay Place, producer Fred Roos, director Tony Kaye, Marisa Tomei, Judd Apatow, and so on. I don’t know if they saw each other, but Rosanna Arquette and Vincent Spano, who starred in John Sayles’ great romantic comedy “Baby It’s You,” were also roaming around.

Brenda Vaccaro, raspy throated, theatrical, still a force of nature, told me: “I filled in for Valerie Harper this summer in a musical in Maine. I’d never sung before. I thought, why not?”

And then there were Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, as well as Jeremy Strong, stars of “The Big Short,” a movie that came into the Oscar race late but has picked up steam fast. Based on Michael Lewis’s book about the 2008 financial crisis, “The Big Short” seemed like a movie no one would understand. But then actress Margot Robbie appears in a bathtub and explains it, and the math part drifts away. You’re in.

Back to the party: Gosling bear hugged Carell, who’s become the Tom Hanks of this generation (nicest guy, everyone loves him), Russell and Weitz compared directors’ notes, everyone marveled at Melanie Griffith– who I think is ready for a serious film comeback folks, and producer Howard Rosenman regaled Tomlin and Tomei with stories of his years as Leonard Bernstein’s assistant.

And yes, Mary Kay Place and I did discuss the coincidence of “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman” debuting 40 years ago this week. She played country singer Loretta Haggers, and was so funny that it seems like time has never passed. Judd Apatow told her, “I have the box set, and it’s huge”– he motioned his arms out wide. After all, it was a nightly show that went on forever. “Yes,” Mary Kay, still cut as a button, said, “and some episodes were very, very good and some were baddddd.”

The party may still be going on. It’s so great to come to Hollywood– it’s like a dream of a movie of a dream.


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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