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Category: Christopher Plummer

Spirit Awards: Christopher Plummer, Jean Dujardin among early acting winners

February 25, 2012 |  2:42 pm


Christopher Plummer picked up the first statuette at the Film Independent Spirit Awards on Saturday, winning the award for best supporting actor for his role in "Beginners," in which he plays a father and widower who reveals he's gay, surprising his adult son.

The venerable actor, who is considered a front-runner to win in the same category at Sunday's 84th Academy Awards, took the stage with a quip in keeping with the irreverent nature of the beachside Santa Monica ceremony hosted this year by Seth Rogen.

"It's taken me the longest time to realize that the Spirit Awards have nothing to do with booze!" said Plummer, who previously has won Golden Globe, SAG and BAFTA awards for the role in writer-director Mike Mills' film. 

PHOTOS: Spirit Awards red carpet

The top prize for the independent film community, the Spirit Awards hand out trophies in 14 competitive categories. The afternoon affair is designed to be a more casual answer to the motion picture academy's lavish Oscar gala.

Rogen opened the show with a series of jokes targeting Hollywood personalities. In discussing why awards season is necessary, he said, "Without awards season we wouldn't know what a bigot Brett Ratner was," referring to the anti-gay slur the filmmaker made last year at a point when we was set to produce the Academy Awards telecast.

The two-hour ceremony moved along at a quick clip, with a number of prizes handed out in the first hour or so. Will Reiser won for best first screenplay for "50/50," a cancer-themed comedy inspired by his personal experiences battling the disease as a young man. Reiser was diagnosed while working on "Da Ali G Show" alongside Rogen, who also stars in and produced "50/50."

Guillaume Schiffman won the best cinematography award for his work on the awards-season juggernaut "The Artist," the black-and-white homage to the silent era that is up for best feature at the Spirit Awards and is expected by many to win the best picture Oscar at the Academy Awards, where Schiffman is also nominated for his cinematography.

Shailene Woodley won the best supporting actress prize for her performance opposite George Clooney in the family drama "The Descendants." In the film, the actress plays a moody teenager who begins reconciling with her distant father when her mother falls into a coma.

The John Cassavetes Award, which honors the best feature made for less than $500,000, was presented to "Pariah" writer-director Dee Rees and producer Nekisa Cooper. The film tells the story of a black teenager embracing her identity as a lesbian while dealing with tension at home and other trials of adolescence. The film's star, Adepero Oduye, was nominated for best female lead for her performance.

And making it two for "The Artist," the film's star, French actor Jean Dujardin, received the award for best male lead. Dujardin's turn as silent-cinema star George Valentin has won him acting honors at the Golden Globes, the SAG Awards and the BAFTAs; he is also nominated for an Oscar.


PHOTOS: Red carpet

Winners & Nominees

Spirit Awards: Oscar preview as 'Descendants,' 'Artist' vie

-- Oliver Gettell and Amy Kaufman

Photo: Christopher Plummer accepts his Spirit Award for "Beginners." Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

Oscar predictions: We call the four acting races

February 25, 2012 |  6:00 am

Jean Dujardin in The Artist

The Envelope's Gold Standard columnist Glenn Whipp is sweeping through all 24 Oscar categories this week, predicting the winners. Check previous posts for tips on marking your Oscar pool ballots for the music categories, short films, sound races, animation, documentary and foreign filmsvisual crafts and the screenplay and editing races.

Here, a look at the four acting categories.


The nominees:

Demian Bichir, “A Better Life”
George Clooney, “The Descendants”
Jean Dujardin, “The Artist”
Gary Oldman, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy”
Brad Pitt, “Moneyball”

And the winner is … Dujardin. It’s not just because he won the SAG Award (and cried while accepting it!), though his victory there indicates the strength of his position. The actors branch makes up more than a fifth of the academy’s membership. The last seven SAG lead actor winners have gone on to win the Oscar. And beyond that, “The Artist” has found favor with other guilds, indicating a broad support for the film itself that gives Dujardin a leg up here.

As for Clooney, he delivered a moving, nuanced turn in “The Descendants” that may well rank as the best work of his career. The problem is, Brad Pitt did the same in “Moneyball.” Academy voters inclined to reward subtlety could go for Pitt, Clooney or even first-time nominee Gary Oldman. But Dujardin carries “The Artist” in a way that is unlike any of the other actors here. That distinctiveness, combined with the Academy’s nutty love for the movie, gives him the win.

Unless … Voters decide they’d rather hear Clooney’s self-deprecating humor than Dujardin’s thick accent from the podium, denying France its first-ever winner in this category.


The nominees:

Glenn Close, “Albert Nobbs”
Viola Davis, “The Help”
Rooney Mara, “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”
Meryl Streep, “The Iron Lady”
Michelle Williams, “My Week With Marilyn”

And the winner is … Davis. God knows, Harvey Weinstein and his minions went into  full-court press mode to get Streep her third Oscar, not to mention her first victory since “Sophie’s Choice.” Streep’s image has been so inescapable that it wouldn’t have been  surprising to walk into an Outback Steakhouse and find a menu touting Cast "Iron (Lady)" Skillet specials.

Will it work? Academy members still go the career-achievement route when voting (see Bullock, Sandra), just not as often as they used to. (To which we say: Hoo-ah!) Davis won SAG, a Streep-friendly group that has gone with her (“Doubt”) when the academy didn’t. Davis also stands as the only nominee whose film received a best picture nomination. And every time she speaks from the podium, she gives us all the more reason to celebrate both her and her work in the movie.

Mara’s courage and ferocity in “Dragon Tattoo” struck a chord with many voters. Williams arguably does more bringing Marilyn Monroe to life than Streep did with Thatcher. But as we’ve been saying all along: It’s Davis’ year.

Unless … Outback’s Thatcher Tri-Tip tastes better than it looks on the menu.


The nominees:

Kenneth Branagh, “My Week With Marilyn”
Jonah Hill, “Moneyball”
Nick Nolte, “Warrior”
Christopher Plummer, “Beginners”
Max von Sydow, “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close”

And the winner is … Plummer. Much has been made of the fact that both Plummer and von Sydow were born in 1929, as if that’s somehow going to split the octogenarian vote. Look at the AARP-sanctioned slate here. Hill’s the only nominee under 50, and he’s not going to win for a role that had him (quite skillfully, mind you) reacting and observing (with impeccable timing) more than stirring the waters. (Huh … maybe he should siphon more votes.)

Plummer has never won, receiving his only other Oscar nomination two years ago for “The Last Station.” But those voting for him aren’t saluting his body of work. They’re lauding his beautiful turn in “Beginners,” an elegiac performance that particularly hits home with older academy members. After winning nearly every other trophy, Plummer will not be denied here.

Unless … That surprise best picture nomination for “Extremely Loud” portends another shocker with a win for Von Sydow.


The nominees:

Berenice Bejo, “The Artist”
Jessica Chastain, “The Help”
Melissa McCarthy, “Bridesmaids”
Janet McTeer, “Albert Nobbs”
Octavia Spencer, “The Help”

And the winner is … Spencer. Here again, there’s the presence of another common competitor that, in theory, could dilute the vote. But because Spencer and her “Help” costar Chastain deliver very different turns playing dissimilar characters, the much-cited Costar Competition Conundrum shouldn’t put much of a ding in the likelihood that Spencer wins.

Unless … It’s a really big night for “The Artist,” in which case, Bejo will have the last wink.


Octavia Spencer: 'I'm done with bad parts'

Viola Davis' 'miraculous and amazing' career path

Christopher Plummer on his 'explosion' of great roles

Oscars 2012: Cheat Sheet | Key Scenes | Pundit's picks | Ballot

-- Glenn Whipp

Photo: Jean Dujardin in "The Artist." Credit: The Weinstein Co.

Oscars 2012: Christopher Plummer on his 'explosion' of great roles

January 24, 2012 |  9:42 am

Click for photos of the top nominees

Christopher Plummer made films for close to five decades without getting an Oscar nomination, but on Tuesday he picked up his second in three years with his work in “Beginners,” in which he plays a retiree who comes out of the closet after his wife’s death.

“Awards and nominations don’t cross your mind. They’re not something you think about when you do the work. You just think about simply doing something that’s good,” Plummer said with a chuckle. “That’s your focus and your goal -- just to do the thing that’s right in front of you.”

Plummer was nominated for supporting actor for portraying Leo Tolstoy, the lion of Russian literature, in “The Last Station,” and he heard his name called again Tuesday in the same category for the very different role of Hal Fields, a retired museum director who shocks his adult son, Oliver (Ewan McGregor), by announcing that he is gay and also facing a terminal cancer prognosis. 

FULL COVERAGE: The Oscar nominees

“There’s no pity in it,” Plummer said of the movie written and directed by Mike Mills. “It’s tough, and it's honest. I adored the role the first time I read the script, and it changed very little. What was there at the beginning [in the script] was there in the film. There’s a sweetness and a hopeful feeling about death and this feeling that it’s never too late for your life to be fulfilling and to be contributing to society.”

Plummer has never won an Oscar, but he may be the man to beat in his category this year (he’s already picked up the Golden Globe for the role), but on Tuesday he was more interested in praising costar McGregor. “He doesn’t act. He reacts. He walks on the screen, and he simply is his character,” Plummer said. “We had a wonderful time working together. He’s an extraordinary actor.”

Plummer just celebrated his 82nd birthday in December, and the Toronto native said that instead of celebrating on Tuesday, he would do prep work for “A Word or Two,” the one-man play he will perform this summer at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival.

Through the years, the stage was the place where Plummer found the most consistently satisfying and challenging work. Hollywood, he said, has been a trickier forum with seasons in the spotlight and then years spent in work that he took “just to pay the bills” and free himself up for the stage.

“The Sound of Music” star has -- like his “Beginners” character -– found a new chapter of engagement later in life with signature performances in “The Insider,” “Up,” “The Last Station” and “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.”

“I’ve been acting for close to, what, 60 years? I’m happy to be doing it, and when I look back, as far as film roles that I was offered, there were explosions of quality and then years where there was no quality at all. And this one of the explosive times.”


And the nominees are...

PHOTOS: 84th Academy Awards nominees

Pals Clooney, Pitt are rivals; ‘Artist,’ ‘Hugo’ dominate

-- Geoff Boucher

Photo: Christopher Plummer, left, and Ewan McGregor in "Beginners." Credit: Focus Features

'The Artist' is the big winner at Critics' Choice Movie Awards

January 12, 2012 |  7:10 pm

The silent was golden Thursday evening at the 17th annual Critics' Choice Movie Awards presented by the Broadcast Film Critics Assn. with the black-and-white ode to silent film "The Artist" winning best picture, best director for Michel Hazanavicius, as well as best costume design and best score.

The awards were held at the Hollywood Palladium and telecast on cable channel VH1.

George Clooney won best actor for "The Descendants" and Viola Davis earned best actress for "The Help."

PHOTOS: Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Best and worst

Supporting actor went to 82-year-old Christopher Plummer for "Beginners," and Octavia Spencer was won the supporting actress award for "The Help." The cast of "The Help" also won best ensemble. Thomas Horn was named best young actor/actress for "Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close."

Woody Allen won original screenplay honors for "Midnight in Paris," and Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin — with Stan Chervin for his story — won best adapted screenplay for "Moneyball."

There was a tie in the cinematography category, with Emmanuel Lubezki ("The Tree of Life") and Janusz Kaminski ("War Horse") splitting the honors.

Dante Ferretti won best art direction for "Hugo," and Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall won for editing for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

PHOTOS: Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Winners and reactions

"Rango" took home best animated feature, and "Drive" won best action movie. Best comedy honors went to "Bridesmaids," and "A Separation" earned best foreign-language film. "George Harrison: Living in the Material World," directed by Martin Scorsese, won best documentary feature.

"Life's a Happy Song," from "The Muppets," earned best song. Other technical honors went to "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows — Part 2," for make-up and sound, with "Rise of the Planet of the Apes" picking up best visual effects.

The Joel Siegel Award went to Sean Penn for his humanitarian efforts on behalf of Haiti, and the Critics' Choice Music + Film Award went to Martin Scorsese.


PHOTOS: Critics' Choice Movie Awards - Red carpet arrivals

New York Film critics name 'The Artist' best of the year

— Susan King

Photo: "The Artist" wins best picture and three other Critics' Choice Movie Awards. Credit: The Weinstein Co.

SAG Awards: Christopher Plummer on 'wonderful' honor for 'Beginners'

December 14, 2011 | 10:58 am

Christopher Plummer talks about his SAG Award nomination for "Beginners"
For Christopher Plummer, news of his SAG Award nomination for "Beginners" comes at a "frantic" time. The veteran actor just celebrated his 82nd birthday Tuesday, he's preparing a one-man theater show, "A Word or Two" and tonight he heads into New York for the U.S. premiere of "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."

Amid the frenzy, Plummer's not even sure how he learned of the nomination for his supporting role in Mike Mills' film. "I think somebody called me. I can't remember who," he said, speaking by phone from his Connecticut home.

Even as Plummer is busy with current and future projects, he's appreciative that his fellow actors recognized his work in “Beginners,” which opened in theaters the first weekend of June.

"What was extraordinary and wonderful at the same time is that it has been out for a long time. And suddenly people are remembering it as being charming. They're getting together and showing their respect for it," he said.

In "Beginners," the Canadian actor plays a father and widower who comes out about his homosexuality near the end of his life as he rekindles his relationship with his son, played by Ewan McGregor. The story is a semi-autobiographical one for director Mills.

The nod marks Plummer's fourth SAG Award nomination -- his previous nomination was for his performance in 2009’s “The Last Station” -- but he said the recognition for "Beginners" is still special to him because the character was a unique role for him.

"I'm sort of unexpected in it. It's totally different for me, which I welcome. I thought the film was absolutely charming, charmingly written by Michael Mills. And he really did my character proud," the actor said. “I had a marvelous time filming it, and it was just a gift."


SAG Awards: The full nominations list

SAG Awards: TV nominations are announced

SAG Awards: "The Help," "Bridesmaids" among outstanding cast nominees

–- Emily Rome

Photo: Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor in "Beginners." Credit: Focus Features

SAG Awards: Meet 'Albert Nobbs,' 'Kevin' and 'The Iron Lady'

December 14, 2011 |  9:49 am

Albert Nobbs
This year's SAG Awards nominees, announced Wednesday morning, include a number of performances in films that haven't opened yet, have only had brief one-week runs to qualify for Academy Awards consideration, or simply flew under the radar. Here's a quick overview if you were stumped by titles including "Albert Nobbs," "We Need to Talk About Kevin" and "The Iron Lady."

"Albert Nobbs," about a woman living a double life as a man to work and survive in 19th century Ireland, received nominations for lead actress Glenn Close and supporting actress Janet McTeer. If you haven't seen the film, it's because it doesn't open until next week. The film did play at the Telluride and Toronto film festivals, where its awards campaign began in earnest. 

Tilda Swinton received a lead actress nomination for her role in "We Need to Talk About Kevin," in which she plays a mother struggling to come to terms with her son's involvement in a school shooting. The film began a one-week qualifying run in L.A. and New York on Dec. 9 and will open commercially in the same cities Jan. 27. It played at the Cannes Film Festival in May, and you can watch our video report below or read Kenneth Turan's review of the film here.

"The Iron Lady," a biopic about Margaret Thatcher, garnered a lead actress nomination for Meryl Streep. The film opens Dec. 30 in L.A. and New York and will go nationwide Jan. 13. British critics have lauded her performance.

Some low-profile performances from earlier in the year that earned SAG nominations include Demian Bichir's turn in "A Better Life," in which he plays an illegal-immigrant gardener trying to provide for his son; Nick Nolte in "Warrior," in which he plays the estranged father of dueling brothers; and  Christopher Plummer in "Beginners," in a supporting role as a recently out-of-the-closet widower who embraces his new lifestyle with gusto. 

The SAG Awards winners will be named Jan. 29 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles.



SAG Awards: The complete list of nominees

'Warrior': Nick Nolte on whether a felon could win an Oscar

SAG Awards: Demián Bichir, Armie Hammer among surprise nominees

— Oliver Gettell

Photo: Glenn Close in "Albert Nobbs." Credit: Patrick Redmond / Roadside Attractions


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