US Diary: Oscars race begins, but how Jake may vote is no mystery
JAKE Gyllenhaal may have just started dating Tyler Swift but the woman he can't stop talking about is Anne Hathaway, his co-star in the upcoming movie Love and Other Drugs.
"The thing about Anne is that she develops her characters in absolute detail. To the point where she went down to the Lower East Side to buy fluorescent bras for her character," Gyllenhaal gushed last week in one of a series of interviews to promote the romantic comedy (think Love Story with a sharp edge) that has Hathaway being touted as an Oscar 2011 nominee in what promises to be a remarkably tight Best Actress race.
Other contenders include Naomi Watts, who plays CIA spy Valerie Plame in Fair Game; Nicole Kidman as a mother trying to pick up the pieces after the death of her son in Rabbit Hole; ingenue Jennifer Lawrence who learnt how to skin squirrels for her role in Winter's Bone; and Michelle Williams, who piled on a hefty 15lbs for the haunting relationship tale, Blue Valentine.
And they are just the supporting acts. Annette Bening's performance as a stoic lesbian mum in The Kids Are All Right is a critics' favourite as is Natalie Portman's virtuosic turn in the dark thriller, Black Swan. And of course there's a dark horse: Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry, who has voiced her doubts about ever landing a role to best Monster's Ball, has critics in a lather over her performance, in an indie film called Frankie & Alice, set to open late December. Berry plays a fragile woman with a personality disorder struggling to contain a racist alter-ego.
Whichever way this shakes out, the Oscar committee is at least guaranteed the best red carpet in years.
Film gong for
LIAM Neeson joined a pretty impressive line-up -- including Ian McKellen and Isabella Rossellini -- at the Savannah Film Festival in Georgia last week when he was honoured with the Achievement in Cinema Award.
Proving he can bring a room to its feet with few words, Neeson's acceptance speech was short, and to the point. "I'm humbled and embarrassed but it's lovely to be here at this extraordinary festival," he said, adding: "I'm the luckiest man in the friggin' world."
If the buzz about his next movie (Unknown) proves true, Neeson isn't exaggerating.
In the suspense drama (also featuring Frank Langella and Diane Kruger) Neeson stars as Dr Martin Harris, who wakes up after a car accident to discover his wife (January Jones) doesn't recognise him and another man has assumed his identity.
And before that debuts, in early 2011, Neeson has a pretty sweet gig, stepping in for Mel Gibson (whose appearance was scratched in the wake of his personal problems) in The Hangover 2 where, in a little creative casting by his friend Bradley Cooper, he will play a Thai tattooist.
Big Apple pad
RENEE Zellwegger's decision to put her NYC apartment on the market last week sparked a new round of speculation that the actress is finally ready to move to Los Angeles, where her long-term beau Bradley Cooper bought a $4m family home late last year.
Zellwegger's property, which is actually two apartments that are ready to be combined, takes up the second floor of a stately co-op building on 82nd Street and Madison Avenue. The units, a three-bedroom and a one-bedroom, which the actress purchased in 2007 and 2008, are now for sale for $6.975m and $1.975m respectively. The actress paid $8.2m for them.
"Although the property is stunning, she will be spending more time on the west coast," Zellwegger's rep confirmed. Enough said.
US braced for
POLITICAL pundits have hijacked "GTL," the buzz-phrase of MTV's Jersey Shore crew for their daily gym, tan and laundry ritual.
Their version: "GTL" (Golf, Tan, Lobbyists), a none-too-subtle jibe at the freshly minted Speaker of the House, John Boehner, the perma-tanned chain-smoking Republican who in the run-up to the mid-term elections was forced to deny a sunbed addiction and/or using his wife's bronzer.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Boehner insisted that his eye-catching complexion, often described as caramel, was 100 per cent natural.
Maybe it is, but that isn't stopping the jokes. Democratic political consultant and former adviser to President Clinton, Paul Begala, aimed squarely between Boehner's eyes last Tuesday night when asked to sum up the election season on CNN.
"2008 answered the question, 'Is America ready for a black president?'" said Begala. "Now 2010 will answer, 'Are we ready for an orange Speaker?'"
It looks like Jersey Shore's Snooki is off the hook.