Golden Globe Funk: Why Do Our Older Actors Seem to be Losing It?
Midway through Warren Beatty's rambling acceptance of a lifetime achievement award at Monday night's Golden Globes awards, a thought kept crossing my mind.
What is this guy talking about?
Nevermind that it has been a solid 25 years since Beatty made a groundbreaking film (presenter Tom Hanks, in true Hollywood fashion, kept equating his "balls" with artistic vision). In taking his star turn Monday night, Beatty offered a rambling, disjointed acceptance speech that managed to point out a painful truth: all the other aged heavyweights in the audience -- Jack Nicholson, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese -- have managed some kickass work in the last few years.
"I have moisterizer at home older than Tom Hanks," cracked Beatty, stumbling into the irony that Hanks, at age 50 with about 40 projects to his credit, is an aging veteran in an industry where thirtysomethings like DiCaprio and Pitt are becoming elder statesmen.
It all brought to mind something I noticed after completing an excruciating profile of Robert DeNiro is a recent G.Q. magazine -- in which the notoriously press-shy actor/director grew so agitated by the writer's probing questions that he essentially reneged on a promise to sit for a four-hour interview (Deniro being the star he is, he still got his cover, though). It seems that actors we've come to love who made their bones in the '70s have slowly turned into eccentric, impenetrable oddities right before our eyes.
Admittedly, I'm basing most of these observations on press interviews: Beatty's oddball Q&A with Premire magazine last year ("I used to say that, for me, making a movie was like vomiting") Nicholson's even odder talk with Rolling Stone (on why he doesn't like using a condom: "And when this idea became popular, the sex-negative, pleasure-denial momentum of the world, I mean, it just got to the point where 'I can't do this anymore.' It was no longer the full catastrophe."); Pacino and Hoffman's emotional turns on Inside the Actors' Studio. It seems these guys just can't help letting the weird out when reporters are around.
Have they had too many years of being treated like the funniest/smartest/sexiest guy in the room? Have their formative years in the hippy-dippy '60s finally caught up to them? Of them all, Eastwood consistently comes off best -- refusing to accept the indulgences of celebrity and enjoying his late-in-life career surge with a seemingly geniune gratitude that buys a lot of forgiveness.
Awards-wise, I was disappointed yet again in this year's crop of TV category winners. The Globes like to tease with a promising group of nominees (except for shutting out HBO's excellent The Wire), but this year's crop of winners betrayed a disturbingly anglo-philic focus on British actors and TV shows -- even for a group called the Hollywood Foriegn Press Association.
House's Hugh Laurie took a best drama honor that should have gone to Dexter's Michael C. Hall. Other honors went to Emily Blunt for an unknown BBC production, Jeremy Irons and Helen Mirren for HBO's Elizabeth I, and Bill Nighy???, who somehow edged out Andre Brauhger and Robert Duvall for best tv movie actor.
Even Nighy acknowledged the mistake, noting in his acceptance speech that he had "already apologized to Robert Duvall" before loosing the second-best line of the night (see Sasha Baron Cohen's comments for the best lines): "I used to think prizes were damaging and divisive; until I got one. Now, they seem sort of meaningful and real."
Good choices: The Closer's Kyra Sedgwick and 30 rock's Alec Baldwin. A TV star was born before our eyes with America Ferrera's well-deserved win for her portrayal which anchors ABc's newest hit, Ugly Betty (and with bombshells like Salma Hayek and Vanessa Williams involved, was there ever a show with a more ironic name?)
Worst choice: Grey's Anatomy as best TV drama? Over 24's most kickass season ever and freshman hit Heroes? Seems like some voters in the HFPA were smoking some leftover props from Showtime's drug dealing series Weeds.
Tampa Bay TV Stations Make a Mint
---TV stations in the Tampa-St. Petersburg market made $370-million in 2006, according to an analyst's report quoted by Broadcasting & Cable in an eye-opening profile of the market. Other nuggets: leading stations WFLA-Ch. 8 and WTVT-Ch. 13 each made about 24 percent of the market's total take (which I assume was so high because of the enormous level of political advertising) and WFTS-Ch. 28 expects a boost from old school syndication champs Jeopardy and Wheel of fortune, which move to the ABC affiliate in September.
---WTVT is going to feature a TV show based on the entertainment Web site TMZ.com, thanks to a deal bringing the show to all of Fox's owned and operated stations nationwide.
---In a desperate bid to rescue her show on the tabloid magazine industry from a mountain of bad reviews, former friend Courteny Cox is calling on a friend of her own -- colleague Jennifer Aniston, who will appear on FX's Dirt as a rival magazine editor for the show's March 27 series finale. Of course, by then it may be too little too late...
(as always, click on any image to enlarge)