Dispatch: SAG Awards Weekend

January 29, 2013 | by by jeffrey slonim | Homepage

As New Yorkers trudge against icy winds, Angelenos aren’t exactly enjoying sunny summer temperatures, either. While on the left coast covering the 2013 SAG Awards, I tried to swim laps every morning. But despite the abundance of palm trees surrounding the pool at my hotel, it was goosebump-cold on the way to the heated water.

AACTA International Awards
Saturday, I stopped by Soho House West Hollywood to attend the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts 2nd AACTA International Awards. Russell Crowe must not be appreciating all the talk about his ho-hum singing for Les Miz. He skipped the press line and all photogs on his way upstairs. Jacki Weaver, who plays De Niro's wife in Silver Linings Playbook, said that Jennifer Lawrence was a no-show on account of pneumonia. Weaver wore Nicole Miller to AACTA, and she called Silver Linings Playbook director David O. Russell “a genius.” Meanwhile, Russell said that Lawrence had told him she didn't know anyone who had a lot in common with her Playbook character. His reply? “How about you?” 

“‘But she's so bull-headed, vulnerable, inspired, independent,’” he said that Lawrence had said. 

“You, you, you,” he answered. “She's all those things and more. She's a delight, unpretentious. Self-effacing. That's what I love about her.”

Russell said that it took him five years to get the project off the ground. And in those five years, he got to know Bradley Cooper, who he said had himself, like his character, been “unhappy, angry, [and] overweight.” Russell continued, “He was 30 pounds heavier in Wedding Crashers. From getting to know him, I knew he was a human being who had many of his own struggles. Third and fourth chances are what it's all about.” 

Producers Guild Awards
That same afternoon, at The Beverly Hilton for the Producers Guild Awards, a director from Downton Abbey (spoiler alert) said that Julian Fellowes had mentioned in an early meeting to sell the show that the stately house “looked as if it would be there another thousand years . . . [But] it won't.” He likely meant that the aristocratic way of life would crumble, not the actual structure.

The crazy-aggressive reporter next to me inadvertently frightened off Anne Hathaway and Naomi Watts, but Nicole Kidman did manage to reach over and grab my arm to show me the diamond bracelet that had just popped off her wrist. She was thrilled that she had caught it, but not pleased with the clasp malfunction, “Not good!” she said shaking her head.

Harvey Weinstein appeared elated with his company's prospects this season (Django Unchained, Silver Linings Playbook). But he mentioned that other studios also had sensational films. “Skyfall was my favorite Bond movie,” he said. "Daniel is a friend, but they cast the wrong guy as Bond,” he kidded. "Let's face it. I could have done much better...”

SAG Awards
An hour-long line formed nearly immediately on the SAG Awards red carpet, with big stars backing up into a nervous mob, panicked looks overtaking their faces. Stars like Julianne Moore, Marion Cotillard, and Claire Danes waited dutifully while facing 150 screaming photographers. The Justin Timberlakes and Nicole Kidmans of the carpet broke ranks and hurried straight to the fans in the bleachers. Except for the pack of A-list photogs who encircle the big names as they walk, it could have been ancient Rome with the fans shrieking for JT.

I was chatting with Argo's Victor Garber, who only recently came out of the closet on the record, when  Ben Affleck came up and wrapped his arm around him. “Did you see Rainer [Andreesen, Garber’s partner]?” Garber asked Affleck.

“He looks too good. I hate him,” said Affleck. “He went double-breasted. I think maybe I should have gone double-breasted.”

“I'm so much better,” Lawrence said regarding reports that she had walking pneumonia. “I've been on a lot of medication and got a really cool inhaler. So I'm doing much better.”

Up close, Daniel Day-Lewis has oddly started to look a lot like a shaven Abe Lincoln in person. He blamed Leonardo DiCaprio for his taking the role. “He said, ‘Dont give up on it. He's the greatest man of the 19th century.’ And it stayed in my mind. So really, this is all Leo's fault,” said Day-Lewis. The Lincoln star also mentioned that he'd asked Spielberg for 12 months to prepare. “I asked if I could have a year. I spent a good part of it reading. There's an enormous amount to learn, obviously.”

“It’s all downhill from here,” kidded Bryan Cranston, who described his roles in Breaking Bad and Argo as “the pinnacle of my career.” 

Fiji Water floated the tab for the Weinstein Company SAG Awards afterfete at the glam Sunset Tower Hotel, where, for example, Vanity Fair now hosts their Oscar fête. Jennifer Lawrence, despite the recent pneumonia, wrapped her Dior gown in a beige blanket and hung in the back, near the pool. Aussies joined at the hip, Nicole Kidman and Naomi Watts commandeered an outdoor table. Meanwhile, inside, Chris Tucker orchestrated a dance-off with Glee's Harry Shum Jr. (who held his own, naturally). I also spotted Julianne Moore and Sofia Vergara, whose dress didn't bust a seam at the afterparty as it had after the Emmy Awards.

For more entertainment and society news, visit jeffreyslonim.com or follow @JeffreyJSlo on Twitter

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