When a fan tells him she's tongue tied, Martin Scorsese becomes wildly animated: "Why? You don't need to be. It's just me," and gives her a hug. You could say his buoyant spirit reflects some optimism. It was Tuesday, and he'd just been nominated for the Directors Guild Award. Now surrounded by friends and colleagues at a luncheon at Michael's, he would receive an award for collaboration with Leonardo DiCaprio at the National Board of Review gala that night. It was all good. New Year's week is a bit like the circus comes to town: and in a day or so, they'd all leave town for L.A. and the Golden Globes on Sunday where his film Wolf of Wall Street may pick up a Best Motion Picture-Comedy Award.
Nebraska is also in the running in this category, and Bruce Dern vies for Best Actor against Leo. Nevertheless, at the luncheon celebrating both movies, the mood was convivial, with Richard Gere, Steve Buscemi, Carol Kane, Seth Meyers, and many others gathering around Dern and SNL's Will Forte, who in Nebraska portrays the compassionate center of the movie to Dern's Woody.
At high tea at the St. Regis, Steve Coogan and Stephen Frears fielded questions about their popular movie Philomena, up to win a Best Picture for Drama, Best Actress for Judi Dench, and Best Screenplay for Coogan's screenplay, but the tea talk was not about the awards. Somewhat autobiographical in terms of its Catholicism, Coogan's script features his own skepticism about the church. Frears, a Jew, approached the material, the story of Philomena Lee who had a child out of wedlock taken away and "sold" into adoption in America, from a less personal place. The church appears to be a villain in the piece, but the real Lee has only forgiveness, according to the filmmakers. What could be more Catholic?
At 21, on Tuesday, a crowd including Lorraine Bracco and Glenn Close gathered around the women of 12 Years a Slave. Lupita Nyong'o clad in orange sherbet Dior with a cropped Prada jacket had a huge smile. A frontrunner on the Globe's Best Supporting Actress list, the recent Yale graduate looking happy seems a rare moment, if you are thinking of her facial repertoire for this powerful film where she begs to die. The role, as the plantation owner's favorite--he's played by another Globes nominee Michael Fassbender--speaks to the unspeakable cruelty of slavery, as does the character played by Adepero Oduye; her two children are randomly ripped away from their mother. This young actress from Nigeria who now lives in Brooklyn mocked a horrifying line in this movie: "Don't worry, you'll soon forget all about them."
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