Last night at Avery Fisher Hall, introducing his latest masterfully shot and beautifully acted Rockwellesque epic movie, War Horse, director Steven Spielberg noted with pride that the play version was "on the boards" across the Lincoln Center complex. Then, he brought his performers to the stage one by one, with the exception of "Joey," the film's star. That's because there are so many "Joeys," he explained, seven would be jealous.
As the awards season moves steadily on, War Horse is most certainly a contender for Best Picture Oscars, Globes, and so on, alongside Hugo, The Artist, The Descendants, my picks so far. But as the evening wore on through a lavish buffet supper in the Hall's copious lobbies, many whispered the horse should be nominated in a best actor category. This idea has been floated, as my colleague and pal Showbiz411's Roger Friedman has started a campaign for "Uggie," the Jack Russell terrier capturing hearts in The Artist, for Best Supporting. Can the steeds be far behind? Or maybe a new category for Best Animal or Non-Human?
Meantime, the British cast of War Horse is superb. As Alby's mother, Emily Watson said this was her first time directed by Spielberg: "It is a happy day when you get that call." Asked about her scenes with Joey, she seemed relieved to have had only a few: "I'm actually afraid of horses."
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.