Co-host with Anne Hathaway at the Academy Awards show in Los Angeles, James Franco picks up his cell phone, a prop for peering into the dreams of the show's prior beloved M.C., Alec Baldwin. The Inception parody is played for laughs, but those in the know were poised to honor Baldwin's career the next night, in New York, at the annual tribute gala for the Museum of the Moving Image. Could this versatile actor be in two places at once?
Ubiquitous in the Hamptons, for example, and lovably so, Baldwin lends his name and talent to many arts projects on Long Island's east end. Starring in last summer's production of Equus at Guild Hall, Baldwin was the engine for mounting the critically acclaimed production, said Tony Walton. The director, along with Richard Gere, Gay Talese, Michael Lynne, Bob Balaban, and jazz documentarian Bruce Ricker, joined the eclectic crowd at Cipriani 42nd Street for good food, clips and speakers.
Mercedes Ruehl, Michael Keaton, Tim Curry, Ben Stiller, Jimmy Fallon, Edie Falco, and Tina Fey spoke about working with Alec, commenting on his professionalism and comic timing. Ruehl who worked with him in Married to the Mob (1988), emphasized his political commitment, cautioning on conflicts in campaign financing. He turned out to be right, she said of her fellow activist. Fey revealed, the role of Jack Donaghy on 30 Rock was written for him: "Alec is a writer's dream," she noted. "He speaks fast."
The night -- which was also a farewell dinner for Rochelle Slovin, the museum's director for 30 years -- would not have been complete without a clip of that unforgettable moment from It's Complicated, with Alec's leap, naked, onto the bed, his privates covered by a laptop, and Steve Martin's reaction shot as he sees his rival for Meryl Streep on Skype. Noticeably absent though was the SNL skit, Alec with Tina Fey as Sarah Palin, and eh, Sarah Palin.
Alec Baldwin does seem to be everywhere, but as Patricia Clarkson put it, "You want him everywhere."
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