Os­car night out for showbiz elite


LOS AN­GE­LES: It’s an Os­car cer­e­mony with din­ner, drinks and no com­mer­cial breaks. For the fifth con­sec­u­tive year, the mo­tion pic­ture academy will present its hon­orary Academy Awards at a pri­vate, un­tele­vised, black-tie din­ner.

An­gelina Jolie, Steve Martin, An­gela Lans­bury and Ital­ian cos­tume de­signer Piero Tosi will re­ceive Os­car stat­uettes at tonight’s Gover­nors Awards, where they’ll be feted by the likes of An­thony Hop­kins and Tom Hanks in front of an au­di­ence of the en­ter­tain­ment elite.

“This event is a celebration of film, and it is re­ally the be­gin­ning of Academy Awards sea­son,” said Paula Wag­ner, who is pro­duc­ing the cer­e­mony.

Here’s what the honorees had to say about the event: The 38-year-old ac­tress-di­rec­tor was “com­pletely sur­prised” when she learned that the lead­ers of the Academy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences wanted to recog­nise her with the Jean Her­sholt Hu­man­i­tar­ian Award.

Oprah Win­frey re­ceived the hon­our last year. Past re­cip­i­ents in­clude El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor, Quincy Jones, Jerry Lewis and Paul Newman.

“Paul Newman has been a hero of mine since I was a lit­tle girl,” Jolie wrote in an e-mail from Aus­tralia, where she is di­rect­ing her lat­est film, Un­bro­ken.

“Re­ceiv­ing the Her­sholt award makes me feel like I am on the right path, but also reminds me I have more to do,” she wrote.

Jolie is co-founder of the Pre­vent Sex­ual Vi­o­lence Ini­tia­tive and serves as spe­cial en­voy for the UN High Com­mis­sioner for Refugees. Even with a flour­ish­ing ca­reer and fam­ily, Jolie said she al­ways has time for hu­man­i­tar­ian work.

“It is an hon­our and a plea­sure to work on be­half of refugee chil­dren and vic­tims of rape,” she said.

“No mat­ter how much I have to do, how busy my life is, I am al­ways aware that the chal­lenges are ab­so­lutely noth­ing in com­par­i­son to what they face on a daily ba­sis.” Even af­ter five Tony awards, 18 Emmy nom­i­na­tions and three Os­car nom­i­na­tions, Lans­bury was over­whelmed to learn that she would be get­ting an Academy Award for life­time achieve­ment.

“It was quite an emo­tional mo­ment,” the 88- year- old ac­tress said.

“It’s a nod for ev­ery­thing I’ve done, in a sense. That’s what it means to me: it is re­ally an ac­knowl­edge­ment of a good ca­reer as an ac­tress.”

Be­fore au­di­ences knew the Bri­tish star on stage in Mame or on tele­vi­sion in Mur­der, She Wrote, Lans­bury was a movie star who earned a sup­port­ing ac­tress Os­car nom­i­na­tion for her de­but role in 1944’s Gaslight.

“My early days at MGM were thrilling and ex­cit­ing be­yond words be­cause it all hap­pened so fast,” she said. “I started off with three big, huge movies.”

Na­tional Vel­vet with El­iz­a­beth Tay­lor fol­lowed Gaslight, then The Pic­ture of Do­rian Gray, for which Lans­bury earned her sec­ond Os­car nom­i­na­tion. The third was for 1962’s The Manchurian Can­di­date.

“That was a very ex­cit­ing pe­riod,” she re­called. “A tragic pe­riod, too, be­cause it came right on the heels of JFK’s as­sas­si­na­tion.” The comic ac­tor had no idea what academy pres­i­dent Ch­eryl Boone Isaacs was call­ing about.

“I thought maybe a host had fallen out or some­thing,” Martin said. “I thought maybe they needed a favour or wanted me to in­tro­duce some­body.”

The 68-year-old was touched when he re­alised he would be the one be­ing in­tro­duced – as the re­cip­i­ent of an hon­orary Os­car for life­time achieve­ment.

“It goes back to the ’80s and ’90s – that all that work was ac­tu­ally reg­is­ter­ing with some­body in a kind of se­ri­ous way,” Martin said, re­flect­ing on the early films he wrote and starred in, such as The Jerk, Three Ami­gos! and LA Story.

“I and all the peo­ple I worked with, we took it very se­ri­ously and we wor­ried a lot about it, so it’s quite a com­pli­ment to have it re­garded in some way. It’s quite an hon­our.”

He’s ap­peared in more than three dozen movies and hosted the Os­cars three times, but has never been nom­i­nated for an Academy Award.

“It doesn’t bother me that tra­di­tion­ally, come­dies don’t get recog­nised on a yearly ba­sis,” he said of Os­car’s his­tory of slight­ing com­edy films.

“But in the hon­orary academy list, there are a lot of co­me­di­ans and funny peo­ple recog­nised.” The cos­tumer has earned five Academy Award nom­i­na­tions for his de­signs in films such as La Travi­ata and La Cage aux Folles and calls his hon­orary Os­car for life­time achieve­ment “the crown­ing of a ca­reer”.

“Given my young age, I was re­ally shocked,” the 86-year-old wrote in an e-mail from his home in Italy.

Tosi’s col­lab­o­ra­tions with Ital­ian di­rec­tor Luchino Vis­conti con­sis­tently caught the academy’s eye, with Os­car nods for Tosi’s cos­tumes in 1963’s The Leop­ard, 1971’s Death in Venice and 1973’s Lud­wig.

The de­signer said he had been “fas­ci­nated by the cin­ema” since he was a child.

“Mostly, I dreamt a lot watch­ing Amer­i­can movies of the ’30s and ’40s,” he said.

“That won­der­ful sea­son fed me through­out my ca­reer,” he said.

Tosi’s ca­reer spans six decades and in­cludes about 60 films. – Sapa-AP

COS­TUMER: Piero Tosi is famed for his de­signs.

COMIC: Steve Martin was caught by sur­prise.

‘EMO­TIONAL’: An­gela Lans­bury

AWARD: An­gelina Jolie will be hon­oured.

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