Liz Smith: Jennifer Aniston Has Her Second Act

And more from our Liz: BAFTA gives (almost) everything to “The King’s Speech” … don’t miss Chris Matthews’s documentary on President Bill Clinton

“THERE ARE no second acts in American lives,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Au contraire! Second acts are now demanded in American celebrity life. Almost anybody can now make a comeback of sorts.

Let’s take Jennifer Aniston. For several years, some people have done nothing but complain that Aniston is paid boatloads of money for bad movies – “rom-coms,” as they are known. (These are the same people who complain Jennifer “can’t let go of the Brad and Angie thing,” when clearly she has.)

Jennifer’s movies are filmed without incident — she is no diva — she cheerfully does the proper publicity, she doesn’t get terrible reviews, but the movies don’t make much money. Aniston is professional, well-liked within the industry. And the industry knows that her films are generally not very expensive, and will make back the studio’s cost and even some profit on DVD.

Well, now she has what looks to be a certified hit – “Just Go With It” – costarring Adam Sandler.

This second act assures Jennifer more years of “rom-coms” and more kvetching from those who unreasonably dislike her success and popularity.

And then there’s our little friend, Lindsay Lohan. Despite her ongoing lurid image, the tight white dress she wore to court recently when she faced grand theft charges, became an instant sensation.

Designed by Kimberly Ovitz and priced at $575, it sold out! Lindsay’s odd fashion triumph proves there’s still life in association with Ms. Lohan.

Personally, I can’t wait for her complete rehabilitation, her jail time – if any – behind her and the Oscar she could win if she found a great screenplay. She’s a good enough actress to use all this endless sturm und drang in her work. That is, if she ever stops playing the victim, and takes responsibility for all her actions and all aspects of her addictive personality. (You don’t need drink or drugs to get high — walking away with a $2,500 piece of jewelry you didn’t pay for is as satisfying as Red Bull and vodka, for some.)

* * *

I kind of wish it were the good old days when there were not 20 other award shows before the Academy Awards and Oscar had some real suspense. But, alas, it’s not to be.

The other eve in London, the British Academy of Film & Television Arts took place and, predictably, “The King’s Speech” waltzed (or stuttered) off with seven of the top BAFTAs. This isn’t exactly surprising; it’s a British film about George VI and how he was helped to become an effective monarch after his brother Edward VIII abdicated.

So Colin Firth and Helena Bonham Carter and Geoffrey Rush and the screenplay and the movie itself all won! But director Tom Hooper was slighted and instead, David Fincher won for “The Social Network.” This could all happen predictably when they hand out the Oscars as well.

Helena Bonham Carter, who played the Queen Mother (mother of the current Queen Elizabeth II) made witty remarks: “I should thank the Royal Family because they have done wonders for my career.” She went on to dedicate her honor “to all the best supporting wives in the world, including the Queen Mother herself and my own mum.” She praised her co-star, best actor Firth, saying: “King Colin, you deserve everything you’re getting!”

Boy, oh, boy – that’s going to be a disappointed lot of Brits if they don’t manage to take many Oscars  home with them on February 27th.

Oh, incidentally, at the BAFTAs there was one more “King’s Speech” glitch. Natalie Portman won “best actress” for “Black Swan.”

* * *

The Grammys, as reported, had some truly vintage stars  – Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, and Barbra Streisand. But one who was missing was Sir Paul McCartney.

But Paul is busy writing a ballet and he was on hand to award the “best score” award to “The King’s Speech” at the BAFTAs. That night he warned the audience, “If I find out that one of my songs is being used in a film, I personally ring up the director and tell him how much I’m going to sue.”

* * *

DON’T MISS Chris Matthews’s documentary on MSNBC titled “President of the World,” starring one of my favorite people — Bill Clinton. It happens February 21 and is bound to become a classic.

Matthews is one of the strong broadcasting personalities on television and he doesn’t hide the fact that he leans left of center. I like his abrasive, sometimes caustic, sometimes endearing, ever-interrupting presence. He gets away with quite a lot because he is so savvy where Washington is concerned, and he employs a wonderful sense of humor — often at his own expense.

7 comments so far.

  1. avatar jamie spence says:

    Jennifer Aniston is worth over $100 million, is smart, funny, and very attractive. She’s got good comic timing and the public enjoys watching her – she’s likable. And from reports, very professional in her behavior. She has a figure most women would kill for, too. The tabloids are constantly trying to run a “poor Jen” campaign since her divorce from Brad Pitt. Poor Jen? The woman is incredibly successful in almost every area of her life. So, her marriage went south. So her husband bailed on her. How many of us know fabulous women whose husbands were idiots and left them? Plenty. I don’t feel sorry for Jennifer Aniston. I look at her and think, “Wow. Must be nice to be her!”

  2. avatar Maggie W says:

    Jamie S. is spot on. It would be nice to see Jennifer take on meatier roles. Why not go for the Christine Collins character ( The Changeling) or Meg Altman ( The Panic Room). Jennifer delivered a solid Justine in The Good Girl. Is she passed over , or is Jennifer content with forgettable B- comedies and standing on the edge of the red carpet?

  3. avatar mary burdt says:

    Thank you Liz for reminding me of matthews show on Bill Clinton.  I love them both, Clinton for just about everything and Matthews for doing his homework on how Washington D.C. works and not being afraid to play HARDBALL.

  4. avatar sevillomatic says:

    Jennifer is one of the actresses I just “like.”
    Like Julia Roberts, she doesn’t need to chew the scenery or die from a mysterious disease for me to enjoy her on-screen. Her presence is fun, light, and natural.
    Jen will probably never live down Rachel Green (which is not such an awful thing…)but why should she bother? I bet Rachel is, in large part, Jennifer.

  5. avatar rick gould says:

    Well, Mary Tyler Moore had Aniston’s “Rachel” to live down in spades: first as Laura Petrie and then as Mary Richards. She never really lived those TV icon roles down, though “Ordinary People” showed what she could do. And now MTM must certainly be grateful to be remembered for two such beloved roles.
    That said, it would be nice to see Aniston do something that would really show her chops, either dramatically or comedically.

    • avatar Mr. Wow says:

      Dear Rick…her time will come.  Soon.  She can’t go on too much longer with this material–no matter if the current film is a hit.  Meg Ryan anyone?  (Alas, Ryan tried, but she couldn’t escape her image.  Eh, rich and famous.  I’m not crying too hard for either charming lady.)

  6. avatar Richard Bassett says:

    The poor Jen thing comes from Jennifer not getting immediately married after the Brad/ Jennifer/ Jolie scandal (like Debbie Reynolds did in 1960 to Harry Karl, after the 1958-59 Eddie/ Debbie/ Liz scandal. So many do not remember that anymore). Jennifer has had a string of boyfriends and I believe that the public believes that she has a miserable love life…and will only be happy when remarried. Old fashioned? Of course. I personally believe that Jennifer is very happy with those she dates (famous or not) and will change her relationship status in her own time. I do not believe that she suffers heartache after heartahe. Clearly, she doesn’t really care about the tabloids. This is not a news flash. I could go into some hurtful things that she had to publically endure regarding Jolie…but, now, that was years ago. And yes, I believe she has moved on. She gives very good interviews.
            She may feel a certain comfort level in choosing the projects that she is involved with. I just heard an interview with her yesterday (she is like Betty White when it comes to exposure).  She said that she ‘knew’ she was good with comedy and when the right dramatic piece comes along…she’ll take it. Clearly, she writes her own ticket at this point. She has it going on, under control and is at a place in life that brings her inner peace. (The fact that she is 40 and looks 25 may be a factor but this is really nothing new in Hollywood)