Anyone who has ever watched — or participated in — “Project Runway,” might disagree. Sometimes “P.R.” seems to be just a teeny bit sadistic. But I guess that can be amusing to some people.
NEXT YEAR marks the 50th anniversary of the first “The Pink Panther” movie. This starred David Niven, Robert Wagner, Claudia Cardinale, Capucine and, but of course, Peter Sellers as the bumbling Inspector Clouseau.
MGM is bringing out a lavish DVD-Blu Ray box set of all the Sellers “Panther” pics. This will include cartoons — as well as the sly animated Pink Panther who opened and closed the movies.
Steve Martin, who also played Clouseau a couple of times, has been planning another “Panther” movie. The script is being worked on.
NOW THAT the Golden Globe nominations are in, everybody is handicapping the Oscars. Most insiders think the GG’s really make an impression on Academy voters. The Globes are handed out by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. They can be a bit strange and we’ve never heard of most of them, but nevermind, now, once a year they are a power in Hollywood.
However, since these are the Globes, this is what I hope for on January 13th. Best Picture Drama — “The Life of Pi” (One of the most amazing and moving films I have ever seen!) … Best Picture Musical or Comedy — “Silver Linings Playbook” … Best Director — Ben Affleck for “Argo” … Best Actor, Drama — Richard Gere, “Arbitage” … Best Actress, Drama — Marion Cotillard, “Rust and Bone” … Best Actor Musical or Comedy — Bradley Cooper, “Silver Linings Playbook” … Best Actress Musical or Comedy — Jennifer Lawrence in “Silver Linings Playbook” … Best Supporting Actor — Alan Arkin, “Argo” … Best Supporting Actress — Anne Hathaway, “Les Miserables” (So she didn’t wear panties to the NYC premiere, her spirit dominates “Les Miz.” And, not that her film needed more publicity, but her wardrobe malfunction getting out of a car didn’t hurt.) … Best Screenplay — Chris Terrio, “Argo.”
My wish list for Oscar will be different.
ARE YOU one of those people who actively hate the New York Times drama critic and believe that guys like Ben Brantley can close down shows with a few chosen words?
The other night I appeared at a gathering in the Core Club where Ben and I, together, discussed America’s passion — Broadway Musicals. And Broadway Musicals is also the title of a collector’s item coffee-table book by Ben — a mouth-watering offering with a dazzling photo of those “Chicago” girls — Bebe Neuwirth and Anne Reinking dancing on the cover.
I don’t know if Ben and Liz as arbiters of such an all-American art form sold any of these fab Abrams books, but we certainly had a lively discussion. (One of these books would make a great Christmas gift for that theater lover in your life and Ben has thoroughly discussed 200 odd shows between hard covers. He is being pilloried for omitting some people’s favorites, like “Carnival,” in 1961.)
In our discussion, I put down British “musical comedy,” saying that it was pallid early on, in spite of the talents of such as Binky Beaumont, Noel Coward and the drag use of pantomime, arguing that U.S. values created the Twenties/Thirties show biz atmosphere of such genii as Irving Berlin and Cole Porter. Then, sometime in the ’80s, the Brits got their act together and sent us Andrew Lloyd Webber’s considerably different musical works, with exploding scenery.
Does Ben Brantley close shows? He confesses he’s not keen on “The Phantom of the Opera,” but notes that it is still playing to long lines at the Majestic on The Great White Way, since 1988. And it has gone all over the world on stages and in the film which I liked best.
Ben and I both tried to convince our audience that we were just small-town hicks from Texas and North Carolina respectively and we had “gotten lucky” in New York and realized our own personal dreams. We are still stage-struck and Mr. Brantley begged the audience to consider his writings as only one opinion and to go to theater enthusiastically and make up their own minds.
Then, the Times-man confessed to his own low-brow prejudices. (He loves the musical “Mamma Mia” — and so do I, having seen it about six times.) We also admitted that we still loved the lure of the stage, were almost never bored when the lights went down, and found something valuable in every theater experience.
We gossiped a little about some of the “greats” — Ethel Merman, Mary Martin, Julie Andrews, Elaine Stritch — briefly went away from musicals to speak of David Mamet, Tony Kushner and Edward Albee — and ended up praising our mutual semi-favorite “Follies.” We ended, again, bragging on Broadway musicals which are — like jazz — the original creations of America.
LOTS OF FOLKS asked if we had bidders for the latest autographed Patricia Cornwell novel, The Bone Bed, and we did. A very nice woman in Wisconsin sent us $75 for Literacy Partners and we sent the book off. Jacqueline Jones told us if we had already sold the book for this fund-raiser, she’d donate her money anyway. So Ms. Jones stands out as a civilized generous person. Merry Christmas!
This column originally appeared on NYSocialDiary.com on 12/17/12