In yesterday’s special Times Academy Awards section, the paper’s movie critics ostensibly make an Oscar case for some of their favorite films and performances, with A.O. Scott praising Milk’s elegant history lessons and Manohla Dargis continuing to beat the drum for Charlie Kaufman’s otherwise maligned Synecdoche, New York. But mostly, though, the Times just tries to score with Anne Hathaway.
First, the section featured a half-page appreciation of Hathaway’s rehearsal-dinner toast scene in Rachel Getting Married in which silver-tongued cinephile Stephen Holden tries flattery: “Her gaze wide-eyed with panic, her attitude cheerfully sardonic, Anne Hathaway, playing Kym Buchman … gives a brave performance that doesn’t ask to be liked; only to be believed … an indelible, if sometimes repellent portrait of a recovering addict who makes people squirm.”
Next, all three critics, Dargis, Holden, and Scott, name Hathaway as their top choice for a Best Actress nomination. Scott subtly attempts to show the actress his sense of humor by selecting Tropic Thunder’s Tom Cruise for Best Supporting Actor, while Dargis implies that Hathaway’s performance in Rachel Getting Married completely overshadowed those of her co-stars (Monohla uses four of her Supporting Actress picks on Synecdoche stars over Rachel’s equally deserving Debra Winger and Rosemarie DeWitt).
Only the Times’ venerable Carpetbagger David Carr is able to actually land a date with Hathaway, which begins well enough (“When Anne Hathaway shows up for an interview at a coffee shop on Melrose, her smile precedes her”), but then he nearly screws up everything by asking too many questions about her ex (“Her onetime live-in boyfriend, Raffaello Follieri, was arrested and convicted on fraud and money-laundering charges in the last year, and her personal journal, along with jewelry he had given her, became part of the case. She won’t talk directly about it today”) — but all isn’t lost! “The movie was so beautiful, so perfect, I thought I would ruin it, so I left,” she says of the time she first saw Brokeback Mountain at the Venice Film Festival. “‘I came back just in time to see a scene where my breasts were on screen, so that was special,’ she said with a smile.”
Call her back, Bagger! Ask for a follow-up interview!