What Happens When Peter Bogdanovich, Cloris Leachman, and Carl Reiner Get A Room? Only in Awards Season.

By Quendrith Johnson (doddleNEWS)

How can you tell it’s Awards Season? The legends begin to show up. Last night it was a truly memorable experience at The International Press Academy’s 16th Satellite Awards held at The Beverly Hills Hotel. The show’s winners list* has been out since after midnight, but ear-ringing applause for legends like Carl Reiner, Mitzi Gaynor, Peter Bogdanovich, and Doug Trumbull lingers.  When was the last time somebody had to turn the mike off an Cloris Leachman?

Peter Bogdanovich — Photo credit: Hollywood News Wire

Leachman went from co-presenter for Peter Bogdanovich’s Auteur Award to seasoned heckler, zinging the director right and left. She even took a shot a top honoree of the evening Mitzi Gaynor, who received the Mary Pickford Award for Outstanding Artistic Contribution to the Entertainment Industry. “I’ll have you know I was in ‘South Pacific’ on Broadway too, and I was much better.” The remark drew huge laughs. Timothy Bottoms, who co-starred with her in “The Last Picture Show” French-kissed her to buy some silence. “You never kissed me like that in the movie,” she quipped.

Carl Reiner, who presented the award to Mitzi Gaynor, became a highlight of the evening when Mitzi admitted “I’ve always had a huge crush on Carl.” But the first time she saw him bald, “without his merkin” in a dressing room, things changed a little. “My hair was in box somewhere,” Carl joked. And then he spouted off a limerick rhyming “merkin” with “gerkin” and “jerkin'” — which got a lot of laughs. Even from Ken Davitian, the hirsute companion to Sasha Baron Cohen in “BORAT.” His appearance at the show had some wondering whether the evening might be punked as part of a new Borat sequel in the making. Not so, fortunately.

Carl Reiner — Photo credit: Hollywood News Wire

When Reiner received “a surprise award” for lifetime achievement from Bruce Davison (“X-Men”). He said “I’m shocked. I haven’t been shocked in years… I heard you talking about this guy, I thought ‘I’d like to meet him. I’d like to know that guy. What a great career, how similar to mine.’ And I was waiting for you to bring the guy out. Then I figured out it must be me, unless this is a joke, and you have some other guy waiting somewhere.”

“I just finished writing a book. Can you guess what it’s about from the title ‘I’m Remembering Me’?.’ I thought I was done, but I have to add this evening to it, the night I was shocked… Thanks for giving me something to do tomorrow,” Reiner said.

Louise Fletcher presented Doug Trumbull with the Tesla Award for his visionary technical and VFX work. “‘Brainstorm’ was the best set I’ve ever worked on,” she said. “I had a heart attack. I come down these stairs, and have the heart attack…” “I got to kill Louise Fletcher,” Trumbull laughed. “That was the most fun I ever had. And she did it in one take.” On a serious note, he added, “I know that movie has been in the news a lot lately because of Natalie Wood… I can tell you there is no more heart-breaking experience for a director than that.” Wood’s tragic drowning delayed the film in post and Trumbull grew so bitter from this and other experiences that he “left Hollywood.” “But now I’m back,” he said.

Peter Bogdanovich came with his newly minted filmmaker daughter Antonia, his ex-wife Louise Stratten (yes, sister of the late Dorothy Stratten), as well as Colleen Camp, and Tom Sizemore, among others.  Antonia has just finished a 10-minute short on her way to becoming a director, she said. “There is no free lunch,” she added, meaning being a Bogdanovich isn’t enough in this economy. Her mother, the renowned producer Polly Platt died this past summer after a long illness, so the filmmaking is kind of an homage to her mother. “Did you ever meet her?,” she asked.

If the mired web of inter-personal connections at that table was not interesting enough, consider that Colleen Camp (from “Die Hard” and other movies) was a very good friend of Dorothy Stratten’s, but now a best friend of Alexander Payne who won for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay for “The Descendants.” “Look, I just had a party for him and about 300 people at my house,” she said, “does he even know he won the award?” A quick scroll of her text messages showed pictures of the famed writer/director and a Who’s Who on her phone with the likes of “Something’s Gotta Give” writer Nancy Meyers on the scroll. “I sure would like to give him his award.” Status texting at its finest.

“Drive” producer Adam Seigel picked up three awards of four awards won by his movie, for Ryan Gosling as lead and Albert Brooks, as Best Supporting, and Best Director for Nicolas Winding Refn, with Lon Bender and Victor Ennis, who picked up a sound award for the movie. Refn told Seigel as he was flying into the States to work on this intense movie: “”Look out, I am going to become ‘Drive,”” Seigel said in Refn’s Dutch accent. “He wasn’t kidding!”

Paparazzi favorite Wilmer Valderrama (“That 70’s Show,” “Larry Crowne”) showed up with Jason Isaacs (Malfoy’s father in “Harry Potter” among other roles) to present Best Foreign film. If it sounds like an odd pairing, Valderrama and Isaacs are working on “Awake,’ a series for NBC on which Isaacs is also a producer.

Jason Isaacs and Wilmer Valderrama — Photo credit: Hollywood News Wire

Having written their own lines at the table during the night, they decided to introduce the nominees in Spanish and English, with UK-born Isaacs spouting fluent Spanish like a pro. “In English please,” Leachman finally ahem-ed to the podium.  “I was waiting for her to say something,” Valderrama joked about Cloris Leachman. “I would have been disappointed if she hadn’t,” Isaacs demured.

It was kind of hometown Hollywood crowd with Peter Bogdanovich imitating the late great James Stewart with “a story Jimmy told me.” Stewart was accosted by a fan who asked him to remember some of his lines from a movie. “That’s what he do,” said Bogdanovich in perfect Jimmy Stewart, “give people little pieces of time.”  The 16th Satellite Awards was certainly a time to remember.

*Check out their website: www.pressacademy.com for more about the IPA and a complete winners list for 2011 in motion pictures, television and new media.


# # #

About Quendrith Johnson

Quendrith Johnson is a Los Angeles-based screenwriter and celebrity journalist, whose work has appeared in Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, NEWSDAY, Xfinity.TV, Fancast, Screenmancer.tv, DGA Magazine, newsweek.com, Boston Phoenix, FilmFestivals (PARIS, FR) and many other outlets. A graduate of UCLA Film School, she received the Marty Klein Comedy Award from APA, a nod in UCLA's prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Awards, and hopes not to get sued anytime soon for her irreverent attitude, ps.

Speak Your Mind