Susan Sarandon-Tim Robbins split & this awards season
Susan Sarandon & Tim Robbins' two-decade-plus relationship has come to an end. The couple were never married; Sarandon (born Susan Abigail Tomaling) was the ex-wife of Chris Sarandon (1967–1979), best known for his Oscar-nominated role as a transsexual-to-be in Dog Day Afternoon and for his vampire in Fright Night.
Sarandon and Robbins met while filming Bull Durham back in 1988. As neither one had been wanted in the baseball-themed production directed and written by Ron Shelton and starring Kevin Costner, the two undesired performers developed a solid bond that evolved into a romantic relationship.
Despite Bull Durham's financial and critical success, Sarandon and Robbins were never paired up in another movie, though she starred for him in Dead Man Walking (1995), which earned her a Best Actress Oscar and him a Best Director nomination, and made cameo appearances in two other movies he directed, Bob Roberts (1992) and Cradle Will Rock (1999), in addition to one in which he starred, Robert Altman's The Player (1992).
Off camera, Sarandon and Robbins dared to publicly denounce the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq long before it became fashionable – and politically safe – to do so. The duo were vilified in the right-wing media, online chat rooms, and, according to Sarandon herself, even in schools. (This, ironically, after they had supported Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader – blamed in large part for the eventual Electoral College victory of George W. Bush, one of the orchestrators of the Iraq War Sarandon and Robbins were so adamantly against.)
'The Lovely Bones'
Tim Robbins' latest release came out in 2008, Gil Kenan's box office disappointment City of Ember, starring Saoirse Ronan, who coincidentally also stars in Peter Jackson's The Lovely Bones, Susan Sarandon's much-trumpeted latest release.
In fact, the buzz surrounding The Lovely Bones was so strong that prior to its Dec. 11 opening Jackson's supernatural crime drama had been one of the two or three films to beat this awards season. But once the first reviews came out, with critics calling it a simplistic adaptation of a complex novel, The Lovely Bones has quickly fallen off the season's radar.
In the role of a sassy, hard-drinking grandmother, Sarandon was never a top awards season contender and still isn't. Reviews for her performance have been mixed, with Kenneth Turan in the Los Angeles Times complaining that she's over the top, while Stephanie Zacharek remarks in Salon.com that once Sarandon's grandma “shows up with her cleavage, … the mood brightens considerably.”
None of the critics groups handing out Best of the Year awards has mentioned Sarandon even as one of their runners-up. Additionally, she has been left out of both the Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations.
Even so, could Susan Sarandon – as a result of all the publicity surrounding her split from Robbins and the inevitable outpouring of sympathy & condolences to follow – land a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination?
Sympathy Oscar nod?
True, a relationship break-up isn't the same thing as the tracheotomy that earned Elizabeth Taylor a Best Actress Oscar for Daniel Mann's melodrama Butterfield 8 back in early 1961, or the recovery from a debilitating stroke that likely helped Patricia Neal land a nomination – no matter how well deserved – for Ulu Grosbard's 1968 family drama The Subject Was Roses.
More recently, Heath Ledger's unexpected death surely helped him win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar earlier this year – once again, no matter how well deserved – for his performance as the Joker in Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight.
Sarandon's personal circumstances are hardly that dire. Still, enough Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members liked the Atlantic City, Thelma & Louise, Lorenzo's Oil, The Client, and Dead Man Walking actress, thus guaranteeing her four Academy Award nominations and one win over the course of 15 years. Although the last time that happened was nearly 15 years ago, most of those people who voted for Sarandon then are quite likely still around now.
Tough Best Supporting Actress competition
On the other hand, working against Sarandon's chances is the fact that this year the competition is unusually strong, e.g., Mo'Nique for Precious, Vera Farmiga and Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air, Penélope Cruz for Nine, to name four that have earned both Golden Globe and SAG Award nominations.
But considering the way Oscar votes are tallied, one shouldn't be too surprised if Susan Sarandon's name is included among the five finalists come next February.
All she needs is a relatively small segment of ardent Academy members – 16 percent of voters, who would place her in their no. 1 or no. 2 spot – to have a good chance at landing a nomination. And that's something she may well have.
The Lovely Bones' marketing people should consider adding more “For Your Consideration” ads for their film's bosomy, booze-loving granny.
See also: Susan Sarandon gets 2009 Stockholm Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award.
Fans' poll: Robert Pattinson & Megan Fox are sexiest stars while braindead Michael Bay actioner gets schizophrenic reactions
In other awards season news: We all know what 2009 movies critics' like, since they've been getting together to announce this year's best since early December. But what about movie fans? Or at least those (reported) 200,000+ fans who have bothered to vote in a poll at moviephone.com? Most importantly: Who would be their choices for the year's sexiest stars?
Well, the answers are here. Michael Haneke's The White Ribbon was chosen – oops! Wrong poll. Let's try again.
Chris Weitz's The Twilight Saga: New Moon was named Best Movie – global box office: $662 million – with more than 40 percent of the vote. New Moon's male star, Robert Pattinson, was voted sexiest actor, followed by his rival Taylor Lautner, the Male Breakout Star of 2009.
Sandra Bullock was the Best Actress for John Lee Hancock's sleeper blockbuster The Blind Side, but Megan Fox, the female star of Michael Bay's Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, was a double winner: Sexiest Actress and Worst Actress of the Year. There are worse combos, you know?
'Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen' divides fans
Curiously, voters were markedly divided when it came to Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Bay's saga about the eternal fight between robots and humans (or what passes for human in today's blockbusters), was chosen as the year's Worst Film, Best Action Movie, and the second-most disappointing release after Sacha Baron Cohen's Brüno.
David Slade's The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, also starring Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner – plus Kristen Stewart – is the most anticipated movie of 2010, followed by Jon Favreau's Iron Man 2, starring Robert Downey Jr. and Scarlett Johansson, and David Yates' Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, starring Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint, Emma Watson, and, possibly one of next year's sexiest stars, a noseless Ralph Fiennes.
Sir Peter Jackson
More moview news: New Zealand-born Peter Jackson has become Sir Peter Jackson in his native country.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy filmmaker is now a knight as a result of his “services to film.” Among the movies Jackson has provided services for are:
- The horror-comedy Braindead (1992).
- Heavenly Creatures (1994), Kate Winslet's feature-film debut.
- The 2005 King Kong remake, starring Naomi Watts in the old Fay Wray role.
- The lavish adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, and The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
'The Lovely Bones' & 'Avatar'
Peter Jackson's latest, The Lovely Bones, starring Mark Wahlberg, Rachel Weisz, Saoirse Ronan, Stanley Tucci, and Susan Sarandon, was one of the most anticipated films of 2009. Yet the crime drama/fantasy has been generally panned by critics and has failed to get any awards season buzz.
Much luckier with both critics and audiences has been Neill Blomkamp's sleeper hit District 9, on which Jackson was credited as a producer.
And finally, Jackson's Wellington-based Weta Workshop and Weta Digital production facilities provided the special effects for James Cameron's 3D box office sensation Avatar, while his Park Road Post Production boasts one of the world's fastest super-computers.
Jackson and Guillermo del Toro are currently working on a two-movie prequel to the Lord of the Rings movies, The Hobbit. Filming is due to begin in New Zealand in early 2010. According to reports, Ian McKellen (another knight) should reprise his role as Gandalf.
New Zealand knights and dames are sanctioned by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, who happens to be New Zealand's official head of state to this day.
Marion Cotillard & Quentin Tarantino: Palm Springs Film Festival honorees
More awards season news: Marion Cotillard and Quentin Tarantino will be honored at the 2010 Palm Springs Film Festival. Cotillard, one of the stars of Rob Marshall's coolly received musical Nine, will be handed the Desert Palm Achievement Actress Award while Tarantino will get the Sonny Bono Visionary Award.
Presented by Cartier, the Palm Springs Awards Gala will take place on Tuesday, Jan. 5, at the Palm Springs Convention Center. The event will be hosted by Entertainment Tonight's Mary Hart.
The other 2010 Palms Springs honorees are:
Jason Reitman. Jeremy Renner. Mariah Carey. Morgan Freeman.
The Palm Springs Film Festival Festival runs January 5–18.
'Nine' & 'Inglourious Basterds'
It's no coincidence that Marion Cotillard and Quentin Tarantino have been chosen as Palm Springs Film Festival honorees this awards season. After all, both are potential Oscar contenders and Palm Springs is just a couple of hours east of Los Angeles.
In Nine, based on the Broadway show that is itself a musical adaptation of Federico Fellini's 8½, Cotillard plays the wife (Anouk Aimée in the original) of Daniel Day-Lewis' crisis-prone film director (Marcello Mastroianni in the original).
Of late, Marion Cotillard can also be seen in Karim Dridi's The Last Flight / Le Dernier Vol, based on Sylvain Estibal's novel The Last Flight of the Lancaster.
Set in the first year of the German occupation of France, Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds stars Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Mélanie Laurent, Michael Fassbender, Christoph Waltz, Til Schweiger, Eli Roth, Rod Taylor, and Bo Svenson. The World War II revenge fantasy has been nominated for four Golden Globes and three SAG Awards.
Image of one of sexiest stars Megan Fox in Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen: DreamWorks Pictures / Paramount Pictures.
Marion Cotillard Nine image: The Weinstein Company.
Susan Sarandon The Lovely Bones image: DreamWorks / Paramount Pictures.
“Susan Sarandon Sympathy Oscar? + Megan Fox & Robert Pattinson Sexiest Stars” last updated in January 2019.