LIZ SMITH: Once Again, The Queen ...

Helen Mirren — Once Again, The Queen ... Will Ben Affleck Steal Oscar Night? ... Arianna Huffington Honored.
Elizabeth Taylor's Fabulous Jewels — They Were Only Fabulous On Her ... Will Michelle Williams Reprise Marilyn?


Friday, February 22, 2013
by Liz Smith

“LET'S see each other alone so we can ‘talk hard’!” says Queen Elizabeth II to intimates when she wants them to know she needs a real heart-to-heart.

Helen Mirren in “The Queen.”
Mirren's upcoming role.
Interesting now to read in Michael Riedel’s column that Helen Mirren will return to London for a play in which she once again plays the Queen of England. As you must remember, Dame Helen already won an Oscar for playing Elizabeth II in “The Queen.”

Helen told me personally that enacting the Queen as she was at the time of the death of Princess Diana, gave her a new sympathy, empathy and heart felt feelings for the monarch. Before she played the role she was something of an anti-royalty rebel. She ended up cherishing Elizabeth II.

As you may know, Mr. Riedel says the effort this time will demand “elasticity” for the role demands that Helen age from 24 years old to 86 years old.

In it we’ll see the one and only Ms. Mirren jousting with a number of prime ministers — David Cameron, Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Anthony Eden, Harold Wilson and Sir Winston Churchill.

This new play, again by two of the most admired theater types in London (Peter Morgan wrote it; Stephen Daldry will direct) is titled “The Audience” and I can hardly wait although I am going to have to.
WELL, HERE we are, 48 hours away from Oscar night, and it is already one of the most eagerly awaited Academy Awards telecasts ever.

We’ll have Barbra Streisand, Shirley Bassey, Adele, Norah Jones and ta-da! — Russell Crowe singing. (The talented Mr. Crowe’s warbling in “Les Miserables” was the weakest of the principal players, but just the idea of watching Crowe sing live on the show of shows ups the anticipation level.)

But really and truly, it will be Ben Affleck’s night. His fabulous nominated film “Argo” is the capper to a three-year road to redemption in Hollywood. The movie has raked in dozens of awards.

What will give Oscar night its real tension is the fact that although “Argo” is nominated for best film, Mr. Affleck was somehow overlooked when it came to a best director nod.

With each new award “Argo” and Mr. Affleck picked up, the Academy members turned from shiny gold to beet red with embarrassment.

Prediction? David O. Russell will pick up the award for directing “Silver Linings Playbook.” The rest of the night will belong to “Argo.”

As for Mr. Spielberg and “Lincoln” I don’t think Steven will be crying too hard into his gazillions of dollars and his many, many past blockbusters.
Arianna Huffington and Sandra Lee.
REMEMBER, I told you about Arianna Huffington sitting with Sandra Lee and the Governor of New York at the Bowery Mission Valentine party in the Plaza?

Well, this media queen has really taken New York by storm since she was named one of Time's "most influential people" and also since she thrust The Huffington Post site to glory on the Internet.

Now she is being honored by former DA Robert Morgenthau ... Police Chief Ray Kelly ... would-be Mayor John Catsimatidis ... and the Police Athletic League's Mark Simone.

This happens March 19 at the Mutual of America building, 320 Park Ave, 35th floor from 12 to 2. I do like to see important people getting together constantly to
have a good time and raise money for good causes. These star people are doing that.
Join them for the $250-$150 tickets by contacting Matt at 212-956-5803 and be there. You don't want to miss Arianna because she is one of the rare ones left standing.
I RECALL that on the emotional evening I attended the final exhibition of Elizabeth Taylor’s personal possessions at Christie’s, I wondered who would buy, and who would dare to wear, her fabulous jewels?

Especially items such as her over-the-top Bulgari collection? As it turned out, Bulgari bought up Elizabeth’s entire collection — or at least the really big pieces. (Elizabeth had seemingly endless quantities of Bulgari chain necklaces.) Now these whoppers are on display in Hollywood. The exhibit opened the other night and stars such as Julianne Moore, Drew Barrymore and Naomi Watts appeared wearing some of the pieces — Moore hung Elizabeth’s legendary emeralds around her neck.

Well, no offense to any of these lovely ladies, but the life seemed to drain from the jewels. Elizabeth gave her rocks their energy. And, physically she was suited for the opulent baubles she adored — the big head, the broad shoulders, the over-sized bosom. No matter how gigantic the stones, or how elaborate the setting, Elizabeth made it all look just right. The pleasure she took in her shiny playthings was appealingly childlike and her vulgarity was positively regal.

Elizabeth always said: “I’m just the temporary caretaker of these things. After I’m gone, they will belong to somebody else. I hope they get as much fun out of them as I have.”

I’m sure they will. But it won’t be the same kind of fun. We won’t care.
ALTHOUGH “My Week With Marilyn” wasn’t exactly a blockbuster hit, it is unlikely the Weinstein Company expected that. The movie did well enough — probably made back its cost — and Michelle Williams, who impersonated Marilyn, received the Oscar nomination Monroe herself deserved for “Bus Stop” or “The Prince and the Showgirl” or “Some Like It Hot.”

Now there’s a rumor floating that the Weinsteins wouldn’t mind doing something of a “sequel” to “My Week ...” It would cover the unhappy era, 1959-1962, focusing on the end of MM’s marriage to Arthur Miller ... her affair with Yves Montand ... relationship with Frank Sinatra ... re-newed friendship with Joe DiMaggio and, but of course, the Kennedys, and her “mysterious” death.

Michelle Williams has supposedly been approached again to play Marilyn, but she is iffy. She claimed that playing Marilyn was exhausting and took her to dark, unhappy places. She’s not sure she wants to go there again.
ENDQUOTE: “Nice speech, Eve. But I wouldn’t worry about your heart. You can always put that award where your heart ought to be!” That was Bette Davis getting the final word in “All About Eve.”

Appropriate, I think, only hours away from Hollywood’s great orgy of self-congratulation.

Contact Liz Smith here.

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