Guest Diary

LIZ SMITH: Julianne Moore Moves Closer ...

Wednesday, January 28, 2015
by Liz Smith

Julianne Moore Moves Closer to Dating Hollywood's Most Wanted Naked Guy — Oscar! ... Tracee Ellis Ross Talks Big Hair and Big Mama (That's Miss Diana Ross, to You!)

“LET it snow, let it snow, let it snow!” So wrote Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne in July of 1945. It’s a great song, especially when it’s NOT snowing!
Sammy Cahn and Jule Styne.
A WHILE back, before awards season began in earnest, I wrote that 2015 might finally be Julianne Moore’s year, on the basis of her superior performance in “Still Alice.” Since then, she has won a Golden Globe, an Oscar nomination and a statuette from the Screen Actors Guild. Nobody should put their home up on a bet, as Oscar exists to surprise us, pleasantly or otherwise, but Miss Moore, now a five-time Academy Award nominee seems to have the inside track.
But the road to Oscar is not only sometimes inexplicably long — or startlingly short — but often based on careful PR. The luncheons, the interviews, the studio machinations. It has always been thus. (Joan Crawford had barely set foot on the set of “Mildred Pierce” back in 1944, when her friends in the press, and her studio, Warner Bros. were raving over her “Oscar caliber” work. Indeed, Joan was superb. But Hollywood wanted to give Crawford — once the long-reigning queen of MGM — a proper welcome back, after several years spent searching for “the right script.” And so it happened. Joan won her Oscar, and a new successful phase of her career was born.)
Crawford accepting her Oscar in bed for “Mildred Pierce."
If you want a good idea of how the more things change the more they stay the same, read the current New York Observer piece, “Julianne Moore’s Long Red Carpet to The Oscars.” Fascinating stuff!

(Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage)
Moore, never known for ego, says, simply: “We make movies because we want people to see them, and the thing about this kind of buzz means people will probably go. So, I’m thrilled.”

If, by some twist (Felicity Jones in “The Theory of Everything”) Moore misses out again, she has another ace up her Oscar sleeve — a feature film titled “Maps to the Stars,” which was a sensation at Cannes last May. She plays an actress having a breakdown.

That is almost as juicy as Julianne’s current turn as a brilliant woman diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. “Maps to the Stars” will be released at the end of the month, after Moore has either climbed the podium, arms outstretched for that little golden guy, or gone home consoling herself with the fact that such giants as Deborah Kerr and Richard Burton were nominated six and seven times respectively, without a win (although Kerr was eventually presented with an honorary Oscar.)

Hey, Garbo never won, either. Monroe was never even nominated. Moore would be in good company. But Julianne is so grounded, I doubt she’d be thinking that fancifully. Likely, her children would be on her mind. She’s like that — real, and not terribly actressy.
Julianne Gets Ready For Her Date With Oscar.
“MY mom was very glamorous, but that was her work world. My mom had beautiful clothes; my mom is elegant. But my mom is also really real. I grew up with a mother who had babies crawling on her head and spitting up on her when she was wearing gorgeous, expensive things, and it was never an issue.”

That is actress Tracee Ellis Ross, talking about her mother, the fabulous Diana Ross. Nothing surprising in that quote to me. I’ve always thought for all the “diva” talk, the truth of Diana Ross was in her five beautiful — and beautifully brought up — children. Tracee, so good in ABC-TV’s “Black-ish” series, also revealed her mother’s advice and philosophy about hairstyles: “She was always saying to me, ‘The bigger the better!’”
Tracee Ellis Ross and her supreme mom, Diana Ross, who was always telling Tracee, "The bigger the better!"
P.S. One of Diana’s movies, “Mahogany” was on the other night. Wow. That Diana was able to keep a straight face through that is a miracle! Producer Berry Gordy certainly helped her music career, as a Supreme and as a solo artist, but his heavy hand in her films was no help at all. Gordy fired director Tony Richardson from the movie and took over. Despite withering reviews, “Mahogany” made money but harmed Ross' reputation in the industry. (Her co-stars, Billy Dee Williams and Anthony Perkins — the latter playing crazier than Norman Bates — didn’t escaped unscathed either.)
The infamous fashion show sequence in "Mahogany." Diana designed all her clothes for this movie.
Diana — Did She Know Where She Was Going To with "Mahogany?"
After “The Wiz” (another Berry Gordy project) Diana’s once-promising screen career — begun so gloriously with “Lady Sings the Blues” — sputtered to a halt.

Contact Liz Smith here.