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Thread: "The Secret Actress" column in The Guardian

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    Bronze Member fuzuoko's Avatar
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    Default "The Secret Actress" column in The Guardian

    The Secret Actress: 'I wish I had what I had at 12 – the cojones to not give a shit' | Film | The Guardian

    An Oscar- and Golden Globes-nominated Hollywood actress has started writing an anonymous column for The Guardian that sounds like it will contain some blind items, and I think her identity qualifies as a blind item itself.

    Here's her first article:

    The Secret Actress is an Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated actor who lives and works in LA today.

    If you asked my parents about when I became an actor, you would be met with a massive eye-roll. Early in my career, I took my mother to a screening of one of my films. During one of my more emotional moments, one that involved copious amounts of tears, snot and begging, my mom leaned towards the stranger sitting next to her and said: Ive been watching this exact scene since she was three, Im so glad I didnt pay for this ticket.

    The stranger happened to be a famous Oscar-winning actor who was extremely charming and according to mom, whispered back a version of Aristotles The things we have to learn before we can do them, we learn by doing them. And this, it turns out, is all I remember of the beginning: practice.

    At school, when a teacher asked for a volunteer to read out a poem, equation, footnote or list of hazardous substances, my hand would shoot into the air and I would become the prescient emoji for pick me. There was nothing I could read, feel or do that couldnt, or wouldnt, be metabolized into performance.

    As every actor will tell you, at some point in some relationship, they have had some version of Why should I believe you? You lie for a living! thrown at them, and so it was that at an early age I realized that while people like the entertainment aspect of performance, they dont necessarily trust the entertainer. My friends at school were, I think, sometimes mistrustful, if not just embarrassed by the wanton ease with which I bandied around emotional articulation. I would slip quite happily between emotional poles and could swear that all of it was genuine. To me, it was, and all of it was in the service of practicing how you connect with emotional truth, synthesize it through your own particular mainframe, and then project it out into the world. Sounds like a load of baloney, but its actually one of the more honest cornerstones of acting.

    At my school, the English department was also the drama department. This is a brilliant way to begin an acting career. English teachers dont have the faint sliver of resentment that has morphed into dogma that you sometimes find in drama school (or certainly the drama schools I went to). It was the very fact that they werent frustrated performers that allowed them to create a solid foundation around which we could fill in the mad, emotional grout. Plus something about not being spoon-fed childrens drama created an appetite for doing things well outside my apparent capabilities. I dont think I have ever really lost that. But I wish I had now what I had at 12, which was the cojones to freefall awkwardly through anything and not give a shit what anyone thought.

    I have gone on to have a very successful career and, while the media and the public have their own idea of what success is, mine begins and ends with being paid to do what I love, and still being employed in movies and television years after I began. I have worked all over the world. I have long wanted to write some sort of book about my experiences, but without naming names it becomes rather boring rhetoric and yet if I do name names its a gimlet in the face at all the top restaurants and Id probably never work again.

    But there are such good stories

    When I was approached to write this column I thought the cloak of anonymity would be helpful in creating a frank response to many of the issues and stories I come upon in my industry. The vast pay discrepancies between male and female actors, the ongoing lack of opportunity for actors of color in leading roles in movies, how Oscar campaigns are run with political precision and what its like to audition for a director while he is heavily making out with his girlfriend, who is also really famous and really married to someone else. I will look at this as bringing you what I hope will be an interesting, insider vantage point, into some of the day-to-day and after-hours aspects of Babylon.
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    Elite Member Sassiness's Avatar
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    the tone of the writing sounds like Kate Winslet. Does her background fit with teh clues?
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    Elite Member CornFlakegrl's Avatar
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    The writing is a little overwrought. So someone who fancies themselves a smarty pants.
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    Bronze Member fuzuoko's Avatar
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    Part Two:

    I was asleep when it was announced Id been nominated for an Academy Award. They read the nominees names out at about 6am and Id reasoned hysteria or disappointment whichever way the wind blew would be better met after 8am and a large coffee.

    It took a family member shinning up the fire escape and yelling through my bedroom window for me to actually find out. I remember us standing in my living room with two other friends whod climbed up the fire escape too, jumping up and down like we were 10. Honestly, anyone who tells you it isnt a thrilling, wonderful moment in their life is probably a bit of an ass-hat.

    Ass-hats aside, awards and nominations carry a pointed cynicism within them. They are the result of political campaigns run with extreme precision ending up with beautiful people congratulating themselves on being good. For a smaller film though, a nomination can mean a huge difference in foreign sales and visibility in a crowded market. For all budgets it means tons more seats filled and revenue made. It can also launch previously unrecognized careers. (Tell me youd heard of Alejandro Irritu before Birdman?)

    We are living in a time when the bodies that vote for these awards are being called into question. The lack of diversity of women, millennials and people of color in the Academy has been in the news a lot lately. I would argue that the Hollywood Foreign Press, which decides the Golden Globe nominees and winners and has a median age of around 60, could probably do with a bit of an overhaul as well.

    There is clearly a huge amount of reformation that needs to occur, but as with most things that are based around a traditionally white format, and one that has generated shitloads of money for many years, the notion of it becoming a meritocracy is sort of laughable.

    And yet.

    Being nominated for, and going to the Oscars, is an incredibly exciting moment. (Im speaking as an actor who, like most actors, will usually shun their previously hard-born beliefs about democracy if theres prize in the offing.)

    After finding out youve been nominated, the rest of the day is spent telling the press how unbelievably excited you are. And the best thing is you ARE. You will scream on the phone with people who are in the movie you were nominated for, some of whom will also have been nominated, and everyone will say: Yeah, but Leonardo DiCaprio will win. Then you will start going to different hotels, and in these hotels whole suites will be taken up with racks and racks of gowns and shoes and jewels and you will initially feel like a pirate and you will not fit into anything because you are a normal-girl size, but by the fourth week of trying on dresses you will suddenly fit into everything on account of the coffee and cigarettes and nerves.

    I know stylists who are offered thousands of dollars to get their clients into certain designers gowns for the Oscars. It makes sense, as the Oscars offer arguably the biggest runway/red carpet in the world. I had many beautiful dresses made and sent, unsolicited, by some of the greatest designers in the world totally worth a shot, but most of the time you end up having a dress made for you by a designer with whom youve established some sort of relationship. My dad cried when he saw me in my dress, and he gave me $20 to put in my purse in case I had to get a cab home.

    I remember feeling like a gladiator (more studded evening bag than giant club) getting out of the car to the deafening screams of thousands of onlookers, every camera trained, knowing you were the show and that all you could do was smile and smile and smile some more, until the bloodshed began.

    The day after the awards and in the weeks following, its quite hard to avoid witnessing how your dress went down. Best or worst, you find yourself on the cover of tabloids and in the giant, fashion recaps all the glossies end up having, and far more pervasively on websites devoted to deconstructing your boobs/legs/crpiness of bat-wing. I never look at that stuff anymore, particularly because every invisible blogger is now judge and jury, and I have no interest in the halls-of-mirrors-distortion a thousand voices discussing if you got it right has upon a person. Its horrible when people say mean things about a dress you thought looked lovely. Its also a losing battle to do anything except please yourself, and make sure the dress fits.

    As for that ceremony I dont remember that much of it. I do remember getting hugely sweaty armpits and Meryl Streep helping me dry them under the hand-blower thing in the ladies room. Clearly the woman is a saint, as she also reminded me to take the blotting tissues out from under my arms before I went back to my seat. She might also have said that Leonardo was probably going to win.

    I partied all night long. The Vanity Fair party was an all-night affair, where people actually danced and where tables were littered with statuettes. There was an appropriate amount of sobbing at the bar, and here and there, wonderful actors youd grown up watching on screen would be passed out on glitter-strewn banquettes, snoring gently.

    The Secret Actress at the Oscars: Meryl Streep helped me dry my sweaty armpits | Film | The Guardian
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    Elite Member JazzyGirl's Avatar
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    Jennifer Lawrence?

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    Elite Member Beeyotch's Avatar
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    bat-wings, is that more of a British expression?

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    Elite Member rollo's Avatar
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    You can have batwing sleeves. Does she mean bingo wings? Anyway, this person sounds older, British but with American phrases, educated, a bit pompous - that's all I got.
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    Gold Member electrocuted_sheep's Avatar
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    On AGC, it says this is Minnie Driver.

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    Elite Member Brando's Avatar
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    I think this is Carey Mulligan.
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    Elite Member C_is_for_Cookie's Avatar
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    Carey Mulligan was nominated in the same category as the name checked Meryl Streep so Meryl being at the same Oscars as her fits.
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    Elite Member NoNoRehab's Avatar
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    Carey Mulligan and Meryl Streep were nominated in the same year, but DiCaprio wasn't nominated for anything that year, so Streep couldn't have said in the bathroom he was probably going to win. Leo was also famously NOT nominated the Titanic year, 1997, which was when Minnie Driver was nominated for Good Will Hunting.

    Leo is going to win this year, and this is the only time where people are actually expecting him to win. In his previous nominations he was never the frontrunner. Streep often attends when not nominated, though, so it doesn't need to be a year when she was nominated necessarily.

    The actress may be British or British connections, but for her to have slept through the Oscar nominations she had to have been living in America (in U.K. time, the announcement comes during lunchtime). The mention of a relative coming up the fire escape leads me to think New York, and she must be from there to still have family who live there, too.

    So I think the best bet would be to look for an actress from New York who's been nominated for a Golden Globe and Oscar in a year in which Leo was also nominated.
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    Silver Member albatross's Avatar
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    From the first line of the first article:

    The Secret Actress is an Oscar- and Golden Globe-nominated actor who lives and works in LA today.


    This also matches the 6AM time mentioned in the second article, since the nomination announcements start at 5:30AM PST.
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    Elite Member NoNoRehab's Avatar
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    She may live in L.A., but I bet she was in New York for the Oscar nominations. The mention of a relative shimmying up the fire escape to bang on her window screams NY apartment. No one that famous lives in an apartment in L.A., they have a house. Even the celebs who live in L.A. temporarily live in hotels or rental homes.

    There's no mention of the actress being British, so I think she's originally from NYC but lives in L.A. now. A relative coming up the fire escape and then friends coming over to scream about the Oscar nominations leads me to believe her family/friends are still in NY so she's originally from there. The question is, who's an actress originally from NYC who was nominated in the same year as Leo and when Meryl also attended?
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    Elite Member NoNoRehab's Avatar
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    Ooh, ooh! I have a guess! Julie Delpy.

    - She's originally from France, but per this interview with The Guardian (!) she now lives in L.A.

    - She was nominated for Best Original Screenplay at the 2014 Oscars for co-writing Before Midnight. Also nominated that year were Meryl Streep (for August: Osage County) and Leonardo DiCaprio (for Wolf of Wall Street).

    -At said 2014 Oscars when she was nominated, she wore a dress with batwing sleeves:



    - She was also nominated for Best Actress for Before Midnight at the 2014 Golden Globes.

    - Her first Oscar nomination came in 2005 for co-writing Before Sunset. Also nominated that year for best actor - Leonardo DiCaprio.

    - In 2014, she also attended the Vanity Fair Oscars party:



    - Her Wiki entry says this: "Delpy moved to New York in 1990 and moved to Los Angeles a few years after that. She has been a naturalized citizen of the United States since 2001, although she also retains her French citizenship." She directed a movie called 2 Days in New York in 2012, which also filmed there, so she's obviously familiar with the city. It's possible she still has an apartment there and could've been there when the Oscars were announced.
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    Elite Member effie2's Avatar
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    I met her here in Athens,she is a goddess..
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