On Saturday night your columnist also moderated the festival's tribute to Angelina Jolie for performance of the year for her role as Mariane Pearl in "A Mighty Heart."
Jolie told us backstage that she didn't realize it was going to be a tribute to her entire career, but went with the flow anyway. She said she never watches her movies but gamely sat as we talked about everything (even "Cyborg 2"!) and showed clips from several, including her Oscar-winning turn in "Girl, Interrupted."
She doesn't like to be surrounded by awards, so her late mother kept her Oscar for years. Now it's at her brother Jamie's (appropriate since he got a lot of attention the night she won) along with all her Golden Globes and SAG awards. She promised she would keep her Santa Barbara award, though.
Clint Eastwood, who directed Jolie in the upcoming "Changeling" and seemed to be having a great time chomping on popcorn and watching the festivities showed up to present the festival award to the actress, saying the camera loves her like almost no other actor he knows.
The warm vibes in the room seemed to go a long way (at least momentarily) in making up for Jolie inexplicably missing out on an Oscar nomination for "A Mighty Heart." It is the role she is most proud of and said will be the most important she will ever play.
When Jolie came back in the green room with award in hand, Pitt told her he was really entertained watching her on stage. But when someone suggested that maybe he should sit for a tribute of his own someday, he quickly changed the subject.
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Racing down the coast, we made it back in time to the Beverly Hills Hotel for a Polo Lounge brunch Sunday honoring Michael Moore's "Sicko," an Oscar nominee for best documentary which had just nabbed the same award the night before from the producers guild.
An eclectic industry crowd that included Roseanne, Larry Charles, Todd Haynes and many others talked primary politics and listened to Moore as he proudly noted that the health insurance issues at the heart of his movie are now at the forefront of both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama's campaigns.
He told us he was encouraged that, like "An Inconvenient Truth," his film is proving to be a catalyst for cultural change, at least as far as awareness of universal healthcare is concerned, and he's glad the Oscar attention will continue to keep it in the media eye during election season.
Asked if we can expect a repeat (should he win) of his now infamous acceptance speech for "Bowling for Columbine" (2002), given just five days after the U.S. started bombing Iraq and for which he was practically booed out of the Kodak, Moore was actually contrite.
"I want to say I will be on my best behavior and I am a good guest," Moore said.
He thinks times have changed since then anyway.
"I was honored this year to actually see the thing that I was booed off the stage for, speaking out against the war, is now the thing the academy is honoring, with three of the five nominees being antiwar documentaries ["Taxi to the Dark Side," "Operation Homecoming" and "No End in Sight"]," Moore said.
"That's how much things have changed, and that makes me very happy. Anyway, I'm really looking forward to going. I only had 10 seconds left in the speech last time. Maybe I'll just pick up where I left off. I was just getting to the comedy portion."
Now that could be something to look forward to as The Season drops the picket signs and rolls on.