The notoriously press shy actress turned up for a few Q&As, with co-star Gordon Pinsent and her director, for an eclectic group of actors, industry types and a couple of journalists at the Peninsula Hotel on Friday.
"They want me to show up and accept a prize, and apparently if I do that I get to move on to the next (even more important) prize," she said, appearing alternately perplexed and amused about the whole pre-Oscar awards dance.
Things have changed a lot in the 42 years since Christie's last won for "Darling" in 1965. The bottom line these days, if you want to get your film seen is you have to be seen, at least to a certain extent.
Clearly though, Christie is willing to help the cause, if it gives her acclaimed but small early May release about an Alzheimer's victim, a push into a crowded race full of bigger Fall contenders.
Awards attention means people are more likely to see her film and that's what she wants.
If "Away From Her," which has grossed $5 million domestically for Lions Gate, seems like a long shot, Christie's luminous performance isn't. In fact, it's a good bet to land in Oscar's golden circle of five nominees. But a gentle, in-person nudge from a legendary star can't hurt the cause.
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And while we're considering long shots, favorites typically win, but that doesn't mean a genuine dark horse can't defy all odds and come from behind to triumph.
Cliff Robertson did it in 1968 with "Charly" when he scored a surprise Best Actor upset against "The Lion In Winter's" favored Peter O' Toole. "Chariots Of Fire" pulled off a Best Picture win in 1981 that almost no one saw coming. How appropriate that the award was presented by Oscar winner Loretta Young, the longest of long shots to take Best Actress in 1947 for "The Farmer's Daughter."
More recent sleepers range from Adrien Brody in 2002's "The Pianist", Marcia Gay Harden in 2000's "Pollock," and "The English Patient's" Juliette Binoche who won over shoo-in Lauren Bacall in 1996's "The Mirror Has Two Faces." Of course, Marisa Tomei in "My Cousin Vinny" was a real triumph of the underdog. She was such a long shot that to this day there are conspiracy theorists who refuse to believe she really won.
So who could come out of nowhere in 2007 and land on the Kodak stage?
First of all, Warner Bros. sources confirmed to us they will launch a late inning campaign for "I Am Legend" leading man Will Smith. Keep in mind Smith has yet to appear on any buzz lists or speculation charts.
How could he when "Legend" is as yet unscreened for media due to heavy post-production work being done in time for a Dec. 14 release? Besides, the film seems to be a crowd-pleasing entertainment ride, and not necessarily awards bait for a cultivated Academy audience.
Is there any prognosticator out there who has even broached the idea of a Smith nomination this year? Yet the studio seems to be high on Smith's prospects. Or are they just high?
Performances in sci-fi movies are almost never taken seriously by Oscar, although Sigourney Weaver did score a rare Best Actress nod for her futuristic turn in "Aliens" over 20 years ago. There have been a couple of other scattered examples but not many.
Smith is said to be terrific as "the last man on earth' in this latest adaptation of the Richard Matheson story about the apparent lone survivor of a deadly virus attack.
The sci-fi action role, last played by Charlton Heston in 1971's "The Omega Man," has all the makings of the kind of tour de force that could grab attention. It still has to work against a general snobbishness toward genre films among the Academy's actors branch making it a long shot in this year's crowded field.
Still, the Academy clearly loves Will Smith. The exclusive club has warmly welcomed him into Oscar's ranks by nominating him twice previously for "Ali" in 2001and "The Pursuit Of Happyness" last year.