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I'd just like to say ... [silence]

Many of the top nominees aren't gabbing this year. So, why the big clam-up, folks?

January 24, 2007|Mary McNamara | Times Staff Writer

LIKE the Oscar acceptance speech, the nomination reaction quote has been part of the Hollywood handbook for years. But this year, many nominees seem to have confused themselves with White House, or in many cases, Downing Street, officials -- rather than getting on the phone and dutifully producing emotional / grateful / shocked / joyous reactions to their nominations, they chose to only "issue statements."

"I'm very pleased," wrote Judi Dench of her best actress nomination for "Notes on a Scandal." "I'm in frighteningly good company. It is very nice of 'The Queen' to allow me in for a minute. It was one of the harder parts I have played. At the end of the day I was quite glad to get back to the person I am. I had the power to do it because of Richard Eyre. He steered me through the rougher waters of it."

Dench was unable to say such things herself because she is currently appearing in the musical version of "The Merry Wives of Windsor" in Stratford-upon-Avon, which, her publicist added as if it explained everything, is "an hour and a half outside London." And reachable, we understand, only by ox cart.

Best actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio was actually in London, but doing press for the London premiere of "Blood Diamond" required all his effort. "I'm honored to receive this nomination from the Academy," read his statement, "especially in a year full of such worthy nominees. I'm grateful to everyone who has supported 'Blood Diamond.' Being nominated is a tribute to everyone who worked on this film especially Ed Zwick. I am also thrilled for Djimon, Mark and Marty who are all so deserving of this recognition."

Meryl Streep was also thrilled, but being Meryl Streep, in a way no one can possibly imagine. "I am thrilled in a way that no one can possibly imagine," she issued in answer to her nod in the best actress category for "The Devil Wears Prada." "It's extraordinary that anyone in the actor's branch is even speaking to me, never mind nominating me yet again. I'm very, very grateful."

Cate Blanchett, nominated for supporting actress in "Notes on a Scandal," didn't even issue a statement; according to one publicist, Blanchett doesn't do Oscar nomination interviews. Also, the actress is currently in the Virgin Islands, which, it must be pointed out, is even farther away from London than Stratford-upon-Avon.

Will Smith, best actor nominee for "The Pursuit of Happyness," was too busy working on the set of "I Am Legend" to take a call. "Congratulations to all the nominees," read his statement. "It is a great honor to be considered among this calibre of performers. No competition, all celebration. Let the parties begin."

Silence was a bit surprising from the man who donned a neon-lime thong at Cannes and stormed the White House in search of more publicity for his film, but Sacha Baron Cohen had no public reaction to the best adapted screenplay nomination for him and the other writers of "Borat."

On the other hand, best director nominee Martin Scorsese is a statement-issuer from way back and has steadfastly refused to discuss "The Departed," his many Oscar nominations or anything else much in the press. "I am very pleased that 'The Departed' has been honored with five nominations for this year's Academy Awards," reads Scorsese's statement. "I am particularly happy that the hard work of the entire cast and crew has been rewarded with a Best Picture nomination and that the specific contributions of Mark Wahlberg, our screenwriter William Monahan, and my longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker have been recognized with nominations as well."

Peter O'Toole, a best actor nominee for "Venus," also has a history of doing things his own way. Though much nominated, he has never won an acting Oscar and when the academy offered an honorary award in 2002, he initially refused, pointing out that he might win a real one yet. Not surprisingly, his statement read: "If you fail the first time, try, try, try, try, try, try, try again. Yoicks."

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