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Oscar kicks: Settle back for the annual ritual

Category: Shattered News
Article Date: March 2, 2006 | Publication: The Vancouver Sun | Author: Kate Zimmerman, Special to the Sun

Posted by: admin

GB.Net Note: While not directly connected to Gerard, it does mention that this Capote producer is also producing Butterfly on a Wheel.

For many of us, the Academy Awards show inspires a perverse ritual. This is the night when we in the TV-watching world are officially invited to press nose to glass and watch people much richer, more talented and more beautiful than ourselves toast each other's excellent fortune.

In turn, we get our kicks from belittling the stars' fashion sense, oratory skills and cosmetic surgery choices. For many of us, a Sunday evening in early March doesn't get any better than that.

That's why we try not to watch the Oscars alone. Any bon mot about Bjork's dress is a lot less funny when the only ones in the room are the speaker and an indifferent armful of hamsters. So all over the city this Sunday evening, while the virtuous go to the library or mop their kitchen floors in silence, many of us will be hunkering down with our most malicious friends to drool over Heath Ledger's manliness and cackle at Meg Ryan's super-inflated lips.

Not everybody in Vancouver is an outsider, though. Local boy (well, he's 42) Bill Vince of Infinity Media co-produced the film Capote, which has been nominated for five awards: best performance by an actor (Philip Seymour Hoffman), best performance by an actress in a supporting role (Catherine Keener), best adapted screenplay (Dan Futterman), best achievement in directing (Bennett Miller), and best motion picture of the year. Vince and his wife Cynthia, who live in West Vancouver, head to L.A. today for a weekend that will culminate in the Academy Awards ceremony and its numerous lavish after-parties.

"I'm very excited," Vince said last week, noting that Capote is in wonderful company with this year's other nominated films. He is most flattered by the fact the whole production got nominated -- not just the brilliant performance by Hoffman.

If Capote manages to snag best picture, Vince gets to mount the stage of the Kodak Theatre and give his public thanks.

If the movie is successful in other categories, it will be others on the film's team who get that opportunity.

Philip Seymour Hoffman's chances look good -- he recently scooped up the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) award for best actor in London, while Capote was shut out in the other four categories in which it had been nominated.

Not that there's a hint of envy from Vince. It was Hoffman who got Vince onside for the project in the first place, approaching him in New York and asking him if Infinity would finance the film.

"He's a wonderful person and a wonderful actor and you want to work hard for someone like that," said Vince, who is producing the Pierce Brosnan movie, Butterfly on a Wheel.

The reality of being Oscar bait didn't set in for Vince until a few weeks ago, when he flew to L.A. to attend the official Oscar lunch, which he described as "amazing."

The guests at the lunch were not entertainment business types like agents or lawyers, but people in the creative end of the film industry.

At one point Vince looked to his left at the "little guy" beside him and realized he was Steven Spielberg. "That's when it really hit, the special situation, and I had to think 'I don't know if I'll ever be back.'"

The Vinces will try to relax early in the day Sunday before joining their Capote confreres.

Cynthia has already enjoyed the surreal experience of having designers and jewellers contact her, offering to loan her their most dazzling wares. She's having a dress made, said Vince. "For me, I just put on my tux, and I don't have tons of hair so I just comb it back and there I go."

Meanwhile, here in Vancouver, Infinity Media is co-hosting a party for the Western Canadian film industry with B.C. Film and Telefilm Canada.

Vince's partner, Rob Merilees, is orchestrating the private party for 300-500 at Steamworks in Gastown, with extra TV screens laid on so everybody can watch the proceedings. Among the guests will be the Vinces' three kids, age eight through 12. The entire group's breath will no doubt be bated whenever Capote's name comes up during the broadcast.

"It's so exciting, it's tiring," said a happy but weary-sounding Merilees of the lead-up to the Academy Awards. "We're riding the wave, we've caught the lightning in the bottle . . . I think Capote is the first Western Canadian film ever to be nominated for so many Academy Awards." (Capote was filmed in Manitoba.)

"This is what you get in the business for, to make good films that are appreciated," he added. "It's opened up a lot of doors for us."

The party won't just celebrate Infinity's success, Merilees said, but is meant to cheer on all the film-making happening in this part of the country.

"We're trying to foster a friendly and very supportive film community."

Meanwhile, Lionsgate Films, formerly North Vancouver-based but now centred in L.A., has two movies in contention for awards -- Crash and the foreign language movie Don't Tell (from Italy), for a total of seven nominations.

Like Capote, Crash is nominated for best picture, best director (Paul Haggis), and best supporting actor (Matt Dillon), as well as for best film editing, original song and original screenplay. Nevertheless, the studio here has no communal Oscar-watch plans.
The Vancouver Sun 2006


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