Harden thanks fellow food servers

Scene: Best Supporting Actress recalls colleagues from her days as a waitress in Big Apple.

March 26, 2001|By Chris Kaltenbach | Chris Kaltenbach,SUN MOVIE CRITIC

Marcia Gay Harden, the surprise winner of last night's Best Supporting Actress Oscar, took advantage of her time backstage to take care of some unfinished business from her days as a struggling actress in New York City.

"I swore that if I ever won an Oscar, I would thank all the waiters and waitresses who covered for me," the former waitress said. "You just can't do that in 45 seconds."

Still flustered after her win, Harden echoed the feelings of many of her predecessors. Time, she said, does seem to stand still after your name comes after "And the Oscar goes to ... "

"I was crushed in Ed Harris' hug for about a minute, it felt like," Harden said, alluding to the post-announcement embrace delivered by her co-star (and director) in "Pollock," the story of the emotionally embattled American abstract painter.

As for her own feelings? "I have just begun emoting," she promised.

Oscar's opposite

When it came time to pick the worst movie of 2000, the choice proved a no-brainer - as was, apparently, the movie thus dis-honored.

"Battlefield Earth," starring John Travolta as a dreadlocked alien baddie out to kill all humans, proved the overwhelming disfavorite of the 21st annual Razzies, recognizing the worst Hollywood has to offer.

"Every movie, no matter how wretched it is, gets at least one positive review, even if the studio has to write it itself," Razzies founder John Wilson said in introducing a clip from the film. "Except for this one."

So overwhelming was the film's badness, in fact, that it won in every category it was nominated, earning a record-tying seven Razzies in all. The only time it lost, the film beat itself, with Barry Pepper eking out the nod for Worst Supporting Actor (by a mere four votes, according to Wilson) over co-star Forest Whitaker.

The awards were handed out Saturday morning, during a frills-free news conference at a Santa Monica hotel where renovation work forced guests to enter through a side entrance. While previous Razzies ceremonies featured lavish, or at least lavishly hilarious, production numbers, this year's edition restricted itself to announcing the winners ... er, losers.

"We're giving our nominees the same lack of entertainment value they gave us," Razzies host Bill A. Jones told about 50 assembled guests.

In addition to Worst Picture, "Battlefield Earth" was blamed for Worst Actor (Travolta, also named for the lottery comedy "Lucky Numbers"), Worst Screen Couple (Travolta and anyone sharing the screen with him), Worst Supporting Actress (Mrs. Travolta, Kelly Preston, as a female alien with a 6-foot tongue), Worst Director (Roger Christian) and Worst Screenplay (Corey Mandell and J.D. Shapiro, adapting a novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard).

Other nominees for Worst Picture of 2000 were "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2,"; "The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas,"; "Little Nicky" and "The Next Best Thing."

Non-"Battlefield Earth" paradigms of badness noted by the Golden Raspberry Award Foundation included Madonna, who followed up her award last year as Worst Actress of the Century with more of the same. This time, she earned her Razzie for playing a single mom fighting for custody of her child in "The Next Best Thing.

The nod for Worst Remake or Sequel went to "Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2" - a film that, according to a review quoted from the Detroit Free Press, "was not the first horror film to make no sense, but the first to be proud of the accomplishment."

The seven dishonors for "Battlefield Earth" tied 1995's "Showgirls" for the title of all-time Razzies champion. Of such things are lasting infamy made.

"Every year, we say it's the worst year ever for films," Wilson said, "and every year, we're wrong."

Bush protestors

And you thought that pesky Florida recount finally settled things ...

Not as far as Bob Kunst is concerned. Yesterday, he and about 25 of his fellow diehards were outside the Oscas to protest George W. Bush's election to the presidency. This year was refreshingly free of pre-Oscar controversy - the impending SAG strike apparently didn't warrant a demonstration. So it was up to Kunst and his Miami Beach-based Oral Majority group to keep the fires of free speech burning.

"This is only the beginning of a whole national outcry on this issue," Kunst said, while wielding a sign that read, "Oscar for Bush Best Performance in a Coup d'Etat."

His wasn't the only sign, either. Others contained such snappy ralLying cries as "Bush is America's Emperor Commodus" (a reference to the incestuous bad guy of Best Picture nominee "Gladiator") and "Dude, Where's My Democracy?"

No word on what Emperor Commodus - or his namesake - had to say about all this.

View from the stands

A few observations from the bleachers, ensconced among hundreds of fans waiting not quietlyat all for the chance to shout for a few seconds at their favorite stars:

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