On the Town with Shinan: Did Jennifer Aniston steal Julianne Moore's thunder?

By Shinan Govani

Photo: Getty
"Jen Aniston almost stole all my thunder," Julianne Moore joked at a lunch held in her honour the other day.

“No one came to our screening,” the flame-haired wonder was saying, talking about her movie, Still Alice - the film for which she just received a Golden Globe nom, and which premiered in Toronto during TIFF last September on the very afternoon a certain Friend was premiering her latest, Cake. “No one came to our screening,” Moore went on, because everyone wanted to see Aniston. “There were like three people from the Canadian press."

This, if I recall, is a little bit of a reach. There were at least four people from the Canadian press. Hee.

Point taken: Still Alice, in which Moore plays a Colombia University prof who's beset by a diganosis of early-onset Alzheimer's, is a film that came into Toronto with very little buzz, but quickly got plucked by Sony Classic Pictures. It later left with Moore crowned as a bit of a front-runner for the Best Actress Oscar, 2015. It all happened in a blink. And the recent Globes nomination clearly cinched the deal.

As it turns out - as Julianne mentioned at the nosh held at New York's fancy-schmancy Le Cirque - she'll be up against Ms. Aniston again, as Jen got a nomination, too, for her raw turn in Cake. Both, it turns out, got serious bounces in the ever-important early awards-season relay that is Toronto. But it really is, as most prostignators do believe, Julianne's year to win, seeing how heart-wrenching she is in Still Alice, but also that the 54-year-old is a four-time nominee and still sans golden statue. There's a kind of growing consenus that she is due – the same narrative that got built around Jeff Bridges for his turn in Crazy Heart a few years back. (The good will towards Moore is enlarged by the fact that she actually earned two Golden Globe noms, one for that aforementioned drama, and another in the Comedy/Musical category for her part in David Cronenberg's Map to the Stars!)

Julianne, who I've had the privilege of meeting a few times, puts the class in act, and it does seem all the stars are aligning for her, indeed. Two things struck me about the Le Cirque lunch: one was seeing her forever friend, Ellen Barkin, appear to toast her, it not only being nice to see women of a certain age geninuely supporting each other, but also indicative of how much affection Julianne has in the wider acting community; two, this lunch at Le Cirque honoured Cate Blanchett, the same time last year, for Blue Jasmine, and it all worked out pretty well for Cate, didn't it?

Oh, and another thing: unlike so many thespians in Hollywood who're always claiming to have slept through the Golden Globe/Oscar nominations, or pretending not to really care, Julianne didn't do either. Reliving the morning of the announcement with the New York Times, she said she'd woken with her kids to watch the whole thing live, on TV, alright - while fiddling around the kitchen. “I was nervously cleaning my waffle iron,” the actress added.


The seasonal film push was also on big-time in Toronto, this week, at a sneak-screen of the much-awaited Inherent Vice, directed by Paul Thomas Anderson. And here to make an appearance was new 'It Girl' Katherine Waterston (she's the daughter of Sam, who you loved on Law & Order and The Newsroom). Making quite the impression in the flick during a private unspooling, held at TIFF Lightbox, after which she participated in a chat with host Marcello Cabezas, Katherine appeared both grounded and sweet - and even admitted that she doesn't keep a mirror in her bathroom! The trippy noir - which has an all-star ensemble led by Joaquin Phoenix - opens in Toronto, on Dec. 25, and goes wider on Jan. 9.

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