People often don’t take the time to listen to their elders in this country, and that’s a shame. Because they’re usually full of two things, wisdom, and poop in their pants, and one ignores either at one’s own peril. 99-year-old Connie Sawyer is one such wise old fart (not to mention being recognizable from bit parts in Dumb and Dumber, Pineapple Express, and a million other things), and the LA Times recently sat down with her, one of the Academy’s oldest members, to see what she had to say (you want to know how old the Academy is? being 99 only qualifies you as ONE of the oldest). Surprisingly, she was not impressed by best picture favorite The Artist. But hey, she’s probably still sore at the French for not carrying their weight at the Somme, lousy horse eaters.
But Sawyer, who was a 15-year-old living in Oakland in 1927, when “The Artist’s” story begins, wasn’t so enamored of the black-and-white film. The movie was enjoyable enough, she says, but she frankly doesn’t understand what all the fuss is about.
“Hasn’t anybody seen old films?” Sawyer asked in exasperation. “They’re easy to make and easy to act. All you have to do is overact. I saw a lot of those films in my day.”
“M’yeah, see? I seen a million of ’em, kid, and I ain’t so impressed. Why, I remember when Meyer Lansky’s driver, Peter, gave me the ol’ 23 skiddoo inside the Nickelodeon during a Lilian Gish picture. Petey Two Fingers, we used to call ’em, he was the bee’s knees. I may wear bigger bloomers these days, and Petey’s dead of the consumption, but this ain’t so different.”
In a way I agree with her. The Artist isn’t life-changing, but it’s well made and hard not to like. But then, “pretty good” is more than you can say for War Horse or the Tom Hanks solving 9/11 with child-like wonder. I don’t want to say this year’s is a weak field, but Billy Crystal is hosting.
Her best picture vote went to director Martin Scorsese’s 3-D family adventure “Hugo,” which she’s seen three times. In the lead actress category, she chose Meryl Streep — “the best actress in America,” Sawyer said — for her portrayal of Margaret Thatcher in the biopic “The Iron Lady.”
For lead actor, the category in which “The Artist” star Jean Dujardin is favored by some, Sawyer picked Brad Pitt for his starring turn as Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane in the baseball drama “Moneyball.” The film, she said, “was the best work he’s done.” [LA Times]
I’d be impressed by anyone who stayed awake all the way through The Iron Lady, let alone a 99-year-old. There’s no way she got through that screener in less than six sittings.
[pic via LA Times]