It was a classy affair tonight at West Hollywood haunt Nobu as Universal Pictures celebrated their five Academy Award nominations for their critically acclaimed drama “Frost/Nixon.”
Producer Brian Grazer, director Ron Howard in low key jeans and cap (no doubt just back from the editing room of “Angels & Demons”) and Best Actor nominee Frank Langella mingled with notable guests Ridley Scott, Sam Raimi, Bill Paxton and Robert Forester (who spent a good portion of the night sharing sushi and stories with Langella).
It’s significant to note that “Nixon” received a nomination from every major branch: the overall Academy (picture), acting (Best Actor), the directors, editors and screenwriters (best adapted screenplay). That’s pretty much the closest thing you’ll get to universal respect from your peers in the movie industry, Oscar fans. So, while admittedly “Frost/Nixon” winning the golden statue on Oscar Sunday would amount to a major surprise at this point, sometimes you have to find solace in the overall achievement of your work.
“Nixon” may not have been the crossover hit everyone at Universal hoped it would be (do you wanna try selling a movie nationwide with two unknowns like Michael Sheen and Langella?), but it is a film that the studio will be proud to have in their library a long time to come. And while “Slumdog Millionaire” is preparing for glory and a few of the other Best Picture nominees will clearly not age so well, down the road “Frost/Nixon” will be one of those films that you’ll overhear people saying, “Hey, I finally saw that on HBO last night. It was really great. How come Langella didn’t win an Oscar for that?”
[And no offense to the equally worthy Sean Penn or Mickey Rourke.]
Still, it’s an all too familiar mantra heard over the years for films such as “The Thin Red Line,” “The Talented Mr. Ripley,” “The Ice Storm,” “The Insider,” “The Piano” and “L.A. Confidential,” just to name a few.
And that should help Howard and Glazer sleep well at night.
Along with the residual checks for “The Da Vinci Code,” of course.