Last night Darkest Hour‘s Gary Oldman, a lock for the Best Actor Oscar if there ever was one, did 90 minutes on-stage with Leonard Maltin. The specific occasion was a presenting of the SBIFF’s Maltin Modern Master Award, the festival’s highest honor, and it was like a coronation. The generic thing when you host one of these SBIFF tributes is to prostrate yourself and worship the honored guest like he/she is a combination of emperor, genius and living God, and Maltin did that, all right.
“You’re perfect, Gary…everything about you is wonderful, and it gives us such pleasure to celebrate that. Allow us to kiss the ring.”
What I’m saying, obviously, is that I wish these tributes could be a tad less kiss-assy and a little more like those witty, erudite 90-minute discussions that Dick Cavett used to do with Katharine Hepburn and others, but you can’t fight City Hall.
They had a conversation about Oldman’s pre-acting career (delivering milk in the wee hours, getting turned down by RADA at age 16) and so on. They also screened the usual clips. I was deeply disappointed that Oldman’s portrayal of Joe Orton in Stephen Frears‘ Prick Up Your Ears was ignored. I knew they’d show a Sid and Nancy clip and the famous one from True Romance when Oldman played a rasta-haired drug dealer who thinks he’s black…I knew it!
Oldman was unfailingly charming and gracious — he played the part that was expected of him. And Maltin, being Maltin, stayed away from every interesting side topic imaginable. He didn’t get within 10,000 feet of Oldman’s conservative beliefs and his disdain for political correctness. I respect Oldman for his atypical non-liberalism — it’s one of the things that makes him interesting, distinctive. But there was no way in hell Maltin was going to bring this up.
My other regret is that clip of Oldman dancing to “Get Up Offa That Thing” while in Winston Churchill makeup wasn’t shown — it would have been a huge hit!
Past recipients of the Modern Miraculous Maltin Mashable Masters award have included Denzel Washington, Clint Eastwood, Will Smith, Cate Blanchett, Johnny Depp, Michael Keaton, Ben Affleck, Christopher Plummer, Christopher Nolan, Bruce Dern, James Cameron, George Clooney and HE’s very own Peter Jackson.