A woman I was talking to at a party last night became very aroused when I told her I’d be speaking this morning with A Single Man star Colin Firth. “Oh, God…I could be your assistant and just sit there and watch!,” she said. “This would be a very big deal for her!,” her husband chimed in with a smirk. “That classiness, that sense of reserve!,” she went on. “It’s what every woman wants.”

It’s also what everyone else has been savoring since Firth broke through roughly 15 years ago. And now there’s widespread agreement that he delivers the finest variation of this very particular aura or attitude in Tom Ford‘s A Single Man.

One of my better questions began with a paraphrasing of John Ford‘s quote about how directors make the same film over and over. Do actors do the same thing more or less? Firth didn’t disagree. His achievement in A Single Man is that he’s playing the deepest and most intriguing aspect of this patented thing, and that this is mainly why people are calling him the front-runner in the Best Actor race — i.e., because the role of George has found him in exactly at the right place and time, and vice versa.

The lighting in the Carlyle bar was very Vittorio Storaro-like this morning. I imagine it’s this way no matter what time of day. The dark amber tones reminded me of of the apartment-scene lighting in a couple of scenes in Last Tango in Paris. Alas, the Canon Elph didn’t quite capture what was there. And yet a photo I took before Firth walked in (see above) comes pretty close.