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Glenn Close 'very gratified' by career honors

by Nathaniel R

Glenn Close, a moment before we spoke on Monday nightThe Film Experience was honored to be invited to attend the Museum of the Moving Image's tribute to the career of Glenn Close this week at the elegant 583 Park Avenue venue, just days before her Golden Globe nomination. Attending the festivities were politicians, actors, industry vets, and museum officials and honorees including a whole excited table nearby mine of teenagers from Queens, where the museum is located, who collectively gave one of the night's most amusing speeches about MoMI's community outreach programs and youth engagement.

We spoke briefly to the woman of the hour, Glenn Close upon her arrival at the gala. The story of The Wife, an arthouse success this summer, is about a woman whose genius goes unrecognized...

Things must be different for the woman playing her, given this and other impending tributes.

Does Glenn herself ever feel underappreciated?

"I'd be pathetic if I felt that way tonight!" Glenn answered, giving the tiniest glimmer of what would bloom later that evening into tearful graciousness. Then she reflected a bit more on the madness of awards campaigns, long careers, and healthy perspectives.

I think you feel [underappreciated] if you let yourself feel that way. We're in a very competitive profession. On my first job this wonderful actress said 'try not to compare you career to anyone else's.' That was profound advice. It's very healthy. Own your choices. Live with your choices and see what the result is.

In this case the result was an entire evening dedicated to her long career with clips shown from all of her most iconic roles.

That's what's so amazing about tonight. I'm here because of the sum of my choices. And, you know, you don't know when you're choosing. It's so subjective. That's why it's so amazing to me and very very gratifying.

Glenn is also starring Off Broadway in The Mother of the Maid at the moment and we wondered how she was holding up. "It's an incredibly rigorous role so I'm lucky my eyes are open right now," she confessed. Pressed about her stage work, she didn't profess any desire to repeat any more stage triumphs onscreen as she had with Albert Nobbs (2011). Well, but for one, she suddenly amended "I hope they make Sunset Blvd into a film!" 

After saying our goodbyes to Glenn we sat down for a glamorous dinner with speeches and appearances from her co-star in The Wife, Christian Slater, her longtime friend and theater giant Jim Dale, and video messages from Rose Byrne, Michael Douglas, and more. Kevin Kline, her co-star in The Big Chill, sent a droll message that went over well with the crowd. Ethan Hawke (experiencing his own honors this season for First Reformed), also engaged the crowd with a fun story about the first time he ever saw Glenn Close onscreen. His mother had taken him to Glenn's debut in The World According to Garp (1982) but dragged him out of the theater halfway through when she suddenly remembered how the bestselling book ended. He tried to sneak back in to finish the movie but his mother won the battle. 

Sony Pictures Classics co-founder and co-president Michael Barker was also in house for the necessary hard sell, given Close's perpetual bridesmaids status at the Academy Awards. Oscar went unmentioned but the message was clear. "It's time."

Glenn Close in "The Wife"

The evening ended with the actress taking the stage for a moving speech with shout-outs to her co-stars, family (including her daughter Annie Starke who plays her younger self in The Wife), and friends especially a tearful ode to her "very best friend" and perpetual inspiration, the actress Mary Beth Hurt. Glenn revealed that when she feels stuck in a scene she thinks, 'What would Mary Beth do?'

The most lovely part of her speech was a long and gracious detour into the people who are so rarely thanked at length and so specifically during speeches, the crew. She shouted out specific costume designers for iconic looks and helping her get into character, hair and makeup people for great wigs and attention to detail, cinematographers who light her, and so on. The funniest bit during this section was repeated references to her own 'great boobs' in Dangerous Liaisons, for which she gave credit to her then-nursing daughter Annie and the Oscar winning costume designer James Acheson.

After her heartfelt speech and so many clips of famous performances strung together, many of which were reminders of how bracing her choices and screen presence can be in her most iconic roles (hello GarpFatal AttractionDangerous Liaisons), it was hard to argue with that underlying message from Sony Pictures Classics. Not that we'd want to. 

It's time. 

more Glenn
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Reader Comments (62)

Cute write-up! People's love for her is obviously very real. Too bad she won't be winning. :/

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbeyaccount

I think she'll just edge out Blunt who is now her main competition,cos Blunts winning the GG.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarkgordonuk

I want her to win, especially against the potential nominees, but it does suck to think about how much better a win for Sunset Blvd would be, if that gets made in the next couple of years.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

@beyaccount Cute story yourself!

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Blunt is Close's main competition because Blunt's winning the GG?

Immaculate logic

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

This woman should have had more than one Oscar by now

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJaragon

It’s time is all good and well, but who was the last person to win a career Oscar when the film they had was so tiny and the role so quiet? This feels more O’Toole in Venus to me than a Plummer or a Bridges...

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMatty

'try not to compare you career to anyone else's‘ is her/his ‘there can be a 100 people in the room but it only takes one person to believe in you.’ Glenn meet GaGa.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFaye

@Yavor True that. Amy Adams won a Comedy/Musical Best Actress GG and wasn't even nominated for the role.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Thank you for sharing your experience with us. I love all of these little star anecdotes, particularly learning that Glenn Close's BFF is Mary Beth Hurt! The latter was so good in Interiors (1978), and her perpetually inspiring Close has got to be on account of breaking into movies earlier than the famed late-bloomer Close. It's about damn time!

Re: Ethan Hawke, his First Reformed director (Paul Schrader) happens to be married to Mary Beth Hurt (ex-wife of William Hurt). It's a small world, Hollywood.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMareko

I'm absolutely appalled by the Glenn-erasure I see everyday on social media (not to mention the Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Deadline, the Comments section of TFE, etc.) The ageist, sexist abuse levied against Glenn by Gaga "stans" is disgraceful. It would NEVER happen if Gaga's rival (of quite a higher margin) was someone like Meryl or Helen Mirren. Glennie is a Class Act, and I'm hoping all these awards bodies don't go in for Stefi G's brand of plagiarism and populism.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Mark, some of the Little Monsters may indeed be playing dirty. It's rotten. But that's no reason to attack Gaga or her remarkable achievement in her film. And since when is populism a dirty thing.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Thank you Nat for the write-up. Glenn is a class act. She will win the Oscar as she's NOT GOING TO BE IGNORED!

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJans

@brookesboy, Forgive me. I did admire Gaga's performance -- her final song was very moving -- but it's her shtick I take issue with... That Hollywood Reporter roundtable -- Gwyneth Paltrow would've thought her answers pretentious! And how the press fawns over her! The Academy's social media accounts framed their coverage of the recent Governors Awards around Gaga and didn't release a single photo of Glenn. It was private photos only. Populism isn't a bad thing, but awarding Lady Gaga shouldn't be the less embarrassing alternative to giving "Black Panther" Best Picture...

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMark

Who was the last person to win a career Oscar when the film they had was so tiny and the role so quiet?

Julianne Moore, Still Alice

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterParanoid Android

People keep comparing Glenn Close to Julianne Moore but I found Still Alice to be a significantly better film, and the role was a bit showier considering the subject matter.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I can see the comparison given that both have had overdue stories and both films were considered small and not universally acclaimed enough to be in the BP conversation. I wouldn't call Moore's role showy really. It was rather subdued.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

I think Glenn's achievements in film are remarkable, and she doesn't really need an Oscar to validate that, even though it would be nice. But this year she is competing with the big box office, EgoGaGa, Warner Brothers big money/press juggernaut and I don't know if her narrative is strong enough. Break a leg sister.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTom Ford

Glennie must win. Especially over someone's debut leading role.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterFR

@Bruno - wasn't calling it showy, but in comparison to Glenn in The Wife, it felt like there was a bit more to chew on simply because of the Alzheimer's.

I get the comparison on paper, but once I saw The Wife, I see why Glenn is facing even more of an uphill battle.

But I still think Glenn should win.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

I have tears in my eyes reading this; I’m thrilled you were in attandance for this special event, Nathaniel.

It’s time...

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterRyan Crowe

Mark -- Cosign 100%. Couldn't agree more.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterPeggy Sue

Still Alice grossed $18M domestic at the box office (by comparison, more than Call Me By Your Name grossed last year, and less than $3M short of Phantom Thread). It wasn't "tiny" at all for an indie.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

@Suzanne: Still Alice had only grossed about 5 or 6 million by the date of the Oscar ceremony. It was undoubtedly helped a lot by Moore's win.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

Bruno - Sure it was. But it also wasn't released until the date nominations were announced, because it didn't need to be; Sony Pictures Classics was that confident in Moore's Oscar prospects. And the week of the Oscars ceremony, when it hit $9 million, was its first week in wide release.

They are rereleasing The Wife this week with the hope that more people will see it. It's a quiet weekend, so perhaps audience interest will spark.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

I think the Academy needs to reboot the honorary Oscar. Spend a year closing out the backlog of worthy winners in their 80s and 90s. Often they catch people about six months before they die of old age—not optimal for anyone.

Once that's done, they can turn their attention toward stars/icons who aren't elderly but whose most fruitful runs in the industry are 20-30 years ago. Steve Martin wasn't a perfect honorary winner but I like the career stage at which they chose to award him.

Pivoting to younger winners like Martin, Sigourney Weaver, Kathleen Turner, Tom Cruise and other people who are (frankly) unlikely to win a competitive Oscar would take the heat off races like Glenn's, and remove the sense of grim finality from the honor. All those people deserve honorary awards and it's a shame we'll wait until the late 2030s to see it happen.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHayden

@Suzanne. Right. Point being that Still Alice was indeed a small indie that reaped the benefits of its star's Oscar win to eventually become a bigger hit. It's a mischaracterization to call it anything but.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBruno

The only actress who gave a better performance than Glenn this year is Elsie Fisher in Eight Grade

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterstjeans

Hayden - I love those suggestions, it really would be advantageous to everyone if The Academy put more thought and effort into expanding the role of Honourary Oscars.

Mark - I couldn't agree more. I acknowledge that Lady Gaga has talent but I cannot abide her public persona. The media hyperbole aggravates the situation. In contrast, I think of how elegantly and gracefully others (including Glenn Close) have handled it. This will pass, let's hope Close gets a career Oscar or at least gets another role that will win her one. She's young compared to Judi Dench. So hang in there.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

The Academy has a Sophie's Choice give Close her overdue competitive win for The Wife or shotgun her an honorary after this year's ceremony. Because anything else is unacceptable. Gaga doesn't need a fucking Best Actress Oscar win for A Star is Born.

December 6, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

Damn, I can't believe all the hate here for Gaga as a person. I have never seen her be anything but sincere, compassionate and kind. We need more people like her.

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Nobody cares about Gaga the person. We care about Gaga the opposition to Close getting one competitive Oscar.

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

3rtful, yet again, you exhibit your basic lack of reading comprehension.

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterbrookesboy

Hayden -- i love this reasoning. I also agree that they wait too long. why wait until someone is too old to show up and enjoy the honor and live with that honor for at least a good half decade or decade thereafter.

brookesboy -i love Gaga too. but people get this way during oscar season, drawing their battle lines.

December 7, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I remember when Still Alice came out the reviews for the film were generally favorable (but not staggeringly great) and the reviews for the performance essentially said, "She's really fantastic in this." I see a lot of "She was thrown this bone for her career" kind of comments on here regarding this particular Oscar win, and I'm sure there was a sense of wanting to award her for her amazing body of work ... but she also had the reviews and (in my opinion) the performance to back it up. To me, that was a completely deserving win and not a "Scent of a Woman" scenario. Not to sound corny, but I think she's incredibly moving in "Still Alice." It's one of my favorite performances of hers.

I STILL need to see "The Wife." This post makes me definitely want to check it out.

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJJM

i hope and pray she wins

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterthomas

I love reading these comments. Many are amusing and quite subjective. Technically speaking, some actresses this year gave an actor's performance, one by which fellow actors learn from and truly appreciate while still being emotionally resonant. Other actresses gave great performances hyped by media sensation and popular opinion. So ... what SHOULD the Oscar stand for - greatness or brilliance? It's one thing to be great, yet it's another thing entirely to be masterful.

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMike

Bitch, sarcasm in text is never readily apparent. And most of you queens Stan for her.


December 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtful

If one more person undervalues Julianne Moore's staggering, beautiful, super-layered performance in Still Alice I will turn very very violent

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered Commentergoran

Thanks for this write-up for Glenn's night at the Museum of Moving Image. It gives me a vicarious first-row (or nearest table to the stage) perspective of what happened. Great to hear about her shout-out to Mary Beth Hurt. I heard that Close was particularly close (pun not intended) to her castmates in The Big Chill too. I would too, if I were in an apartment in South Carolina for a period of time, socialise with my c0-stars on- and off-screen. Being a Close fan, I love hearing the acknowledgements she gave to the people whose under-the-radar scene-works were behind what made her bigger, brighter, more resplendent and cinematically unforgettable.

Wish the tribute was televised.

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterOwl

Glenn herself is a very gracious actress. I remember reading a magazine at the grocery store that had a Faith Hill interview. This was when Faith Hill was REALLY popular and she had just wrapped "The Stepford Wives" (interestingly, her only film). She said in the table read that she had to fake an orgasm and it was in front of everybody and rather embarrassing but she went for it. Afterward, Glenn freaking Close said to her, "That would be difficult for even a seasoned actress to do and you should be proud of yourself".

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJakey

IFF Glenn doesn't win on her 7th attempt , surely she will win for Sunset Boulevard?

But then again I can just see the producers demanding that Ariana Grande or Kim Kardashian play the part cos they are POPULAR.

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

She is not going to be ignored, Nat!

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterEvaGr

I remember everybody's talk of Julianne Moore likely never winning, when I could feel it in my bones that she would. Close, Bening and Linney all will win should they live to say, 80 or more, and work enough. Chillax on those three at least, it has been foreseen and now foretold.

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHo-stradamus

How cool to not only be present at such an event honoring a legendary career, but to be invited at that! You are now officially banned from your false modesty, influence underplaying young man!

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterHarold

JJM - THE WIFE is much better than people are giving it credit for being. Yes, it's "small" and not "exciting" if you dont love acting, but I found the story quite involving and Glenn was so gripping and there's also a very good performance from Christian Slater in it as a kind of sidebar antagonist / truth-teller.

December 7, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Nathaniel - Everyone here "loves acting." Give your readers credit, even when they disagree with you.

I am rather tired of the personal digs. One of the nice things about TFE is that people here disagree about movies and actresses without personally insulting other posters. I hope we don't lose that this season.

At this point, I am hoping someone like Colman wins because she is really beyond reproach.

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

Suzanne -- i wasn't trying to diss anyone. I'm just saying it won't appeal to people who dont find acting for acting's sake thrilling. Since I do I love watching great actors being able to dig into meaty material even if there's not anything else going on cinematically.

December 7, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Suzanne turning into a Glenn-Close negationist is my biggest disappointment of the year.

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMerteuil

Merteuil - My biggest disappointment of the year is that a rapist was appointed to the Supreme Court. Cheers!

December 7, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterSuzanne

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