Tonight's Oscar event, another ritzy event with movers and shakers and Oscar winners present, was in celebration of The Imitation Game. But we'll backtrack to that in a moment. Just before heading out, I spotted Damien Chazelle the young/writer director of Whiplash fame and his friend, a composer, in the corner. I popped over to say hi, since they'd been so friendly at a Christmas party for Nightcrawler. Who were they chatting with but Graham Moore who wrote The Imitation Game! 'I guess this is the writer's corner,' I say and congratulated them on their WGA nominations earlier in the day. Imitation will be competing with the writers of American Sniper, Gone Girl, Guardians of the Galaxy (interview), and Wild. Whiplash will be competing with the writers of Boyhood, Foxcatcher, Grand Budapest Hotel, and Nightcrawler.
It suddenly occurred to me, and I verbalized it, that they'll be competitors with each other instead should they both be Oscar nominated on the 15th, considering the Whiplash switcheroo to Adapted. 'Can you tell how much we dislike each other?' they said, laughing, and the joke escalated 'it's even worse now that we're rivals!.' Chazelle is very very nice so I tried not to be disgusted (I kid I kid) at how young he is to be in the thick of the Oscar race. Imagine being an Oscar nominee, before you're even 30! I split hairs: Chazelle turns 30 a few days after Nomination Morning so it'll be quite a birthday present for the big 3-0 should it come to pass.
As for The Imitation Game event...
Mayor Bloomberg spoke as did the producer Teddy Schwarzman and the director Morten Tyldum (who I'd earlier bombed with while trying my broken Norwegian out on him. You can't win them all and I promise I'm not as obnoxious as I sound in these write-ups. I exchange niceties and move on so as not to hog the luminaries since reporters who hog them are The.Worst.) Their speeches stressed frequently that Alan Turing changed the world and mourned the tragedy of his life and persecution due to his homosexuality. They also stressed the team effort, a labor of love with everyone being overworked and underpaid. Bloomberg attempted a joke about that last bit -- at least I hope it was a joke but, you know, card carrying pinko liberal here -- suggesting to the director and producer that that's what you're supposed to do 'overwork and underpay people. How the world works'
The films SAG nominated ensemble was not present but for three: Allen Leech (better known as "Tom" on Downton Abbey) who seemed genuinely grateful about how well his career is going and excited about the SAG nomination in particular. He told me he'd just wrapped an action picture with Sam Worthington and referred to Downton amusingly as 'the big house' but was cagey about whether he'd be back for another round. But the most fun was meeting the two youngest cast members from the film Alex Lawther (the young Alan Turing) and Matthew Beard (Peter Hilton, the codebreaker with the brother at sea). I remarked that they looked just like brothers which they'd heard more than once that night. 'We're standing together so that some producer will see us. Somebody's got to have a brothers picture!' The Imitation Game was Lawther's first movie ... he thinks... 'maybe it was X+Y' he's been very busy very quickly, hence the confusion. He confirmed to my delight that Sally Hawkins (also in X+Y) is just as amazing as you'd think she'd be. 'She's just like her Happy-Go-Lucky character. Well, not really.'
Beard, a little more seasoned in the movies, had previously co-starred in An Education (2009). I pointed out that by this time next week he'll already have two Best Picture nominees on his filmography. He hadn't realized it but quickly warmed to the idea, demanding that future scripts comply: 'I only do Best Pictures!'