By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood January 12, 2009 at 3:26AM
Golden Globes weekend brings parties and more parties, both Saturday and Sunday. Predicting the Globes is a frustrating exercise; it's only 80 people. Who knows what they're thinking? The good money appears to be on Slumdog Millionaire for drama. I'll go with The Curious Life of Benjamin Button.
With Oscar ballots due Monday, debates rage over the fifth best picture slot. Some Oscar watchers say not enough Academy members are talking about The Dark Knight, no matter how many recent Guild noms it got. I don't see what else it could be. Revolutionary Road probably should have widened earlier, and Gran Torino kicked ass at the boxoffice one weekend too late. (Eastwood makes his own release decisions.) In the Oscar best actor race, though, the popular 78-year-old star could steal a slot from Leonardo DiCaprio, Richard Jenkins or Brad Pitt.
Brangelina turned up at Saturday night's hottest jam-packed party at the Chateau Marmont, where Paramount celebrated Button's success. When I told Star Trek star Chris Pine that I grew up on the original TV series starring William Shatner as Captain Kirk, he graciously said it was okay for me to be skeptical. (He plays the young Kirk in J.J. Abrams' revamp.) Paramount's John Lesher told us that his seven-year-old loved the movie. The studio's aiming at him and me and everyone in between. Poised to be Hollywood's next breakout star, Pine has nothing on his plate--yet.
The other Oscar category that could see some surprises is best actress: critics' faves Kristin Scott Thomas (I've Loved You So Long), Sally Hawkins (Happy-Go-Lucky) and Melissa Leo (Frozen River) are all vying for a slot. Who gets bumped in that case, assuming Meryl Streep and Kate Winslet are locks? Rachel Getting Married star Anne Hathaway? Angelina Jolie, who did not land a nom for A Mighty Heart? At least Eastwood's Changeling was seen by Academy members.
At Saturday's annual British Academy (BAFTA) tea party at the Beverly Hills Hotel, a civilized afternoon affair, the diminutive Hawkins (pictured) charmed the room, as did Scott Thomas. She has finished up her run on Broadway in The Seagull, but is far from relieved. "I miss it," she said. She looks forward to returning to her home in France, where she plans to do more acting, despite all the English-language work coming in. She's pleased to be getting fewer offers to play prim uptight Brits (like the one in Stephen Elliot's excellent, upcoming Easy Virtue). She's up next in Confessions of A Shopaholic and just signed to play John Lennon's Aunt Mimi in Nowhere Boy.
At BAFTA, other Globes and Oscar contenders, from Danny Boyle to Clint Eastwood, wandered in for a bit and moved on. Revolutionary Road's Leonardo DiCaprio and The Wrestler's Darren Aronofsky checked out the silent auction; The Reader's Stephen Daldry (pictured here with Valkyrie star Tom Wilkinson) played with his two little girls.
Slumdog Millionaire's Dev Patel arrived straight from the airport from visiting relatives in rural India and begged for a glass of water. When Fox Searchlight called him about a Calvin Klein tux for the Golden Globes, he told them: "Just get me a shower!" He sports a London accent very different from the movie, and recently signed with American agency UTA over the phone. He was relieved when he met the agents and liked them. The difference between American and British agents? "The Americans talk a lot more," he said. His Brit TV series Skins is currently airing on BBC America.
Moving on from Doubt, writer-director John Patrick Shanley has two original movie scripts in mind, plus one graphic novel. He admitted to admiring Frost/Nixon, and thought Valkyrie could have used more Hitler. He's read voluminous transcripts of Hitler talking; he never stopped, apparently. Bernd Eichinger, the producer of Downfall, featuring Bruno Ganz as a more outgoing Hitler (a clip from the film keeps getting re-subtitled to comic effect), has high hopes for his latest, Germany's foreign submission Der Baader Meinhoff Komplex.
At the intimate Disney/Miramax soiree in the old Warren Beatty penthouse and rooftop at the Beverly Wilshire (where there was actually food) I learned that Golden Globes broadcaster NBC (8 ‚Äì 11 p.m. EST Sunday) didn't know that presenter Shah Rukh Khan is Bollywood's biggest film star. Don't they realize that Newsweek chose him as their only movie star on their list of the 50 most powerful people in the world?
With Globes and Oscar hopes riding high for Happy-Go-Lucky and Doubt, and Sundance looming, Miramax host Daniel Battsek admitted, "I'm always anxious!"
[Originally appeared on Variety.com]