Steve Coogan and Philomena Lee Meet the Pope, 'Philomena' to Screen in the Vatican

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by Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna
February 5, 2014 1:29 PM
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Philomena Lee and Steve Coogan meet Pope Francis

Talk about Oscar campaigning. 80-year-old Philomena Lee, whose son was sold for adoption by nuns in 1955 and whose tearjerking story is front and center in current Best Picture Oscar contender "Philomena," has met with Pope Francis in Rome. Lee was accompanied on her papal visit by her daughter and actor Steve Coogan, who co-stars and also wrote the film. (Our TOH! interview with Coogan is here.)

Coogan, Lee et al went representing The Philomena Project, a campaign calling on the Irish government to open up adoption records, thus potentially reuniting mothers forced into putting their children up for adoption. A screening of "Philomena" is also slated for the Vatican today.

As we've written before, don't count out wily Oscar campaigner Harvey Weinstein's "Philomena," which scored well with BAFTA nominations and could gain a boost on its home turf with some BAFTA wins during prime Oscar voting season. There are several hundred Brits in the Academy.

Weinstein also brought the real life Philomena Lee not only to the Golden Globes but to Washington, D.C., to push for adoption reforms with Senators Claire McCaskill and Chris Murphy.

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