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Posts Tagged ‘Frank Langella.’

Lunch: Barbara Walters, Frank Langella & Kathie Lee Gifford

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— DIANE CLEHANE

It was a tasty mix of media mavens, social types and the random celebrity (Frank Langella was in the house!) on the menu at Michael’s today: The dining room was so packed, they were shoehorning tables in everywhere. I was glad I got there early so I was able to grab some of the regulars on the way to their tables before they got down to some serious dining and dishing. Kathie Lee Gifford was one of the first to arrive, announcing, “Ah, springtime!” as she came through the door. She’s got plenty to smile about these days as her latest book, Just When I Thought I’d Dropped My Last Egg (Ballantine), hit the New York Times bestseller list. I just has to ask Kathie Lee what she thought about her pal Joan Rivers winning The Celebrity Apprentice, besting her arch enemy poker player Annie Duke and the nasty showdown the women had on the finale. “I was thrilled for her. Anyone that knows Joan knows she’s a friend to the end — and any time a 75-year-old wins anything, it’s good for all of us!”

I was lunching today with Alexandra Trower, Estee Lauder’s executive vice president of global communications. This consummate public relations pro has been with the company just over a year now, having made the switch from banking (she was SVP of media relations for Bank of America) to the beauty biz. This week, Alex scored a major hit with a front-page story on Estee Lauder’s new CEO Fabrizio Freda in WWD Beauty Biz. We had a terrific chat about the famous faces and captains of industry we’ve both come to know. It’s amazing what a small world Manhattan can be!

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. Today show twosome Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb with Kathie Lee’s right-hand gal Christine and Hoda’s chic pal Sunny

2. Literary lioness Lynn Nesbitt and Peter Brown

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong dining with Kerry Kennedy and her charming young daughter Michaela

4. Barbara Walters and Frank Langella

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Lunch: Liz Smith, Frank Langella & A Bevy of Social Swans

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— DIANE CLEHANE

The streets may be eerily empty these days (at least you can always get a cab), but you can pretty much count on a full house on Wednesdays at Michael’s. Today the dining room was buzzing as media mavens and a fair share of fashionistas made the scene. Before things really got going, I checked in with ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong, who is keeping good thoughts for his pal Robin Williams as he undergoes heart surgery. It was Joe, you may recall, who first brought Robin to Michael’s all those years ago for a lunch with Bill Clinton, which made headlines far and wide and even wound up being discussed on David Letterman. Here’s hoping one of our favorite funnymen makes a full and quick recovery.

Today I was lunching with Dorian Benkoil, mediabistro.com’s former editorial director and the man who first asked me to do this column. Dorian has a very full plate these days helming his own company, Teeming Media. He’s hosting an online show, Naked Media, broadcast monthly on NakedMedia.org, and recently had Businessweek.com’s Jon Byrne and Howard Lindzon, co-founder of Stockwits and Wallstrip, as guests. At the moment, Dorian is hard at work producing a seminar entitled “Finance for Media Professionals” to be held on March 23. If you want to check out the details for this timely talk, go to TeemingMedia.com.

I was happy to see regulars Kira Semler and Vi Huse (‘the bar-ettes’) having their monthly champagne lunch at the bar. I only wish that Kira had told me about her letter to the New York Post (which they printed) bemoaning the paper’s decision to stop publishing Liz Smith‘s column. (She showed it to me when we were all on our way out the door.) I would have loved to have introduced Liz to such an ardent fan. Oh well, next time…

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The New Yorker‘s David Remnick, publisher Lisa Hughes and Cartier’s Frederic de Narp with a few members of his incredibly chic staff.

2. My new Facebook friend Terry Allen Kramer with Broadway producers James Neiderlander and Rob Greenblatt

3. ‘Mayor’ Joe Armstrong and The Hallmark Channel’s honcho Henry Schleiff. I had to go over and tell Henry that I’m loving those Saturday night made-for-TV movies on his network (What can I say? I have a four-year-old and don’t get out much). Henry told me he’s particularly excited about this week’s offering, Relative Stranger, starring Eriq La Salle, Cicely Tyson and Michael Michele, about a football player who leaves his family and years later returns to make amends. It premieres Saturday night at 8 p.m. I’m in! And, for all you fans of I Love Lucy and The Golden Girls reruns (Come on, confess, I know you’re out there) Hallmark is now home to these television gems. You’re welcome…

4. Liz Smith and Frank Langella (who gallantly got up and offered to pull out Liz’s chair — chivalry is not dead! Liz and I chatted before Mr. Langella’s arrival (he’s just too imposing to call Frank) and she told me now that she’s made the move to the Internet writing for her Website wowOwow.com (check it out, it’s addictive), she’s “trying to pump up her sources.” Aren’t we all?

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Clint For Best Actor: Do You Feel Lucky? Well, Do Ya, Punk?

clint3.jpgAs the Oscar ballots were just sent out to hungry voters for those pesky gold statuettes, the pressing question hovers around Dirty Harry and whether he’ll get the acting nod, the L.A. Times predicts.

The critics, well faux critics or columnists or whatever you want to call them, are in disarray as to whether Clint can cull an acting statue. Michael Musto of the Village Voice (who is not a critic), Anne Thompson of Variety (who also is not a critic) and blogger Jeff Wells of Hollywood-Elsewhere.com (who, surprise, is also not a critic) all like Clint for best actor. They seem to think he does feel lucky, punk.

But competition is pretty stiff this year. Frank Langella is likely to get nominated for “Frost/Nixon,” Sean Penn looks like lock for “Milk,” Brad Pitt for “Benjamin Button” and dark horse Mickey ‘They took my fuckin’ thumb’ Rourke for “The Wrestler.

Now remember, the noms haven’t even been announced yet, so these could all be false conjecture.

But Clint is definitely a special case. He’s won for directing and producing but acting has always been a non-starter. Not that Clint couldn’t pull off a decent “Hamlet,” if needed (or maybe “Lear”), but he’s worth voting for because he’s Clint.

And because we here at FBLA aren’t quite sure whether he shot five times or was it six and we don’t want to be the sixth.

Complete Golden Globe Nominations

frostnix3.jpg“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” lead the nominations in the top categories for the 66th Golden Globe Awards, chosen for drama, actor, director, screenplay and score.

“Frost/Nixon,” “The Reader,” “Revolutionary Road” and “Slumdog Millionaire” rounded out the pics in the drama category, chosen by the 80-plus members of The Hollywood Foreign Press Assn.

In the dramatic acting categories, Leonardo DiCaprio, Frank Langella, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt and Mickey Rourke received noms among actors, while Anne Hathaway, Angelina Jolie, Meryl Streep, Kate Winslet and Kristin Scott Thomas were singled out in the actress category.

“Wall-E” received three nominations, including best animated feature and best song and score in the music categories.

The Globes are considered a bellwether for the Academy Awards. Awards are scheduled to air Jan 11 on NBC from the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills.

FILM

BEST FEATURE – DRAMA
“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
“Frost/Nixon”
“The Reader”
“Slumdog Millionaire”
“Revolutionary Road”

BEST FEATURE – COMEDY
“Burn After Reading”
“Happy-Go-Lucky”
“En Bruges”
“Mamma Mia!”
“Vicky Cristina Barcelona”

ACTOR – DRAMA
Leonardo DiCaprio – “Revolutionary Road”
Frank Langella – “Frost/Nixon”
Sean Penn – “Milk”
Brad Pitt – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”
Mickey Rouke – “The Wrestler”

ACTRESS – DRAMA
Anne Hathaway – “Rachel Getting Married”
Angelina Jolie – “Changeling”
Meryl Streep – “Doubt”
Kristin Scott Thomas – “I’ve Loved You So Long”
Kate Winslet – “Revolutionary Road”

More Nominations Below:

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‘Frost/Nixon’ Spectacular For Foreign Press

nixonfrost.jpgfrostNix.jpg“Frost/Nixon,” Ron Howard’s paean to politics, was screened for international journalists last night in L.A. and all those foreign journos were bowled over by Frank Langella‘s unexpected spectacular turn as Tricky Dick.

Based on a play about the Frost/Nixon interviews in the late ’70s, the film actually finds a dramatic theme to a series of four one-on-one interviews for a playboy British talk show host and the disgraced former President.

The play was written by Peter Morgan, but director Howard is the one who should be lauded. Howard, whose films are usually dramatic but successful fluff, has tapped into a gold mine of political and historical proportions. Michael Sheen, who played Frost in the West End version, returns on film.

Said one screening-goer, “I didn’t think he had it in him.”

We think he meant Howard, not Langella.

Either way, the film was so good, it made you want to go on YouTube and find the originals, which are all listed. But a company called Liberation Entertainment has taken them off the free market. Alas, as always, it comes down to the dollar.

Lunch: Valerie Bertinelli Weighs In

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— DIANE CLEHANE

As much as we love our bird’s eye perch from the bar, it’s always a treat when we’re invited to dine in the grown up section — especially when the scene is as head-spinning as it was today. Hallmark Channel’s senior vice president Jen Geisser and her power publicist Jaime Saberito made room for me at the table at a luncheon hosted by their fearless leader the consummate showman Henry Schleiff and attended by a tasty stew of bold-faced names and top executives from UNICEF that made for one interesting afternoon of Cobb salads and conversation. Henry, newly ensconced on UNICEF’s board, brought the group to together to kick off the TAP project during ‘World Water Week’ (March 16-22). The initiative was created to raise funds and awareness by asking NYC diners at select eateries around town to forego their Fiji water for good old NYC tap water and donate what they would have spent on it to help fund clean water for kids around the world. And, yes, Michael’s is participating.

The reigning queen of the celebrity diet wars Valerie Bertinelli (A 40-pound weight loss thanks to Jenny Craig!) was the guest of honor (arriving with her boyfriend Tom Vitale) having made one movie for the network with another one in the works — Mrs. Washington Goes to Smith (Catchy title!). The still adorable actress and newly minted best-selling author was busy signing books for everyone (Henry thinks of everything!) but still made time to chat with me. Her big news — her book, Losing It — And Gaining My Life Back One Pound at Time will debut at No. 1 on this week’s New York Times‘ list. “I’m so thrilled — it’s on my son’s 17th birthday and I dedicated the book to him,” she says. “I couldn’t be more blessed.” Val (we’re on a first name basis now) also confided that she’s hot on starting another book and already has an idea that’s bound to strike a chord. “I’d like to write something like Divorce & Children: Love Your Child More Than You Hate Your Ex. The list is long when one considers who might benefit from such a tome. For now, at least, it appears Silda Spitzer won’t be needing it but we’re not closing the book on that one just yet.

Here’s the rundown on today’s crowd:

1. The white wine was flowing in celebration of Linda Fairstein‘s latest book, Killer Heat with a table full of gals that know a little something about the subject. In attendance: Cosmo editrix Kate White, super agent Esther Newberg, former Law & Order SVU star Stephanie March, Lesley Stahl (I promise to keep my eye out for that 60 Minutes watch!) and Cynthia Lufkin (Congrats on being named The American Cancer Society’s Mother of the Year!)

2. Bobby Zarem and a Jake Gyllenhaal doppelganger.

3. Mayor Joe Armstrong who has been traveling far and wide hard at work on his upcoming book with some lovely looking ladies. Welcome back Joe, we missed you!

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