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February 04, 2009

Richard Jenkins, still humble


No one would ever accuse Richard Jenkins of not being a humble guy. But his assessment of his place in the best actor Oscar race is damn harsh: "I don't have a chance."

That's what the veteran character actor and star of "The Visitor" deadpanned to David Letterman Tuesday night. He was kidding, sort of. The "Late Night" host had asked him about his competition, to which Jenkins said they're tough "physically and talent-wise." (He's in good company, of course, with Sean Penn, Mickey Rourke, Frank Langella and Brad Pitt).

He might not have been invited to the party at all if it wasn't for his son, who now works for Oscar vote tabulator Price Waterhouse Cooper. Jenkins said. "Nothing for 40 years in the business, then my son graduates from college, goes to work for Price Waterhouse and boom!"

Just kidding. Really this time.

He told the coffee klatch at "The View" Wednesday that he felt the weight of the world on his shoulders when the indie film screened at the Toronto Film Festival. "I was thinking, if this doesn't work, it's my fault," he said.

It did work, and due in no small part to him. 

Good to see Jenkins, a Gold Rush Q&A victim and early pick for an Oscar nod, getting some national face time for this role and for carrying the indie banner to the Oscars.


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Oscar Contenders

  • So "The Dark Knight" didn't make it into the final five after all, never mind that critical and popular support. Let's just call the comic-inspired mega-hit "The Biggest Snubee."

    Here are the best picture contenders in a race that, two weeks away from the Oscars, seems to be a foregone conclusion ("Slumdog") unless there's a come-from-behind possibility ("The Reader" anyone?)

    "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," with Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett; the politically timely "Milk;" rags-to-riches fairy tale, "Slumdog Millionaire," Holocaust best-seller-based drama "The Reader," and Watergate-era biopic "Frost/Nixon."

    Could "Button" and "Slumdog" split the vote, allowing another film to take the prize? Doesn't seem likely. After having clung to "Button" for months as what we thought would be the Academy voters' top vhoice, our money's now on "Slumdog." Momentum can't be ignored.

    Watch this blog for updates, ephemera and all manner of postulating.

Picture this

  • Mmmmm, chocolate Oscar. Not every star will walk away from the 81st annual Academy Awards with a trophy, but if they hit the high-profile Governor's Ball they can have pastry chef Sherry Yard's gold-dusted candy version. Also on the menu from celeb chef Wolfgang Puck is tuna tartare in sesame miso cones, chopped Chino Farms vegetable salad with ginger soy vinaigrette, Maine lobster and caviar. Serve it up! (Getty Images)

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