Elaine Lui is Canada’s gossipmonger extraordinaire, with a master’s in Gaga and a black belt in Brangelina. This week, the blogger (find her at laineygossip.com) and eTalk correspondent is in L.A. covering the movie biz’s night of nights. Any news outlet can dish on Oscar outcomes, but only Lainey can tell you if Nicole Kidman has really lightened up on the Botox and whether James Franco and Anne Hathaway are secretly getting it on backstage. (They won’t be—but if they do, Lainey will know). We talked with her about Hollywood’s top dressers, celeb PDA and, of course, all things Oscar.
Natalie Portman: talented and deserving young role model, or intolerably smug and overrated?
Until this year, she was one of my most major girl crushes. But then there was that horrible, insipid speech at the Golden Globes [see left]. It was as if a cloak was thrown off of her to reveal her true, smug self. And that sweetie, baby girl voice drives me crazy. She’s almost 30. It’s a bit much.
Both Gwyneth and Nicole Kidman (a.k.a. Granny Freeze) will be attending this year. What are you expecting from two of your most regular blog subjects?
I’m expecting that Nicole will come with her musician husband and Gwyneth [who is performing a song from her movie Country Strong] will not, because she never does. Keith and Nicole will be all over each other. There will be a lot of hugging and touching and gazing into each other’s eyes. I get why Gwyneth [who is married to Coldplay’s Chris Martin] wants to keep her personal life separate, and for most times, I think it’s the right approach. Not everyone needs to be Demi and Ashton—those two would show up to the opening of a tuna can together.
What are the big pre-Oscar buzz topics right now?
There’s quite a lot of talk about Sandra Bullock. It’s the one-year anniversary of her win for The Blind Side. At the time, we all thought it was the happiest time in her life. Then, about a week later, her entire world fell apart when she found out about her husband’s cheating. She’s returning to the scene of the crime to present this year’s Best Actor trophy, and it will be her first public appearance. There is also talk that Penélope Cruz will make her first public appearance with her husband, Javier Bardem, who’s nominated for Best Actor. She just had a baby, but if she does show up, I’m sure her body will be insane.
Does this year’s guest list include any potential awkward run-ins, à la Brad and Jen?
People are really talking up the whole Sandra vs. Scarlett rivalry. [Scarlett Johansson recently split from her husband, Ryan Reynolds, who, according to the tabloids, is now romancing Sandra Bullock.] It’s a good story, so I understand the value from a gossip perspective, but it’s just not true.
How do you think James Franco and Anne Hathaway will fare as hosts?
I think they will do great and I’m really excited to see how they handle it. There will be people who don’t get it, but I like that the Academy is trying something new. And they picked the perfect people—two of the most acclaimed actors of their generation, who are able to straddle the old-world glamour, the new young Hollywood icon circle and the studios.
Are you predicting any upsets or is there an upset you would most like to see?
I would love to see Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right) beat Natalie Portman (Black Swan), but I don’t think that’s going to happen. A lot of people are predicting a win for Hailee Steinfeld (True Grit) in the Best Supporting Actress category, after Melissa Leo [who has won most of the season’s major trophies for her role in The Fighter] put out that terrible “for your consideration” campaign. The pictures are so poor, and she actually paid for it with her own money, which is pretty unheard of. It’s just so egregious and it left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths.
What was your favourite movie of 2010?
I loved Inside Job, the documentary about the financial crisis narrated by Matt Damon. It was just so informative. In terms of the 10 movies nominated for best picture, my favourite is Inception. It is an original idea from an exciting director, and it had both critical acclaim and commercial success, which doesn’t happen often. It’s still not going to win, though. Between the two real horses in this race, my vote is for The King’s Speech. And I think it’s going to win.
Can you share some predictions for best and worst dressed?
For best dressed, I’m predicting Cate Blanchett because, well, she’s Cate Blanchett. And for worst, if Katy Perry shows up, it will be her. If not, I guess Hilary Swank. Her look is not my style. It’s always so aggressive.
You’ve been covering the Oscars for years now. Is there a favourite moment from the broadcasts that stands out?
I thought it was really great when Ben Stiller dressed up as Joaquin Phoenix a couple of years ago. Totally hilarious.
Celebrity most likely to bring the crazy this year?
Oh, definitely James Franco. He’s just so unpredictable with the whole actor-artist-student persona. He recently joined Twitter and posted a picture of his pee. I’m pretty sure he’ll do something that will have people talking the next day.
eTalk at the Oscars, with Elaine Lui. Sunday, Feb. 27, 6:30 p.m., on CTV.