With the Oscars only two weeks away, Hollywood’s pulse is quickening. The NY Times has a very nice special section of the Oscars present and past here.
Profiles of Daniel Day Lewis, Julianne Moore, Peter O’Toole, and features on digital animation, the tradition of Oscar campaigning are all fascinating; but I am particularly drawn to the story on Queen Latifah, who lit up the small screen over the weekend on SNL, spouting with equal verve and skill everything from hood jive to the Queen’s (literally) English. I’m going to check out Chicago – in the theater no less – just to see her:
- Queen Latifah, whose real name is Dana Owens, grew up in a lower-middle-class neighborhood of East Orange, N.J. Now 32, she is an old show-business hand, having been signed as a recording artist with the seminal rap label Tommy Boy Records when she was 18.
That might have been enough for most teenagers. But Queen Latifah says she was acutely aware of the necessity of regularly reinventing her image. When she discarded the Afrocentric style that was her early trademark, record executives were dismayed. But such constant evolution is how she came to be receiving props from Beverly Hills matrons on the eve of the Oscars.
“I’m not getting caught up in the Oscar thing,” says Queen Latifah of her nomination for a supporting role – a role she got only after auditioning three times. Kathy Bates and Rosie O’Donnell were among the others up for the part of the corrupt, wisecracking prison matron who helps decide the fates of the incarcerated killers played by Catherine Zeta-Jones and Renee Zellweger. “But I have to laugh sometimes, it’s so unbelievable.”