Christian Bale Turns on Charm Offensive at Critics' Choice Awards
Famously two-fisted Christian Bale made nice after pummeling all contenders for the Broadcast Film Critics Award for best supporting actor Friday night.
Accepting the award onstage, Bale told understandably sentimental stories about Alice Ward, the real mother of his addict pugilist character Dicky in The Fighter, who was basically dead in the hospital for 30 minutes this week until the real Dicky said, "Ma, wake up!" "That is one tough cookie," said Bale of Ward.
Then the newly sweet cookie Bale took his trophy, walked off camera and back to the press tent, where a journo asked him if his gaunt druggie role was like playing The Machinist, where he was Dachau gaunt. In reponse to this potentially arguably philistine, annoyingly familiar question, Bale might have shouted, "I'm going to ------- kick your ------- ass if you don't shut up for a second!" But that's actually what he said in his notorious Terminator rant on a bad day on the set a few years back. This unfortunate viral internet rant affected his image ever since, and smart but feisty interviews since fixed his image as a bad hombre who's really good at his art.
So it's important that Bale corrected his Machinist-obsessed interrogator with a far gentler intelligence. "It's nothing like it...It's Dicky, man, he's unlike any other character on the planet...The physical stuff, it's just a beginning." Forget the weight-loss regimen every actor faces -- earlier, Mila Kunis said "losing 20 pounds was the hardest part" of her role in Black Swan. (The tequila-swilling lesbian sex scene sounds like the most fun.) "It was a very nourishing part of my life," said Bale of making The Fighter.
Another journo asked about Bale's seemingly tearing up a bit in his acceptance speech. He said he's been in America too long and losing his "stiff upper lip." Really, he's gaining a sense of the importance of that other performance, promoting the art he's devoted his life to perfecting. And I'll bet as a real guy, he's a lot more like the person who showed up at the Critics' Choice Awards than the raving maniac on the Terminator tape.
Even though everybody expected him to whomp Andrew Garfield, Jeremy Renner, Mark Ruffalo, Geoffrey Rush, and especially Sam Rockwell, this double win, artistic and promotional, should give him a little boost at the upcoming SAG awards.
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Scott Feinberg, the lead awards analyst for The Hollywood Reporter, is one of the entertainment industry's most experienced and trusted experts about the Oscars, Emmys and Tonys. He started on the awards beat in 2001, writing for independent websites including his own ScottFeinberg.com before joining the Los Angeles Times and then THR, for which he writes “The Race” blog, which won the LA Press Club’s National Entertainment Journalism Award for best entertainment blog of 2012-2013. A voting member of both the Broadcast Film Critics' Association and Broadcast Television Journalists Association, he is also writing a book about film history for young people for which he has interviewed more than 500 high-profile Hollywood figures whose careers span the silent era through the present.
Follow Scott on Twitter at twitter.com/scottfeinberg.
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