What’s next, after the gold rush
The Oscars can add a jolt of adrenaline to an actor’s career.
An Oscar winner’s follow-up movie has been in the works long before the Academy Award is given out, so judging how an actor capitalizes on the win can be tricky.
Stars such as Tom Hanks, Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster transformed Oscar prestige into lasting respectability. But even Oscar winners have flops, such as Halle Berry’s Catwoman and Hanks’ The Ladykillers.
Here’s a look at what is in the works for this year’s winners:
Best Director – Clint Eastwood, Million Dollar Baby
Eastwood is already at work on a World War II drama about the men who participated in the iconic flag-raising after the battle of Iwo Jima. Flags of Our Fathers, from his Million Dollar Baby screenwriter Paul Haggis, is set for release next year.
Eastwood says he’s directing, and he will co-produce with Steven Spielberg.
Eastwood’s Oscar-winning co-star in Million Dollar Baby, Hilary Swank, says she’d love to join the cast ó but there are no female characters. She won her last Oscar for playing a woman who lives as a man in Boys Don’t Cry. Swank jokes, “I’ve played a boy before!”
Best Supporting Actress – Cate Blanchett, The Aviator
The only upcoming work from Blanchett is an Australian drama Little Fish, in which she plays a former drug addict trying to rebuild her life. No release date has been set. A sequel to her Oscar-nominated Elizabeth, titled The Golden Age, is no longer on her schedule, her representatives say.
In 2006, she plans to bring her stage performance of Hedda Gabler to Broadway. Otherwise, Blanchett is reading scripts and enjoying her sons, Dashiell, 3, and Roman, 11 months. Roman co-starred with her in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou – as her pregnant belly.
Best Supporting Actor – Morgan Freeman, Million Dollar Baby
Freeman also wins the prize for the most films already awaiting release. He plays a blind mentor to Jet Li’s abused fighter in Unleashed (May 13), the Batmobile’s inventor in Batman Begins (June 17), Robert Redford’s Vietnam veteran friend in An Unfinished Life and a burned-out reporter opposite Justin Timberlake in Edison (both scheduled for this year).
His next project will be a biopic about South African leader Nelson Mandela, which Freeman describes as a “big task.” He’s signed for the role, and “it looks like it’s now very close to production.”
Best Actress – Hilary Swank, Million Dollar Baby
Swank has acknowledged some middling choices after her first Oscar win for 1999’s Boys Don’t Cry. She did the costume weeper The Affair of the Necklace and the disaster flick The Core. “I realized how few and far between the great roles are,” she says.
She’s trading her Million Dollar Baby boxing gloves for satin ones: Her next role will be as a femme fatale wrapped up in a notorious 1940s murder mystery in Brian De Palma’s The Black Dahlia, from L.A. Confidential author James Ellroy. No release date has been set.
She also plays a South African attorney in the political drama Red Dust, on the festival rounds.
Best Actor – Jamie Foxx, Ray
He’ll next appear as a pilot trying to take down a bomber controlled by artificial intelligence in Stealth (July 29) and is shooting the Gulf War drama Jarhead, which is being positioned for next year’s awards consideration with its release Nov. 11.
After that, Foxx will take on the role of Detective Ricardo Tubbs in a movie version of the ’80s crime show Miami Vice. He promised it wouldn’t be a jokey remake ‡ la Starsky & Hutch.
He says he also is in talks to play the male lead in Dreamgirls, a film based on the musical about a Supremes-like trio. He’s also recording an R&B album for music mogul Clive Davis, publicist Alan Nierob says.
What’s next, after the gold rush