The only way the four Academy Awards winners for acting will be back at next year’s Oscars will be as presenters. None of them is slated to appear in any release this year that is likely to net them a nomination.
The infanticipating Natalie Portman plans to enjoy motherhood for the foreseeable future. However, she does have three films in the can. Next month, she and Oscars co-host James Franco headline the cast of the fantasy comedy “Your Highness” (photo, left). Helmed by David Gordon Green (“Pineapple Express”) this medieval romp pits the pair against each other in a quest for a kingdom. In May, Portman plays the love interest in “Thor.” This comic book adaptation stars newcomer Chris Hemsworth in the title role and was directed by Kenneth Branagh. And “Hesher,” an indie which debuted at Sundance last year and features Portman in a supporting role as a supportive friend to a motherless boy, is still lining up a release date.
Colin Firth has finished filming a remake of “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy.” He plays a British secret agent suspected of being a Soviet double agent. This summer, he is slated to shoot the mystery “Stoker,” playing Nicole Kidman‘s brother whose arrival coincides with the unexplained departure of certain townfolk. South Korean helmer Park Chan-Wook is making his English-language debut with this one. And Firth is in talks to appear in as the conman first played by Michael Caine in a remake of the 1966 action comedy “Gambit” to be helmed by the Coen brothers.
Melissa Leo shuttled back and forth to the New Orleans set of “Treme” during her tireless campaigning this season. The HBO drama is set to return for a second season in the spring with Leo playing a crusading civil rights lawyer. She also features in a string of indies this year including Kevin Smith‘s horror flick “Red State” and “Seven Days in Utopia.”
Christian Bale spent much of this awards season flying to and from China where he was lensing the war drama “The 13 Women of Nanjing.” He plays a priest who risks his own life to save a group of women threatened during the Japanese invasion in 1937. The epic film, due out next year, is helmed by the acclaimed Yimou Zhang (“Curse of the Golden Flower”). And this summer, Bale is set to reprise his dual role as Bruce Wayne and Batman for writer/director Christopher Nolan in “The Dark Knight Rises.” Oscars co-host Anne Hathaway is on board in another dual role as Selina Kyle and Catwoman.