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Grandma – Lily Tomlin Oscar Vehicle?

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  • Gone_Guy
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    #178850

    It’s super early in the season, but I just stumbled upon some great mentions for Lily Tomlin in Grandma.

    Before I post, I thought I would dive into her awards history. 

    Tomlin is an Oscar away from hitting EGOT. She won a Grammy in 1972 for Best Comedy Album (“This is a Recording”), making history as the first woman to win this category. She would later be joined by two other women winning this category, Whoopi Goldberg in 1986 and Kathy Griffin in 2014. Tomlin has won six Primetime Emmys (specials, writing, etc. but never acting) plus one Daytime Emmy (Voice-Over for The Magic School Bus). She has two Tony Awards, a Special Award in 1977 and a win for Best Actress in a Play in 1986 (The Search for Signs for Intelligent Life in the Universe). She has been nominated for two BAFTAs, five Golden Globes (not counting an Ensemble win for Short Cuts), and three SAG Awards (all for The West Wing, two Ensemble and one Individual). 

    Tomlin has been nominated for an Oscar once in her career. It was for her debut film performance for 1975’s Robert Altman drama, Nashville. She lost to Lee Grant for Shampoo. For Nashville, she also received two Golden Globe nominations, for both Supporting Actress (losing to Brenda Vaccaro for Once is Not Enough) and Female Acting Debut in a Film (losing to Marilyn Hassett for The Other Side of the Mountain). At BAFTA, she was nominated for Most Promising Newcomer (losing to Valerie Perrine for Lenny). Tomlin won for her role in Supporting Actress at both NSFC and the NYFCC.

    By the time of the Academy Awards ceremony next year, Tomlin will be 76-years-old, making her the fifth oldest Oscar nominee in Lead Actress behind Emmanuelle Riva for Amour (age 85), Jessica Tandy for Driving Miss Daisy (age 80 + 252 days), Edith Evans for The Whisperers (age 80 + 11 days), and Dame Judi Dench for Philomena (age 79). If Tomlin won, she would be the second oldest winner in the category, behind Tandy, and ahead of Katharine Hepburn for On Golden Pond (age 74).   

    Should Tomlin get the nomination for Grandma, it will mark her second Oscar nomination for an Oscar an exact 40 years later from her first.  

    ‘Grandma’: Sundance
    Review

    3:46 PM PST 1/26/2015 by David Rooney

    Paul Weitz casts Lily Tomlin as a misanthropic poet on an embattled quest to
    help her granddaughter in this warm, character-driven comedy-drama.

    Lily Tomlin pretty much stole all her scenes as Tina Fey‘s
    acerbic radical feminist mother in the otherwise patchy Admission, and
    it appears that director Paul Weitz thought so, too, as he’s
    hand-tailored her a honey of a role in Grandma. Playing an ill-tempered
    lesbian on an all-day odyssey to raise the money her granddaughter needs for an
    abortion, Tomlin is in her glorious element. It doesn’t hurt that there are
    numerous other expertly gauged performances to savor, plus a bundle of heart,
    in this small-scale but consistently funny and poignant comedy-drama.

    While it’s very much Tomlin’s show, the movie is actually about three
    generations of women — the forces that shape and scar them, the thorny
    histories and divergent life choices that distance them, the lessons they
    absorb or ignore and the ties among them that weaken but seldom break.


    And though the termination of a pregnancy is what drives the plot, that
    sorrowful step is treated with the gravity it warrants in a story that’s also
    about the many imperfect paths of motherhood. Grandma is not as
    self-congratulatory and in-your-face as the recent Obvious Child about
    its evolved position on abortion as a regrettable but necessary option in many
    young women’s lives. But there’s admirable frankness, intelligence and
    sensitivity here. Additionally, the film is a thoughtful, funny reflection on
    the gains and losses of growing old.


    A once-celebrated poet now barely scraping by on the academic beat, Elle
    (Tomlin) is introduced refusing to soften the breakup with Olivia (Judy
    Greer
    ), her younger girlfriend of the past four months. “You’re a
    footnote,” she tells Olivia — it’s dismissive but also sadly true, given
    Elle’s still-fresh grief over her 38-year partner Violet’s death a year and a
    half earlier.


    While Elle is sitting around getting maudlin about the past, her granddaughter
    Sage (Julia Garner), a high school senior, rolls up to her Los Feliz
    house and drops the bomb that she’s pregnant. Unwilling to tell her bossy
    mother, whose relationship with Elle is strained to say the least, Sage has
    scheduled an abortion for that afternoon and needs $600 to pay for it.

    The film makes a sweet joke about lesbians and their wind chimes by having
    Elle’s made out of the pieces of her cut-up credit cards. Her strapped
    financial state means she has to call in favors to raise the cash, and her sour
    nature means there are few friends to whom she can turn. Even when bridges
    haven’t been burned, like with transgender tattooist Deathy (Laverne Cox),
    the latter’s economic pinch limits how much she can help out.


    There are some hilarious early opportunities for Elle to vent her foul-mouthed
    irascibility and zero tolerance for “assholes,” notably with an
    uptight barista (John Cho) in a coffee shop that was formerly a free
    women’s health center, and at a cafe where she tries to sell some first
    editions to the flinty owner (the late Elizabeth Pena in one of her
    final roles). Sage stands by dumbstruck while Grandma hurls invective, and
    though the girl is no dummy, she does think The Feminine Mystique is an X-Men
    character, amusingly underlining the canyon-wide generation gap.


    An attempt to pressure the baby’s deadbeat father, Cam (Nat Wolff),
    yields minimal gains, but it does serve for Elle to sort him out with an ice
    hockey stick and score a bag of weed that comes in handy later.


    Where the film really kicks in and gains emotional weight, however, is in a
    beautiful scene with Karl (Sam Elliott, just perfection), a mellow old
    romantic with four ex-wives and a tribe of grandchildren, who hasn’t seen Elle
    in 30 years. He agrees to lend her the money, but their painful unresolved
    history gets in the way before the deal is done.


    As their trail of frustration continues against a ticking clock, it becomes
    clear that taking the dilemma to Sage’s mother, Judy (Marcia Gay Harden),
    is their best option. A power lawyer with a trembling assistant (Mo
    Aboul-Zelof
    ), Judy is a fire-breathing chip off the old block, and the
    marvelous Harden nails her every brilliant barb, as well as the whole frazzled
    history with her mother. But as Sage’s appointment draws nearer, with other
    setbacks, second thoughts and fears along the way, the three women reach a
    tentative mutual understanding.


    Not every scene benefits from flawless timing, especially early on, and Weitz
    arguably pushes the sentiment buttons by indicating more often than is
    necessary the specter of the much-mourned Violet hanging in the air. The sappy
    string score could also have been improved upon. But this is a refreshingly
    modest, no-frills movie that is character-driven in the most rewarding possible
    sense, with an ample share of priceless dialogue played for truth, not for
    jokes. The performances are lovely, including that of up-and-comer Garner, who
    has many touching moments as Sage alternates between recoiling from and
    reaching for her mother and grandmother.


    However, everything in the movie revolves around the irreplaceable Tomlin, and
    rightly so. Her entire history as an actor, a comedian, a feminist and a
    pioneering voice for LGBT rights comes into play in this formfitting role.
    Anybody who loves her — and if you don’t, why are you even reading? — won’t
    want to miss this.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/lily-tomlin-grandma-sundance-review-767349

     

    Sundance: ‘Grandma’
    Sells to Sony Classics (Exclusive)



    Sony Classics has closed a deal for worldwide rights to the road trip
    comedy Grandma.

    Sources peg the deal at more than $2 million for
    the Lily Tomlin-led film,
    which earned consistently high praise at the fest. The film is Sundance’s
    closer, but played very well to press and industry Monday.

    Grandma follows a grandmother and her granddaughter on a daylong
    journey as hidden secrets are revealed and past memories are divulged in a long
    and intimate car ride.

    Julia Garner, Marcia Gay Harden, Judy
    Greer, Laverne Cox and Sam Elliott also star in the
    film, which was directed, written and co-produced by Paul Weitz.

    Stephanie Meurer, Dan Balgoyen and Danielle Renfrew Behrens executive produced.
    Producers are Weitz, Andrew Miano,
    Paris Latsis and Terry Dougas. Attorney Alex Kohner, of Morris Yorn Barnes
    Levine, negotiated the deal on behalf of the filmmakers.

    In his review, THR film critic David Rooney called the film a
    “small-scale but consistently funny and poignant comedy-drama,”
    adding that “Tomlin is in her glorious element.”

    WME Global repped the filmmakers.

    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/sundance-grandma-sells-sony-classics-765872

    Sundance 2015: Lily Tomlin has an easy ride steering
    ‘Grandma’



    There is no official award for being a national
    treasure, so recently Lily Tomlin had to settle for a Kennedy Center Honor.

    At 75, Tomlin continues to break new ground in her career. When the film
    “Grandma” premieres Friday, it will mark her first appearance at the
    Sundance Film Festival and her first leading role in a movie in nearly three
    decades. “Grandma,” written and directed by Paul Weitz, was picked up
    for distribution by Sony Pictures Classics in the days ahead of its premiere.

    Known for her coterie of outsized yet insightful characters such as Ernestine
    the telephone operator or the philosophical 5-and-a-half-year-old Edith Ann,
    Tomlin is a Grammy, Emmy and Tony winner and received an Academy Award
    nomination for her first film role in Robert Altman’s 1975
    “Nashville.” Recently in the New Yorker, Hilton Als celebrated Tomlin
    for “making individual audience members feel as though she were playing
    just to them, humor as a way of making us feel inside rather than outside
    life.”

    Yet for her role in “Grandma,” this queen of transformation wears her
    own clothes and even drives her own car, a 1955 Dodge Royal Lancer she has
    owned since 1975.

    “I think it’s a lot like me. It’s the least I efforted to do
    something,” said Tomlin of the role. “Usually people get me because
    they think I’ll make a character. And I just left it like it was, natural and
    easy.”

    Tomlin plays Elle Reid, a noted feminist poet who is still reeling from the
    death of her longtime partner Violet and is in the process of breaking up with
    a recent much younger girlfriend. (“You’re a footnote,” she says by
    way of acid dismissal.) Her teenage granddaughter Sage (Julia Garner) arrives
    at her door early one morning needing money for an abortion. Broke herself,
    Elle takes the girl on an extended journey around L.A. to try to hustle up some
    money, in the process revisiting old friends and rattling a few long-dormant
    skeletons.

    Long passages of the film are Tomlin and Garner in the car talking about Elle’s
    past and Sage’s future. The film has a knockout supporting cast that includes
    Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer, Laverne Cox, John Cho, Nat Wolff and Elizabeth
    Peña. As a former flame and last resort, Sam Elliott makes a powerful turn in a
    single, extended sequence. Throughout, the film swings from light to dark,
    breezy to serious, with unusual ease.

    “For me it’s a drama, driven by a character with a really good sense of
    humor,” said Weitz. “It’s really Lily’s character that brings the
    comedy. She’s the kind of person who will confront the guy who knocked up her
    granddaughter and not have the good sense to let that conversation happen
    without her.”

    The pair showed their easy chemistry while sitting for a recent interview
    together in Los Angeles just ahead of Sundance. Tomlin and Weitz initially met
    when she was cast as Tina Fey’s mother in 2013’s “Admission.” Meeting
    her inspired him to revisit a long-percolating story idea.

    “After meeting Lily, the voice and the character really clicked,”
    said Weitz, of the story he never quite finished before meeting Tomlin. “I
    had thought about it for years, so I had a lot of it worked out in my head, and
    then I just went to a coffee shop and wrote it longhand. What I didn’t do was
    call up Lily and say, ‘I have something I want to write for you.'”

    For Tomlin, this is her first leading role in a film since “Big
    Business,” co-starring Bette Midler, in 1988. Tomlin has appeared steadily
    in movies and television, appearing most frequently as part of an ensemble, yet
    she had no reservations in stepping back into a lead role.

    “I know I’m putting myself on the line, kind of. But I trusted Paul, and I
    liked the material,” she said. “First of all, he had written it with
    me in mind, and he wanted me. Then as we worked through the material, it just
    seemed like a good thing to do.”

    Though Weitz has been involved with bigger budget movies such as “About a
    Boy” and “Little Fockers,” for “Grandma” he drew
    inspiration from lower-budget films such as Ira Sachs’ “Leave the Lights
    On,” Sean Baker’s “Starlet” and Joachim Trier’s “Oslo,
    August 31.” Working in locations around Los Angeles in the spring of last
    year, the film was shot in just 19 days.

    “Part of the impetus here was to be completely pure,” said Weitz,
    “just to try to make the version that was really exciting. I didn’t want
    to make a single decision based upon anything other than what the actors and I
    wanted. And that’s what I was able to do.”

    “Grandma” had screened for press here earlier this week and was
    warmly received. Calling the film “a nimble balance between the poignant
    and the ribald,” critic Scott Foundas also compared Tomlin’s role in
    “Grandma” to that of Michael Keaton in “Birdman” for the
    way in which Tomlin’s own personality and persona seem to inform the
    performance.

    In the Hollywood Reporter, critic David Rooney noted, “Her entire history
    as an actor, comedian, a feminist and a pioneering voice for LGBT rights comes
    into play in this form fitting role.”

    Weitz acknowledged the ways in which he tailored the role to Tomlin when he
    said, “I felt like not only did I want to see more of her, but wanted to
    also apply some of her intelligence and insight to a character that was really
    demanding it.


    “I think part of what made it work was my eagerness to be informed by what
    Lily had to say about things, as opposed to, ‘This is the script.’ Clearly
    there are large swaths of this I know less about than Lily,” Weitz added.

    “I’ve always worked that way,” added Tomlin of making suggestions to
    the script and on set. “I always speak up in any role I’ve had. Not that
    they necessarily listen to you. So if I had experience with a subject or an
    issue or a moment, I tried to tell him what happened. And knowing that he might
    utilize that in what he expected of me.”

    Only a few hours after wrapping shooting on “Grandma,” Tomlin was
    onstage in Northridge with her one-woman show. She’ll be leaving Sundance to go
    directly to another stage engagement, one of about 30 or 40 she has booked for
    the year. There’s also an upcoming Netflix series, “Grace and
    Frankie,” which reteams Tomlin with her “9 to 5” co-star Jane
    Fonda.

    For this master of many characters, stepping out to reveal a little of herself
    proved less difficult than she might have expected. “I don’t think of
    myself as Elle. I just felt like Elle was natural for me. I liked it. It was
    relatively easy to do,” Tomlin said of finally playing a character similar
    to herself. “It’s about time after all these years.”

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-sundance-lily-tomlin-20150129-story.html#page=1

    Reply
    Anonymous
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    #178852

    Saoirse Ronan in “Brooklyn” is more like an early contender in my opinion!

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    Cheshire
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    #178853

    She does have the narrative of “verteran actor who has never won before and now is overdue”, Sony Classics is a Oscar friendly studio, however I find it lately that it’s more common for men then women to have this narrative work in their favour now a days. I think the last veteran actress that had this narrative and won was Helen Mirren for The Queen.

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    babypook
    Participant
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    #178854

    “Tomlin has been nominated for an Oscar once in her career. It was for her debut film performance for 1975’s Robert Altman drama, Nashville. She lost to Lee Grant for Shampoo. For Nashville, she also received two Golden Globe nominations, for both Supporting Actress (losing to Brenda Vaccaro for Once is Not Enough) and Female Acting Debut in a Film (losing to Marilyn Hassett for The Other Side of the Mountain). At BAFTA, she was nominated for Most Promising Newcomer (losing to Valerie Perrine for Lenny). Tomlin won for her role in Supporting Actress at both NSFC and the NYFCC.”

     

    I hope this does Tomlin right. I adore this woman and have seen pretty much every movie she’s ever made. Nashville, such a divisive film, is one of my all-time favorite films. There’s nothing about it I can or want to criticize. And Tomlin, stands out from an already stacked and terrific cast.

    Seeing as how Brenda missed for Midnight Cowboy, I dont begrudge her  this win. Her husky voice alone is worthy.

    I saw The Other Side of the Mountain when I was a kid, and I hated it. I remember making fun of this movie for a very very long time. I remember the adults around me saying how “sad” it was, how “heartbreaking”. Uh huh. Watch at your own peril.

    Perrine is sensational in Lenny; as is Dustin Hoffman. Bleak, but very worthy of a look. Lea Grant is also fabulous in Shampoo. Hers is a perf which became better with each viewing.

    Weitz has made several films that are full of great, Oscary moments, including humour,  in which  Tomlin excels. She can do anything.

    You go, Grandma!

     

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    KyleBailey
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    #178855

    It would be lovely to see her get this. With Grace and Frankie this year too, it’s going to be a huge year for her. 

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    CAROL-CHANNING
    Member
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    #178856

    The thought of Tomlin being a frontrunner for next year makes me weep with joy…

    She definitely has David O. Russell’s vote!  

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    harposboy
    Member
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    Apr 28th, 2013
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    #178857

    I’m dieing to see the movie, and hope it and Tomlin are great.

    And Tomlin would be a very worthy EGOT winner, as a writer, producer and performer. “This Is A Recording” is much older than I am and it’s still an hilarious album. I would have given her the oscar for Nashville (but then again again, I would have filled all 5 supporting actress slots that year with Nashville women, so I’m biased!).

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    FilmGuy619
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    #178858

    Now, that I think about it, she could be a possible contender to not only nominated, but possibly win. Here is why:

    First nomination in 40 years (veteran status)
    “Grace and Frankie” TV series to keep her fresh in voters minds
    Sony Pictures Classics behind it (possible three-peat)
    Juicy role (foul-mouthed lesbian poet)

    It could be Lily Tomlin’s turn to win. Some of the other contenders, like Cate Blanchett and Jennifer Lawrence, have already won and others like Carey Mulligan and Saoirse Ronan have plenty of acting years left. 
     

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    KyleBailey
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    #178859

    I can see them now milking the whole “40 years” gap between nominations. I really can’t wait to see this. I hope it does well! 

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    M
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    #178860

    She does have the narrative of “verteran actor who has never won before and now is overdue”, Sony Classics is a Oscar friendly studio, however I find it lately that it’s more common for men then women to have this narrative work in their favour now a days. I think the last veteran actress that had this narrative and won was Helen Mirren for The Queen.

    Julianne Moore Still Alice.

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    Halo_Insider
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    #178861

    [quote=”TinoPecchia”]She does have the narrative of “verteran actor who has never won before and now is overdue”, Sony Classics is a Oscar friendly studio, however I find it lately that it’s more common for men then women to have this narrative work in their favour now a days. I think the last veteran actress that had this narrative and won was Helen Mirren for The Queen.

    Julianne Moore Still Alice.[/quote]

    And Still Allice was also distributed by Sony Picture Classics!

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    Cheshire
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    #178862

    [quote=”TinoPecchia”]She does have the narrative of “verteran actor who has never won before and now is overdue”, Sony Classics is a Oscar friendly studio, however I find it lately that it’s more common for men then women to have this narrative work in their favour now a days. I think the last veteran actress that had this narrative and won was Helen Mirren for The Queen.

    Julianne Moore Still Alice.[/quote]

    My statement was written before Julianne Moore won and I feel Julianne isn’t a veteran like how Lily is a veteran, years in the business I mean. Julianne’s first movie came out in the 90’s (early) and Lily’s first nomination was in the 70’s (mid).

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    M
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    #178863

    My statement was written before Julianne Moore won and I feel Julianne isn’t a veteran like how Lily is a veteran, years in the business I mean. Julianne’s first movie came out in the 90’s (early) and Lily’s first nomination was in the 70’s (mid).

    Your initial post holds true. However a fifty plus actress with four previous nominations over the span of two decades qualifies as a veteran.

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    CAROL-CHANNING
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    #178864

    As much as I want Tomlin to be the winner of the year, I just checked out the clip of the movie that’s online…  It’s pretty bad 

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    24Emmy
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    #178865

    Lily Tomlin Lovefest Kicks Off Los Angeles Film Festival with ‘Grandma’

    Amanda Edwards/WireImage
      
    June 11, 2015 | 11:33AM PT

    Dave McNary
    Film Reporter

    “I love Lily Tomlin,” declared Julia Garner, who plays her granddaughter in the Los Angeles Film Festival opening night film “Grandma.”

    Tomlin received the fest’s Spirit of Independence trophy Wednesday at the Regal Cinemas L.A. Live. She discussed her far-ranging five-decade career with festival programmer Elvis Mitchell, covering Richard Pryor (“He took me to a porno movie; it wasn’t very good”), Robert Altman (“He would get stoned at night and be riding the crane at 5 am the next morning’”) and Woody Allen.

    Tomlin recalled that she had thought, “they’re such a cute couple” of Allen and then-wife Mia Farrow on the set of 1992’s “Shadows and Fog,” shortly before their acrimonious break-up. Tomlin played a prostitute in the film.

    In “Grandma,” Tomlin plays a tough-talking grandmother dealing with finding funds for her granddaughter’s abortion. The story of three generations is “a great story,” she said. The film premiered at Sundance and will be released Aug. 21 from Sony Classics.

    Director Paul Weitz introduced the screening by noting how he had persuaded Tomlin to do the film, shot in three weeks for under $600,000: “I had worked with Lily on ‘Admission’ so I figured if I made a film with her in every scene, I could hang out with her.”

    Weitz kept costs down by shooting the entire film in Los Angeles and Barstow. “We shot a lot of the movie in my offices in Venice,” he added. “It’s a very L.A. kind of story. And shooting here gave me access to a far better range of actors.”

    Sam Elliott, who plays a former lover of Tomlin’s character, noted his 10 minutes on screen was shot briskly. “We shot 11 pages in 2 days and it was very intense because of all their history.”

    Tomlin, whose Netflix series “Grace and Frankie” was recently renewed, asserts that she’s not slowing down at age 75.

    “I’m catching a plane tomorrow morning to go perform in Wisconsin,” she said. “I love performing wherever I can.”

     (Pictured: Julia Garner, Lily Tomlin, Marcia Gay Harden and director Paul Weitz at the L.A. Film Festival opening night premiere of “Grandma”)

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