“It’s the best thing she’s ever done,” insists one Oscar voter after viewing Glenn Close’s performance in “The Wife” at a private screening recently cohosted by Martha Stewart in East Hampton, New York. “She’s got my vote.”
The screening generated significant academy buzz for the overdue star on the eve of the movie’s national release by Sony Pictures Classics on Aug. 17.
“Glenn Close perfectly expressed the whole spectrum” of emotions in her role as a woman who has ghostwritten for her famous literary husband and stayed in the shadows, according to best-selling author and fashion journalist Kate Betts. “Emotions from absolute devotion to absolute betrayal.”
“The Wife” is based upon a novel written 15 years ago by Meg Wolitzer, who was on hand for the screening. “The things that I was grappling with back in 2003 are eerily relevant to what men and women are going through today,” she declared, adding that she’s “very pleased” with the way the film turned out. And then, a bit giddy, she admitted, “It’s kind of cool when people ask ‘Who’s in your movie?’ and I get to say ‘Glenn Close.'”
Martha Stewart called the novel “phenomenal” and was pleased for Close, whom she described as a “neighbor and a good friend.”
The new film adaptation “resonates with what’s happening today,” according to screening coordinator Peggy Siegal. “It’s the perfect ‘#MeToo’ film.”
That could be Oscar bait for older voters as well as the newer, younger contingent, many nominating and casting ballots for the first time.
Attendees at the screening gave the film a warm round of applause during the closing credits. But not everyone was convinced. “There’s no real drama and the characters are unbelievable,” cracked one older male academy voter. “Close’s character has regret and bitterness, but it’s totally self inflicted.” He also called the verbal sparring and collaboration scenes between Close and on screen husband Jonathan Pryce “all surface nonsense.” Sentiment like that will not help the film or the screenplay gather Oscar buzz, but Close looks like a solid candidate.
Close is so absurdly overdue to win an Oscar that she holds the unfortunate record of being tied with Deborah Kerr and Thelma Ritter as the biggest loser among actresses ever. Her six defeats include three in the lead race (“Albert Nobbs,” 2011; “Dangerous Liaisons,” 1988; “Fatal Attraction,” 1987) and three in supporting (“The Natural,” 1984; “The Big Chill,” 1983; “The World According to Garp,” 1982).
Close has been a good sport about the oversight, frequently joking, “I’ve often been mistaken for Meryl Streep, although never on Oscar night.”
Photo: Glenn Close and Jonathan Price in “The Wife” (Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics)