Update Jan. 28: Julie Christie has just won the Screen Actors Guild Award for Best Actress for her role in Away From Her last night in L.A. Congratulations again!
Update Jan. 22: Julie Christie has just been nominated for a Best Actress Oscar for her role in Away From Her, and Sarah Polley for Best Adapted Screenplay. Sarah: Dreams do come true! For a full list of Oscar Nominees, click here.
A glamourless Globe for Best Actress (Drama) went to Julie Christie, how fitting! A no-nonsense recognition for some no-nonsense acting for her role as Alzheimer sufferer Fiona in Sarah Polley’s Away From Her.
Once described by Al Pacino as “the most poetic of all actresses” Julie Christie’s movies have been cinematic icons of an era: Darling (1965), Doctor Zhivago (1966), Fahrenheit 451 (1966), Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), The Go-Between (1970)…Yet, at 66, she has downplayed her achievement and shunned the attraction of fame and celebrity.
Christie has long avoided the glitz and glamour of stardom, appearing in only a selectively few films, evading the limelight that could have been hers. In an interview with the New York Times last year at the release of Away From Her, she was asked about her name as a legend. Christie responded: “I have no connection with that person at all…that person has gone.”
The British actress could have it all, if she had embraced such a life, but she chose to devote her time and passion to social activism and political causes. Living almost reclusively away from the public eye for the past decades, Julie Christie just might not show up at the Golden Globe ceremony even if there were one.
…but then, she probably would though, for her young Canadian friend Sarah Polley. Christie wouldn’t want to miss the chance of bringing honor to Polley’s directorial debut, having met her while filming No Such Thing (2000) together.
Polley wrote the screenplay Away From Her, based on Alice Munro’s short story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain”. As she was writing, she had in mind Julie Christie and Canadian veteran actor Gordon Pinsent playing Fiona and Grant. At first, expectedly, Christie turned her down. But finally, Polley’s persistence over the years paid off. At 28, Polley was inspired enough to pull together two veterans in their 60’s and 70’s to make a film about old age, love, loss, and Alzheimer.
Sarah Polley once said about Away From Her in an interview:
“I don’t’ think that there’s any chance that I would get nominated. I mean I really hope that the actors have a shot at it …it would be such a dream come true if they were acknowledged…”
In a recent interview with The Toronto Globe and Mail, Polley felt ‘strange’ and ‘surreal’ about the recognition the $4.5 million production has received.
Of course she was delighted with Christie’s win, she also added:
“If there’s any note of reluctance on my part – of not enjoying all of this fully – is that Gordon’s performance is also stunning … and I just don’t want his work in the film to be undervalued.”
Ooh…it’s satisfying seeing the humble exalted…To both Julie Christie and Sarah Polley, Congratulations! I hope to see more nominations and awards coming your way at the Oscars.