And the 84th Academy Awards nominees for Best Actor and Actress in a Leading Role are…
Best Actress: Glenn Close (Albert Nobbs), Viola Davis (The Help), Rooney Mara (The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo), Meryl Streep (The Iron Lady), Michelle Williams (My Week With Marilyn)
Best Actor: Demian Bichir (A Better Life), George Clooney (The Descendants), Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Gary Oldman (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), Brad Pitt (Moneyball)
And the obvious question is: who would be the least fun to meet for coffee? That's right, we said, "the least", not the "most" which would undoubtedly be the infinitely charming Gary Oldman. Oh the stories of deliciously wacky or riveting dramatic roles he could tell. Plus, we've already watched him delight film premiere audiences. And we'd miss the chance to mine the memories of the magnificent Meryl Streep. Crossing a nominee off our caffeinated tete a tete list, seems far trickier than adding to it.
Is Jean Dujardin fluent in English? Parlezing francais might limit the conversation. Though he's French so he must be a gifted mime (isn't miming part of their elementary school curriculum)? We would relish practicing our high school French skills, "Excusez moi, Jean, ou est le toilet?" He's also endearingly humble, so much so that he told W Magazine he nearly fainted when, Robert De Niro presented him with the Best Actor award at the Cannes Film Festival. And of course there's his enchanting performance as a silent film star in The Artist, and everything he learned time traveling back to the days of wordless acting. We'd surely adore parlezing with Monsieur Dujardin. Michelle Williams has quite a body of work to intrigue most film fans (men especially). In fact, every male barista and waiter in the café would likely clamor to bask in her presence, when they weren't ogling from afar. Her alluring Marilyn makeover alone would provide ample banter for a latte or two. Plus any anecdotes she might share about her gone-to-soon beau Heath Ledger. Viola Davis… Doubt, The Help, a Tony Award, a conversation with her would be undoubtedly captivating.
Clooney's too charming to pass up, Rooney Mara, has too much to tell about her Girl With the Dragon Tattoo transformation. Brad Pitt? His resume overfloweth with award-winning films that would make for stimulating coffee talk, as well as his philanthropic adventures abroad. Glenn Close… would she arrive at the café in character, as Albert Nobbs? If so she's a definite no. As brilliant as her lady-looks-like-a-dude was we still find her pastey faced Nobbs unsettling. If she's coming as herself we'd love to hear her dish about her evolution from 21st-century actress to 19th-century Irishman. Then there's Demian Bichir… What else has he done? That we've heard of… Che? Both parts? As Castro?
(Sigh) it's a tough call. Truly we're sure they'd all be great fun to slurp an espresso with, but if we had to skip one, we'd have to go with Bichir. Simply because we're the least familiar with his work, except for Che which we fear he might want to discuss. And we all (Soderbergh included) have had more than enough Che.