“Lets get this party started!”
That’s how Jennifer Aniston welcomed the crowd filling the Arclight Hollywood’s Theatre 10 on Wednesday night in Los Angeles.
The occasion: the U.S. premiere of the Aniston-led drama about chronic pain, “Cake.”
Just 10 hours before Oscar nominations are released on Thursday morning, the premiere fell during a few days of awards purgatory for the Best Actress contender, after Julianne Moore won for “Still Alice” in Sunday night’s Golden Globes telecast and four months after “Cake” premiered at the Toronto Film Festival, kickstarting the buzz machine.
After earning Critics Choice and SAG nominations as well this season, I asked Aniston if she planned to watch the Oscar nominations early Thursday after Wednesday night’s premiere and party, or just sleep through it and wake up to a binary result on her phone.
“I just put my phone on,” she told me of her nomination morning routine this season. “I usually have my ringer off … I’m told I’m not allowed to do that. My ringer will be on … so (you), don’t call me,” Aniston said before the screening, amidst screams from the crowd that had filled the Arclight plaza and hung over the second floor terrace to get a glimpse.
Amongst the “Cake” team of Aniston’s producing partner Kristin Hahn, Cinelou Films producers Mark Canton and Courtney Solomon, and husbands director/producer duo Dan and Ben Barnz, the mood was similarly optimistic.
“I hope I get an early call for sure,” Hahn said.
“We are going to leave our phone on and hope for great news,” producer Barnz said. “I can’t imagine we are actually going to be asleep,” director Barnz added.
“I’m waking up early,” Canton said. “I may not even go to sleep. I’m doing the right dance and the right chants,” the producer added.
Hahn called the experience of working with Canton, who is used to mega budgets having run both Warner Bros. and served as Chairman of Sony’s Columbia Pictures, “the funniest man in the business.” His email responses are usually one word, like a Canton haiku.”
Canton just finished Cinelou’s next morph of a comedic actor in a dramatic role: Eddie Murphy in“Cook”. (“Really it’s the original formula of Miramax,” Canton contends. “Great screenplays with high-end talent, within a price range.”)
But back to the drama that screened on Wednesday night.
“I just want to say thank you to (director) Daniel Barnz for trusting that I could do this and giving me a shot,” Aniston said in the pre-screening introductions. “I will forever be grateful to you.”
With the release timed to the additional publicity, Hahn parsed the theatrical release from the awards campaign. “Nobody’s overly attached to what happens tomorrow, but I think she deserves it,” Hahn told me on the carpet.
“Jen has a very healthy attitude about these things,” Hahn continued. “She’s been in the business a long time; made a lot of movies, has been through ups and downs, as you know. The stories run the gamut for her. So she is a very level-headed person, and I think she’ll sleep tonight.”
The rated-R drama opens next Friday, January 23.
UPDATE, Thursday, January 15: The Academy did not nominate Aniston for “Best Actress”.