It was exciting to see fellow cast members cheer Best Actor Nominees Christian Bale (“The Big Short”) and Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”) at the 2016 Roger Neal Style Hollywood Oscar Viewing Party on Sunday at The Hollywood Museum, right across the street from where the Oscars take place in Hollywood, California. Along with 80+ celebrities on the red carpet, Margaret Smith (“Meet Me in St Louis”) was honored, and the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health was the official charity.
When we interviewed Vanessa Cloke (“The Big Short” and “The Walking Dead”), she complimented fellow cast member and Best Actor Nominee Christian Bale, who previously won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for “The Fighter.” Vanessa described their improv scenes with Christian, “We never knew what he was going to say, and Adam McKay (Director) was encouraging him to try different things….Obviously, Michael Burry is a serious person, and Christian was very much in character.”
James DuMont (“Trumbo”, “Jurassic World” and “Dallas Buyers Club”) was also cheering fellow cast member and Best Actor Nominee Bryan Cranston. James first did a great impression of his role who asks Dalton Trumbo in the film (played by Bryan), “Are you now or have you ever been a member of the Communist Party?” James then expanded, “I play J Parnell Thomas opposite Bryan Cranston, who earned his nomination for ‘Trumbo’. And I thought we’d get a little more love from The Academy, but that’s fine, Bryan did some amazing work, and I’m glad he got acknowledged.”
Margaret O’Brien was also on the red carpet with her daughter Mara Tolene Thorsen. She was honored with the ICON Award at this Oscar Viewing Party. Margaret played opposite Judy Garland in “Meet Me in St Louis” in 1944. The 17th Academy Awards ® (2016 was the 88th) honored Margaret with the Juvenile Award as the “outstanding child actress of 1944”. During the same year, 7-year-old Margaret O’Brien was one of the most popular child actresses starring in “The Canterville Ghost”, “Music for Millions” and “Meet Me in St Louis” with former Juvenile Award winner Judy Garland. Bob Hope hosted the Oscars that year, and dubbed the Juvenile Award the “Oscarette” when presenting her with a “miniature Oscar”.
On Sunday, Margaret O’Brien described her favorite part of “Meet Me in St Louis”, “Oh, I loved the dancing scene because I come from a dancing family so I loved doing the dance with Judy. I was a little apprehensive about singing, but she got me thru it.”
Shari Belafonte (Harry Belafonte’s daughter and “General Hospital”) shared her favorite movie is “Doctor Zhivago”. In 2014, Actor and Activist Harry Belafonte (“Sing Your Song”) received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award from The Academy for his decades of activism for social justice.
As an actor who is also making a difference, Shari showed us the diversity ribbon she created that many actors were wearing. She then expanded on the message, “I did these little diversity pins for folks just to keep in mind that there is an issue that needs to be addressed, but by and large, I don’t think it’s quite a black and white issue. My mother was Native American so I sort of feel why can’t I go for Native American parts? Why aren’t there more Indian parts? Why aren’t there more Hispanic and Latino parts? Why aren’t there more Asian parts? And while some people want to pin it right on the voting Academy, I think it really has to start with the written word and then go to the directors, producers and casting directors to really think outside the box.” Shari was most looking forward to seeing Chris Rock host the Oscars.
As activists, Jason Ritter (“Gravity Falls”) and Amy Yasbeck (John Ritter’s widow) described how Amy started the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health after John passed away in 2003. Amy expanded, “We realized the world doesn’t have enough information about this…and we just made friends with some of the most amazing thoracic aorta surgeons and researchers, and they were all very happy to help to put forth guidelines…From that, we pulled out the Ritter Rules, which are 10 very easily understandable rules about risk.” Jason Ritter added, “I’m here to support the foundation. It’s done a lot to raise awareness for aortic health, and I know it’s saved a lot of lives. Amy gets letters all the time.”
And then on a much lighter note, we closed our interviews with The Pointer Sisters (Anita and Bonnie), who broke into song with “I’m So Excited.” They were a very popular American R&B group during the 1970s and 1980s, and had everyone dancing to their hits on the red carpet. You can watch our Red Carpet Recap with The Pointer Sisters singing in our VIDEO: Oscars 2016 Red Carpet with The Pointer Sisters Excited at The Hollywood Museum.
© Liz H Kelly @LizHKelly, National Digital Entertainment Columnist