By Hedy Weiss
THE ACTORS' SPEECH
I confess: I'm a theater snob. And for years I took pride in the way almost everyone on the Tony Awards, from actors to designers, seemed more articulate, intelligent and poised (whether as a presenter or an award-winner) than those "Hollywood types" on the Academy Awards. With only rare exceptions, the movie crowd seemed at a loss when it came to speaking "the King's speech," or even walking across a large stage. And the whole sense of what you need to do when standing in front of a live audience (don't blame the Teleprompters) seemed to knock them cold.
But things have changed lately. Hollywood stars are now the first recruits for Broadway shows, and the Tonys are showing the negative effects. Meanwhile, this year's crop of nominees for the acting Oscars is a pretty impressive bunch, and a great many of them have serious stage credits.
The leading actor category is a case in point, with Daniel Day-Lewis, Hugh Jackman, Bradley Cooper and Denzel Washington all with plenty of theater "cred." Among the leading women, Juilliard-trained Jessica Chastain just made her Broadway debut in "The Heiress" and Emmannuelle Riva began her career on the Paris stage. Quvenzhané Wallis is still in grammar school, so she will be adorable no matter what she does.