Newcomers hitting it big during awards season may get the lion’s share of the recognition, but the sentimental favorite of this year’s Golden Globe nominations has to be several actors who had been largely off the radar screen for decades: Gloria Stuart, Peter Fonda and Pam Grier.
For Grier, who exploded onto the bigscreen in the mid-1970s playing strong, smart female action leads in films such as the first “Foxy Brown,” “Coffy” and “Sheba Baby,” the Golden Globe nomination (for actress in a comedy or musical) says that her dedication to the art of acting has paid off.
“It lets everyone know you matter, you count and you’re going to be around,” Grier told Daily Variety. “That’s an important message about who we are in life.”
Grier, who lives in Colorado, had to fly to L.A. for movie auditions and met “Jackie Brown” director Quentin Tarantino when she read for “Pulp Fiction.” Tarantino, a fan of Grier’s early movies, promised to write a script with a good part for her.
Grier wasn’t so sure Tarantino would call again, but two years later he sent her “Jackie Brown.”
“The fact that he would invest two years of his life to write something for me — I didn’t believe it,” said Grier, who stars in the movie with Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Bridget Fonda and Michael Keaton.
Also boosted into the limelight by the Globe noms was Peter Fonda, who last enjoyed real fame as the original hippie in “Easy Rider,” which he co-scripted. This time he’s in the running for best actor in a drama for his role in “Ulee’s Gold.”
“I’m 57, and here comes a whole new career for me,” Fonda said. “Ulee was the role of a lifetime — I’ll be a very lucky actor if I get a role again as well-conceived and well-written as that.”
But kudos for biggest comeback of them all has to go to Gloria Stuart, largely out of sight for more than 50 years, since her role in the 1933 film of H.G. Wells’ novel “The Invisible Man,” where she co-starred with Claude Rains.
Stuart received a supporting actress nomination for “Titanic,” alongside the noms for Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet (actor and actress in a drama.)
“Titanic” helmer James Cameron, nominated for director and screenplay awards, said Stuart’s performance kept “Titanic” afloat during the relative quiet of the first segment of the film. “I’m thrilled for Kate and Leonardo, but I’m most thrilled for Gloria,” Cameron said.
” ‘Titanic’ is a Jim Cameron movie where nothing happens for the first half-hour,” Cameron said. “But what was happening was Gloria and the chemistry with Bill Paxton.
“She totally holds the center of the film and holds the unconventional structure together,” he added. “It’s a thing that no one could have predicted before seeing the film.”