'Wonder Boys,' 'Traffic'

While most will remember Michael Douglas’ Best Actor win in 1988 for “Wall Street,” he has actually won two Academy Awards: the other for producing the Best Picture of 1976, “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

Drawing on experience in both capacities, Douglas insists it is essentially easy to perform in films, as long as they start out in the right place.

“I always look at my parts last. I’d much rather — no matter what my part is — be involved in a good movie, than have a great part in a bad picture. So I look at the script, and that’s where my producing background helps, because I am pretty good at this point at structurally breaking it down and thinking if the movie really works,” Douglas says. “I can kind of close my eyes when I’m reading, and I think I can see the movie, and then I think, it’s going to be a good movie, I want to do it.”

His acting choices seem to have worked well this year, as both “Wonder Boys” and “Traffic” have garnered numerous critics’ awards and Golden Globe nominations.

“The reality is that I’m just so excited that both movies are being spoken about in a lot of categories. It’s great to be connected with two movies that are being spoken about as Best Picture and Director and Screenplay,” he says happily.

Says Laura Bickford, one of the producers of “Traffic”: “Michael is just a brilliant actor and he’s in the zone right now, between ‘Wonder Boys’ and ‘Traffic.’ “He’s in a really happy time in his life. It’s like the quote from the Scorsese movie ‘New York, New York,’ where Robert De Niro’s character talks about when you have a ‘major chord’ in your life, which is when your career and your personal life and your art and everything is all working well. Michael is having that kind of year.”

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