Angelina’s Oscar goals?
Angelina Jolie was in Telluride this weekend with all six of her children for the North American premiere of First They Killed My Father. There was a standing ovation after the screening. Many critics are calling the film her strongest directorial effort, so strong that they’re talking about Oscar possibilities in the Foreign Language Film category should Cambodia choose to submit it, and given that the film screened first a few months ago in Cambodia, there’s no reason right now to believe that it won’t be submitted given that it meets all criteria and seems to be generating critical acclaim.
Which is exactly what she was hoping for after the fallout from the Vanity Fair article. There was very little talk about what happened with Vanity Fair in Telluride. Instead, most headlines have either focused on her commitment to the film, her passion for the story, and the interviews she’s been doing about how her life has changed since Brange was broken. In an interview with the Sunday Telegraph, Angelina talked about being single:
"It's been difficult. I don't enjoy being single. It's not something I wanted. There's nothing nice about it. It's just hard. Sometimes maybe it appears I am pulling it all together, but really I am just trying to get through my days. Emotionally, it's been a very difficult year, and I have had some other health issues. So my health is something I have to monitor.”
For years we’ve talked about Angelina’s masterful press play, how few celebrities play the game as well as she does (although Jennifer Garner is putting on a pretty impressive show). Vanity Fair was a rare mistake, definitely a miscalculation. But Angelina’s too good at this not to know how to pivot and this is what we’re seeing now, first at Telluride and very likely in Toronto this coming weekend. Confident in the quality of her film and building on its reception, she’s presenting a softer side of herself now. One of the most beautiful women in the world, the woman who could once reliably headline an action movie is now saying that doesn’t “enjoy being single”, that it’s “hard”. She’s also telling us that she’s a mess too, that she hasn’t got it all together all the time. And that even she feels unsure of herself, especially now:
“This is the first time I have done this for a long time. It’s not easy. I am a little shy this time, because I am not as strong inside as I have been in the past.”
She referring here to being in a media situation on her own, after over a decade of being half of Brange. She’s talking about feeling uncomfortable and… “not as strong” – in other words, Angelina Jolie is insecure. Or at least she’s trying to give you the impression that she, too, can feel insecure.
Angelina Jolie, a special among specials, appears to be trying to show us her weaknesses, to label and identify her vulnerabilities. Whether or not it works remains to be seen. But it’s certainly giving us some different headlines after the Vanity Fair piece and it’s put her in good position heading to TIFF, where she has two films that she’s supporting and where she’s not only sitting down for an In Conversation With during the festival but also speaking at Tina Brown’s Women In The World summit on September 11:
So we’ll be getting more of this version of Angelina Jolie. The one who’s talking about acting again. And…getting back in touch with who she used to be:
“I think now I need to rediscover a little bit of the old me,” she says. “I think we lose our way a bit. I have had a lot happen in my life, from certain people passing to health issues to raising the children. And it’s been a very good time to absorb and develop and grow.”
“But maybe now that my kids are growing up I am starting to realize that my own sense of play has been put on hold for a while,” she continues. “And maybe them hitting their teens is going to bring out a little more fun in Mom. So maybe I am going back. It may be time.”
Play is an interesting word. It’s a sexy word. What will it look like when Angelina is “playing” again?
Vivien Killilea/ Paul Best/ Getty Images