Kate's Best Actress Golden Globe came for her raw and explosive performance in Revolutionary Road. She plays the wife in a suburban couple discovering the dark side of the American dream.
After 11 years, Kate's finally reunited onscreen with Titanic co-star Leonardo DiCaprio, and the couple's chemistry is undeniable. But Leonardo wasn't the only man on set with whom Kate shared sparks— the film was directed by her husband, Sam Mendes. "My husband directed this film, and my best friend in the entire world played my onscreen husband," she says. "This could not have been a more fortuitous set of circumstances for me."
A couple of years ago, Kate set up a meeting for Sam and Leonardo to discuss making Revolutionary Road. "I thought, 'I just need to get [Leo] and Sam together to have a creative conversation,'" she says. "I was going to join Leo for drinks one evening, and I called him to just confirm and I said, 'Actually, you know, I just need to tell you something else. I'm not going to come. Sam's coming in my place and you guys should just talk.' And that's how it happened."
Kate knew Leonardo would make the perfect leading man in Revolutionary Road. "For me, and I think for most of us, he is the leading actor of his generation. I mean, I just think everything he does is flawless," she says. "This is a thing that you don't see as an audience member—the commitment and the hard work."
Kate and Leonardo have been best friends for 13 years, and she says their relationship helped their Revolutionary Road performances. "That was one of the great luxuries, the friendship that we have. We knew we have a trust that's so strong that we could push each other's buttons," she says. "Knowing each other as well as we do, we knew which buttons to push and when, and that was very, very valuable to us."
Leonardo is Skyping in to the Oprah Show studio from his Los Angeles home. He says his history with Kate, both onscreen and off, really influenced the final result of Revolutionary Road. "Kate and I have grown up in this industry together," he says. "We've been a support mechanism for each other for such a long period of time, and we've been there for each other and helped guide each other. It's amazing."
After Titanic, Leonardo says he and Kate had to be careful about shooting a second film together. "We knew that treading on any type of similar territory to Titanic would have been a mistake, so we fundamentally knew we'd have to try something different," he says. "We've always been in communication to find what that next great project was going to be."
With a Golden Globe win for his performance as Randy "The Ram" Robinson in The Wrestler, Mickey Rourke is being touted as the comeback kid of the year. Along with the praise, Mickey says, has come a lot of work. "This was the hardest movie I've ever done. I honestly can say it was the best movie I ever made," he says.
After a decade-long absence from major films, it's hard not to notice that Mickey's real-life revival parallels the story of his character—a down-and-out wrestler who tries to turn his life around after suffering a heart attack. "I wanted to work with [director] Darren Aronofsky, and then when I read this piece it seemed a little too close to the belt," he says. Ultimately, Mickey's desire to work with the director sealed the deal for him. "I always say he's smarter than the rest of us, and he really just knows how to push those buttons and he doesn't settle for anything but the most of out an actor. I think deep down inside, that's the only thing I can respect out of a director."
In another Oscar®-nominated role this year, Meryl Streep gives a searing performance as a tough-as-nails nun. In Doubt, Meryl's character is hell-bent on taking down a priest whom she believes is molesting one of her students.
To help her in the role, Meryl says she used advice from a mentor, Sister Peggy. "She was actually [director] John Patrick Shanley's first-grade teacher," she says. "She was an inspiration and made me understand a lot about being in the club of sisters."
What Meryl doesn't know is that Oprah was hoping to join the cast of Doubt as the character Mrs. Miller. Oprah tells Meryl she wanted the role for two reasons. "The first was just so that I would be able to have a scene with you in my lifetime," she says. The second reason, Oprah says, was to be able to deliver Mrs. Miller's line, "Only till June."
Oprah says she was turned down—the part was given to actress Viola Davis—but she thinks director John Patrick Shanley made the right decision. "She did such an outstanding job, I'm hoping that she'll be nominated for a Best Supporting Actress [Oscar]."
Although Meryl has been nominated for an incredible 15 Oscars® in her lifetime, she says she still gets nervous during the award shows. "Absolutely I get nervous," she says. "And also being nominated  times, I have lost more than anybody, I think. So I know what that feels like too."
Meryl says she tries not to get caught up in the drama of jewels and dresses surrounding the award shows. "That part just kind of drives me insane," she says. "In a long career like mine, you just want to disappear into these roles, and it's harder and harder and harder. The more that you're out there, the more exposed you are for people to believe you are who you believe you are in each role."
Another of Oprah's favorite films this year was Frost/Nixon, a drama based on the interviews between Richard Nixon and journalist David Frost during the post-Watergate era. Director Ron Howard says his intention with the film was to show more than just the problems with presidency and power. "It does take, I think, a very honest and truthful and realistic look at the man within the framework of the drama of this story. And so in humanizing him, I hope it does create some sympathy. He was a very complicated figure."
Ron says his admiration for Frost/Nixon began after he saw the play, which the movie is based on. "I was completely enthralled and entertained, and I think that's ultimately what really hooked me," he says. "It's incredibly entertaining. Yes, it deals with history. Yes, it expresses some themes that are thought provoking, and I'm proud of those aspects of the movie. But what Peter Morgan, who is the same guy who wrote The Queen and The Last King of Scotland, does is, he gets all that right and also creates this really suspenseful, funny, entertaining story with rich characters."
Fans who still remember Ron Howard as Opie from The Andy Griffith Show
and Richie Cunningham from Happy Days
had a big surprise when Ron collaborated with Andy Griffith and Henry Winkler in a video clip on FunnyorDie.com. During the 2008 presidential campaign season, Ron, Andy and Henry made viewers laugh while urging them to get out and vote. "It was an endorsement for Barack Obama, and it's something I'd never publicly done before as a celebrity," he says. "I'm proud to have done it, and I'm thrilled as an American. I'm so excited about the possibilities of an Obama presidency. It's going to be great."
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