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How To Get Renee Zellweger An Oscar*
icon by greeniefru
That shirt? Is wet

Now, I'm not a fan or a "hatah" of Renee Zellweger. She's OK, but I'm not keeping tabs on her career. If she's in a movie I want to see and she happens to be in it, I don't mind. Which is more than you can say about Claire Danes, or (this one's for you,Terrie!) Edward James Olmos.

Though she was gaining critical traction with Jerry Maguire and Nurse Betty, Renee Zellweger's first major Academy Award nomination for Bridget Jones's Diary (she put on an accent AND she put on weight!) has allowed her to rise above her starlet-ish peers and win an eventual Academy Award, (for Cold Mountain).  She's considered for Oscar bait stuff now.

*And she has Colin Firth's wet shirt to thank for it.

Because Helen Fielding got caught in the Darcy mania that descended upon the UK in 1995 when the BBC aired a new mini-series adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, the British columnist was to inspired to write about her own dreamy Darcy and singletons in search of him in Bridget Jones's Diary.

Cut to: book success, movie adaptation, casting Renee, casting the wet-shirted Darcy of the mini-series Colin Firth for the book's Darcy, movie success, Oscar nomination, etc etc etc…

It's a lovely story, but not as lovely as the classic love story of Lizzie and Mr. Darcy and to a lesser extent, my love for this 1995 adaptation that remains as strong as ever.

I've followed Colin Firth's career forever… well, since I saw him co-star with Rupert Everett in Another Country. (It came out in 1984, yikes.) Colin played Eton student Tommy Judd, a composite character ("like in New York magazine!"—™Nick Smith) of the young bright things of 1930s England who would betray their country to Russia. (This movie is a details_later, tentpole. Abangan ang future blog entry!)

It was the days of Betamax rentals then, and I endured any Colin Firth project that came the way of local shelves. And boy, did I watch some REALLY good stuff, like A Month In The Country, to really corny stuff, like a TV movie adaption of Camille, where Colin played the young aristocrat in love with the consumptive lead character. There's lots more, and I was grateful to watch most of it, good or bad. I didn't live in the UK, and beggars can't be choosers.

Around the late 1980s to 90s, other British actors of his generation came into ascendancy (Ralph Fiennes, Hugh Grant, Rupert Everett, Richard E. Grant), and all the lead roles went to them. It looked like Colin accepted being relegated to supporting and character roles. (See: Circle Of Friends, The English Patient) Plus, there's a steady living—and a modicum of prestige—doing costume dramas for British TV. Colin even "let go" of himself physically. I remember reading various articles how Colin was sort of relieved that he didn't have to keep a leading man-pace anymore, hence his pudgy appearance as the betrayed husband in The English Patient.

Well, it turned out his career was leading somewhere else entirely…

After reading about that same Darcy-mania that captivated Fielding in several magazines, I was determined to score a copy of Pride & Prejudice and see the wet-shirted glory for myself. I traveled to the New York and Connecticut in 1997 (take note: no DVD's yet!) and saw a 6-tape VHS boxed set for sale at (ahem) US$ 79. Yes, that's pricey, but I deliberately set aside a portion of my spending money to buy it.

And so I brought the set home to Manila and ignored it for five or six months.

It was like my Book Debt syndrome: I know it's good, I know I'll love it, I promise to watch it soon!

Then, in one of those afternoons where I was bored and could no longer stick to the excuses to avoid it, I decided to watch Pride & Prejudice, "sige ng nga" enthusiasm and all. I'll just watch one tape, I told myself. It's just one hour, then the next hour maybe tomorrow.

I ended up watching ALL six hours in ONE SITTING.

The adaptation is like crack—you won't stop at one tape, or one chapter (as the DVD case might be). I enjoyed myself so much! The performances are excellent, the love story and the chemistry between Jennifer Ehle (playing Lizzie Bennett) and Colin (Mr. Darcy) is off-the-charts swoony, the plot is rich, hilarious, insightful and remains fresh.

No need to further explain what makes Jane Austen's novel a masterpiece… but the adaptation is just spot-on and feels both true to the story's era AND modern for today's audiences. And Colin/Darcy can stare at Jennifer/Lizzie like a mutha…

Ah, that one last one, Darcy's losing his resolve na. Then there's that dip in the lake, wearing that white shirt that created a phenomenon:

…which leads to that chance encounter of Lizzie and a "less formally dressed" Mr. Darcy. (Raise your hand if you AREN'T swoonishly giggling. You aren't? You will. Soon.)

"Mr. Darcy?"

"Miss Bennett?!"

Then ensues the STARE of all stares, a stare that's a tribute to Colin Firth's acting, the superb story of Jane Austen and the excellent tension and buildup that this mini-series sustains over several hours.

Oh, still here? Thanks!

Parang I just want to keep putting screencaps, and basically let you watch the entire mini-series in this epic blog entry!

Let's just return to the notion that these mini-series was a phenomenon that transformed careers, and makes almost anyone who sees it sit in one place for six hours, needing to see the whole thing 'til the end. (Fact!)

It's the end, at last! A few Saturdays ago, I just wanted to watch the beginning again, but (shock!) I ended up watching the whole thing. Of course. I hope Renee feels the same way.

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OMG! so many screencaps, only one brain to process them all...

what a wonderful present to get first thing in the morning!!! :D ganda ng screencaps ha!!!

ah, pride & prejudice will always remain to be one of my favorite stories of all time. So much so that, not having enough of p&p, i not only have p&p colin firth dreamy wet-shirted version, I also have p&p matthew "drool drool" macfadyen version and the p&p laurence "look at how he holds a teacup, eew, gay" olivier version. Though truth be told, it was when i caught the Olivier version at around 3AM on TNT that made me dig up the book again.

I should do my own p&p fandom post! :D

anyway, about the colin firth wet-shirted version--I remember it was one day when work was suddenly called off. I caught a ride home with you and passed by your house, picked up the VHS tapes (!!) and went home. I remember starting the first tape at 6PM. And five hours later, when my brother came home and wanted to use his VHS player I was still there! Like you, I finished those tapes IN ONE SITTING!

And ended up keeping your tapes for more than a year!

Fast-forward several months, and shortly before one of your New York sojourns, we found out this p&p, in a DVD boxed set, was 50% off on Amazon! When you came back and I got my copy, once again I watched it all, IN ONE SITTING.

A few months ago I got into a p&p fever again, and despite still not finding a DVD copy of p&p matthew, was happy with a VCD copy (and I even got the dibidi). I also found a dibidi copy of p&p laurence. Right now, I have to say I'm infatuated with matthew and to a certain extent, think him better at being darcy than colin (gasp!)--however, I know one of these days I'll start watching p&p colin again, and who knows, I'll probably end up watching it all (again!) IN ONE SITTING.

Sorry for the marathon, stream-of-consciousness reply! If ever I do get to do a p&p post, it will be better researched and organized! :D

Ha… I'll be expecting that blog entry now!

I love the way you described the Three Darcys! (The name by the way, of my future cute neighborhood café.) Especially the Larry Olivier one. Hysterical!

And there you have it… you even have Colin's wet shirt to thank so a new movie version could be made and the Matthew Macfayden wet-eyed version can exist!

That shirt is magical!

The IN ONE SITTING powers were just the start…

more of wet-eyed, dreamy matthew

Correction—I don't love Edward James Olmos! But I do love Battlestar Galactica. And since he plays one of the leads in BG, I can't not watch him, right? :)

I love this blog entry! Ang daming Colin Firth! Yummy! I love this miniseries and the recent movie version. But I gotta say lamang ang miniseries coz of the kiiiiss! which wasn't in the movie. And of course, coz of Colin. I don't know how Lizzie held out for so long. I would have thrown myself at his feet, hahaha!

Oops. This is Terrie, btw...(like u wouldn't figure it out after my comment on Olmos!)

Oh yes, I'm on to your stealth LJ ways, Terrie! :D

Indeed Battlestar Galactica trumps the Olmos! Agreed!

And I am SO lending you Hard Core Logo at the next Exchange Deal. You'll like BSG (as the real-deal fans call it) even more after watching "the This Is Spinal Tap for the punk set."

Imagine it: Snarky Colin in Another Country grows into Swoony Colin in Pride And Prejudice! You need to look at my flickr to see the entire six hours of Colin Yummy interpreted in 40 photographs and snarky captions. I'm kinda proud of it!

The blog lives! Huzzah!

Adel! How are you! I am seriously aiming to plan a Makati coffee session this November. For reals!

Thanks for visiting, blog-wise at least! Now that I've got a fair hang of it, apparently this isn't enough social networking required by the rest of the planet! Do you have a MySpace? A Multiply? A online photo storage service? A [drum roll please] Facebook!? Ugh! Can you believe Vanni HAS a Facebook? Yes. Yes way.

Let's discuss further over caffeine. Soon ha?

Well, hello Mr. Darcy

Oh I can still remember my own "I'll just watch one chapter..." and then I wake up from what feels like a dream and it's 4 effing a.m. You are so spot on when you compare it to crack--not that we know anything about crack. Hehe. And thank you for the many screen shoots of Mr. Firth. Waging-wagi!

Lost in Austen- no place I would rather be

I can't wait to talk to you about Lost in Austen. It is addicitive since we all secretly want to be with Lizzie when she chances upon Darcy. Lucky the series is only 4/5 episodes- or there would go another 10 hours of my life. Bridge

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