Magazine article Variety

Adams Reluctantly Accepts Accolades

Magazine article Variety

Adams Reluctantly Accepts Accolades

Article excerpt

Amy Adams can rise to any challenge: sparkle as a princess, brawl like a Boston barmaid, dance with Muppets, kiss Superman, earn five Oscar nominations and hold her own against Meryl Streep - twice. Still, on Nov. 10, the deeply private, craftdriven actress will face a new test when Tom Hanks, Jake Gyllenhaal, Natalie Portman, Kristen Stewart, Chris Messina and Denis Villeneuve take the stage of the Beverly Hilton Hotel to praise her talents as the 31st recipient of the American Cinematheque Award.

Being lauded for her entire body of work is "a little overwhelming," says Adams. "I tend to look at things piece by piece."

Having Streep herself hand her the statuette is "completely overwhelming." As for watching a montage of her entire filmography, Adams falls silent. "Yup," she eventually says with the well-mannered equanimity of an actress who spent years doing dinner theater in Minnesota. Then she giggle-exhales.

"I wasn't even comfortable at my wedding having my family say things that were nice," admits Adams, who married actor and artist Darren Le Gallo in 2015 after 14 years of dating. "I'm like, 'OK, let's move on.'"

Adams started her career as a dancer-waitress who high-kicked her way through "A Chorus Line" while serving the audience plates of prime rib. She wore nothing but a gold-embroidered jacket, nude hose and a hat - more costume than her earlier job at Hooters, at least - but the gig got her a better dinner theater engagement, and then the motivation to audition for, and win, the role of an oversexed beauty pageant bimbo in 1999's "Drop Dead Gorgeous," who does naughty things to a model of the Washington Monument. Adams was ninthbilled, but she took it as seriously as if she were the lead. In that first role, her comedy gifts already seem fully formed, the big eyes, bigger grin, deadpan innocence, and sugar-dipped voice that lets her get away with the craziest lines.

Co-star Kirstie Alley encouraged Adams to move to Los Angeles, assuring the then-25-year-old, "You're young. You're funny. You'll work."

So she did. Within a week, she had a manager, Stacy O'Neil, and her first part as a manipulative prep-school heiress in a soon-canceled "Cruel Intentions" spinoffshow that was re-edited into the movie 2000's "Cruel Intentions 2."

From there, Adams played the villain in "Psycho Beach Party," which released that same year, did a ton of TV, and scored a plum role as the pig-tailed Southern nurse who steals conman Leonardo DiCaprio's heart in 2002's "Catch Me if You Can." Its director, Steven Spielberg, loved her. Adams hoped she'd finally managed to find her breakout part. But after "Catch Me if You Can," she didn't work for a year.

Adams was nearing 30 and running low on hope - the one thing her characters almost always have in unlimited supply. Finally, she landed 2005's "Junebug" and claimed her first Academy Award nomination. From there Adams launched into the spotlight with four more nominations in five years starting with 2008's "Doubt," "The Fighter," "The Master" and "American Hustle." It feels like the main reason Adams hasn't yet won an Oscar is her filmography has been so consistently strong that voters feel safe putting her offanother year (and another, and another).

O'Neil remains Adams' manager today. "She's been not just a manager, but a mentor," says Adams. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.