“How do I feel?” asks Christopher Plummer. He’s on the phone from the Peninsula Hotel in Los Angeles, the morning after becoming, at 82, the oldest actor in history to win an Academy Award.
“Well, I got some sleep, at last,” he says with a laugh.
Plummer was the predictable Oscar winner in the best-supporting-actor category for his role in Mike Mill’s Beginners – where he played a dying father who discloses his homosexuality at the age of 70 – and, to judge by the standing ovation for him, it was a hugely popular win.
Afterward, Plummer and his wife, Elaine Taylor, celebrated with 1,500 others at the party of Oscar parties – the Governors Ball.
Guests dined on a Wolfgang Puck menu of 50 dishes, including lobster tacos, short ribs with polenta, crab cakes, macaroni and cheese, potato latkes and golden candy apples.
Then the Plummers retired for the night. “There are dozens of parties,” he explained. “If we went to all of them, we’d still be there.”
Plummer said he was “totally prepared to lose. You have to be. You have to have some idea of what you’re going to say if you do win, but you really wipe it from your mind.”
After his name was announced, though, Plummer delivered one of the most polished acceptance speeches of the night.
He paid eloquent tribute to his fellow nominees – Max von Sydow, Jonah Hill, Kenneth Branagh and Nick Nolte – thanked all of those connected with the film, particularly its star, Ewan McGregor, and acknowledged the critical support given to him by his “little band of agents provocateurs ... who've tried so hard to keep me out of jail.”
“I change that line every time I have a speech. Sometimes it’s ‘keeping me out of Sing Sing’ or ‘keeping me in martinis for all these years.’ ”
Plummer also saluted his daughter, actress Amanda Plummer. Unable to secure a ticket to the event, she sent her father a congratulatory note – as did hundreds of other adoring fans.
And when he thanked his wife Elaine “who deserves the Nobel Peace Prize for coming to my rescue every day of my life,” the camera showed her choking back tears.
Plummer wore a blue velvet smoking jacket to the awards. “I’ve got dozens of those,” he said, “some of them since the seventies. Everything comes back in fashion.”
Plummer plans to return Tuesday to his winter home in Florida.