Full disclosure: I have adored Frances McDormand since her turn as Professor Elaine Miller in 2000's Almost Famous. But now that I know she dressed up the Oscar she won for Fargo as a ranch man, I love her even more.
In a New York Times profile, Frank Bruni descended into McDormand’s home with husband and director Joel Coen. The story of the festooned Oscar originated three years ago, when she hoped the statue would lend a little magic to the Academy Awards’ judging section.
Once, she said, “I put him in a cowboy outfit.” This was in 2011, when her husband, the writer and director Joel Coen, was nominated for several Academy Awards for the western “True Grit.” She couldn’t be with him at the ceremony in Hollywood, so she watched on TV from this apartment, with dude-ranch Oscar as her date and talisman. The statuette performed questionably in both roles, failing to muster any clever banter or a single win.
I suppose every voodoo doll can’t be trusted but the natural progression of human life will rarely disappoint. We are born, we get old and we die, except in America's celebrity-driven culture, where that’s not really allowed. (As Goldie Hawn so succinctly described in The First Wives Club, "There’s only three ages for women in Hollywood: babe, district attorney and Driving Miss Daisy.") As for McDormand, winner of the aforementioned Oscar, she refuses Tinsel Town’s swirling terror around aging when there's real shit going on like ebola.
“We are on red alert when it comes to how we are perceiving ourselves as a species,” she said. “There’s no desire to be an adult. Adulthood is not a goal. It’s not seen as a gift. Something happened culturally: No one is supposed to age past 45 — sartorially, cosmetically, attitudinally. Everybody dresses like a teenager. Everybody dyes their hair. Everybody is concerned about a smooth face.”
She also hates plastic surgery and wants to “talk” to her buddies who’ve gone under the knife.
“I have not mutated myself in any way,” she said. “Joel and I have this conversation a lot. He literally has to stop me physically from saying something to people — to friends who’ve had work. I’m so full of fear and rage about what they’ve done.”
Ultimately, McDormand says she was never “pretty enough,” “tall enough,” “thin enough” or “fat enough” for roles so she embraced her quirky outsider persona and it’s served her well. Like other actors who’ve realized it’s more profitable to be on the other side of the camera, she’s purchased the rights to the novel Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout. The story is the basis of the actress-producer's upcoming HBO miniseries. She's also bought the rights to another book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, because she’s done waiting for someone else to give her a great role. As a film producer, she’ll give them to herself, thank you very much.
I, for one, can’t wait to watch her upcoming turn as the cranky math teacher Kitteridge. I’m sure McDormand will be plenty enough.
Image via Getty.