Entertainment Magazine

NEWSWEEK: Cover: Oscar Confidential

In Exclusive Roundtable, Oscar Contenders Foxx,
Swank, Dicaprio, Giamatti, Bening, Winslet Talk About Careers,
Fear of Failure, Parenthood

Foxx Says When Denzel and Halle Won, 'That Was A Great Day For Black People. It Made Me Feel Like I've Got A Chance.'

Swank Never Wants To Be Asked Again,
'Are You Ever Going To Play A Pretty Girl?'

NEW YORK, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- When asked about how important it was that Denzel Washington and Halle Berry won best acting Oscars, Jamie Foxx says Washington and Berry are like "these two great ambassadors. They're just great people who happen to be wrapped in that black skin, so them winning ... that was a great day for black people. It made me feel like I've got a chance. I can turn it up a notch. I don't have to think this one way. It gives people hope, you know?"

Foxx, who has wowed audiences with his portrayal of Ray Charles in "Ray," talks about the pair of winners in Newsweek's annual Oscar roundtable discussion, the January 31 cover, "Oscar Confidential" (on newsstands Monday, January 24). This elite group-Foxx, Kate Winslet, Leonardo DiCaprio, Hilary Swank, Annette Bening and Paul Giamatti-spoke to Senior Editor Sean Smith and Senior Editor David Ansen about the joys and pains of a life in pictures.

When Winslet and DiCaprio saw each other for the discussion, it was a "Titanic" reunion. "I know this sounds like a hideous cliché, but if we hadn't been so close, and been able to keep each other going, it would have been really, really tough," Winslet says. "It's always been sort of a brother- sister dynamic between us," DiCaprio says. "It's great to see her over the years. She's still the same wonderful person that she's always been."

The actors say that despite their success, they all fear, after each job, that they'll never work again. "Every job feels like the first job," Giamatti says. "I'm always fumbling through it, trying to figure it out and going, 'I'm going to get fired. I'm going to get fired'." Swank recounts when she was fired from "Beverly Hills 90210." "It was in its last stages, when no one was watching it, and I thought, 'If I'm not even good enough for this, I'm never going to make it.' So I was coming off this one-hour show, and I was testing for another one-hour show with this very well-known executive ... and he said, 'I would hire you, but you're just too "half-hour".' But you have to trust fate, because four months later I got 'Boys Don't Cry'."

DiCaprio discusses using his celebrity for political purposes, as he did last year. "There's this stigma that's put upon actors that we aren't allowed to be citizens as well-that somehow we're detached from everyday life," he says. "It's annoying to me. I went out in support of John Kerry, and my objective-I'm an environmentalist-was to attract young people to listen about an issue that wasn't being talked about, really." And on the voter backlash against "Hollywood liberals": "It's as if we're not allowed to have a voice because of some public persona, some label that's been put upon us." Swank adds, "It's interesting to me that people care about our opinions when they buy the Enquirer, but when they disagree with us, it's 'actors should step down'."

Since doing interviews is a big part of their jobs, Newsweek asked what question they never want to be asked again. "My most annoying question is, 'Hilary, are you ever going to play a pretty girl?'" Swank says. "I get asked, you know, 'What's wrong with drinking merlot?'" Giamatti says. "I go, 'I don't know, man. I don't know!'" Winslet: "'Oh my God, how did you lose all that weight?' The other one, which is really dumb, is, 'How do you learn all those lines?'" And DiCaprio says he was asked at least 50 times a day, "What do you have in common with Howard Hughes?" Foxx says he gets a lot of questions about Ray Charles. "Its been so much fun answering those questions because people are rediscovering Ray Charles. You think he's the older generation, but he knew 50 Cent. He knew Sean Puffy Combs. He was the first sampler. He took gospel and switched it over."

Bening, who plays a stage diva in "Being Julia," says for her, to really get into a character, the clothes play a big part. "For me, a lot of it is the clothes. Just like in real life, you feel different if you're wearing a tux or if you're in jeans. When you're acting, that feeling is magnified. And shoes! Shoes are huge!" Winslet chose another piece of clothing. "I start with the bra. If the bra's right, everything falls into place," she says.

And being a parent has brought new meaning to their careers. Winslet says that when you're a mother of small children, going to work is a holiday. "Someone does your hair! Someone does your makeup! It's like a revelation. I've fallen in love with my job all over again after having kids," she says.

Web site: http://www.newsweek.msnbc.com/

In the January 31 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, January 24): "Oscar Confidential"- the annual roundtable with Oscar contenders. This year - Swank, Foxx, Giamatti, Bening, DiCaprio and Winslet- talk about their work. Also: Fareed Zakaria on what Bush faces in trying to deliver on his inaugural promise of spreading freedom across the globe; the DNC chairman race; British car designers in Detroit; women PhDs and elite universities; alternatives to arthritis medicine; and the latest in karaoke machines.
(PRNewFoto) NEW YORK, NY USA 01/23/2005

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