Rooney Mara

By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — Every time Oscar nominations are announced there are surprises. This year, they’ve nominated four actors we’ve never heard of!

Jean Dujardin, nominated for the silent film “The Artist,” has worked in French films for 10 years. The 39-year-old Dujardin won the best actor award at The Cannes Film Festival, The Golden Globes and The Screen Actors Guild Awards for a film in which he says only two words. He’s wed to Alexandra Lemy, who co-starred with him in an ’09 French TV series. His co-star, Berenice Bejo, the best supporting actress nominee, had the film “Prey” out last year, though it went unnoticed. She is wed to “The Artist” writer and director Michael Hazanavicius. Don’t be surprised if Jean Dujardin and “The Artist” both take home the gold!

“A Better Life” best actor nominee Demian Bichir has acted in his native Mexico since he was 14 years old. His first American film was “In the Time of the Butterflies” in 2001, with Selma Hayek. In 2008, he starred with Benicio Del Toro in Steven Soderbergh’s “Che.” He also appeared in the fourth, fifth and sixth seasons of the Showtime comedy “Weeds” as Esteban Reyes, and last year in a little-known film, “The Runway.” While the two French actors haven’t announced any new projects, Bichir has Oliver Stone’s “Savages” with John Travolta, Blake Lively, Uma Thurman, Selma Hayak, Emile Hirsch and Taylor Kitsch due out in September.

Rooney Mara, nominated for “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo,” did “Friends With Benefits” in ’09 and “A Nightmare on Elm Street” and “The Social Network” in ’10. Unlike the other three she hails from Bedford, N.Y., and has “Lawless” with Christian Bale due out 2013, as well as Steven Soderbergh’s “The Side Effects” with Channing Tatum and Jude Law. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” is part one of a trilogy of books written by Swedish author Stieg Larsson. Mara also is signed to reprise her “Dragon Tattoo” role in “The Girl Who Played with Fire” and “The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” all remakes of the 2009 Swedish films.
* * *
Sarah Jessica Parker, knowledgeable about “Sex in the City,” has replaced Demi Moore in the Linda Lovelace bio-pic “Lovelace,” not as the star of the most famous X-rated film ever, “Deep Throat,” but as woman’s liberation activist Gloria Steinem. This should be quite a stretch for Parker, who was just the opposite kind of woman in the popular TV series and in two film versions. In order to do Steinem justice, Sara Jessica Parker will have to go from “Sex in the City” to “Feminist in the City!” You go girl!

Send letters to Tony Rizzo’s Hollywood, 8306 Wilshire Blvd., No. 362, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.

© 2012 King Features Synd., Inc.