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Oscar fever is heating up here with only two weeks to go until the big evening.

I’ve spoken to not one of the women vying for the top acting awards…or even two of them. In the past few weeks I’ve chatted to three.

Kerry Condon is nominated for best actress in a supporting role for The Banshees Of Inisherin. Meanwhile, Cate Blanchett is an Oscar veteran and she’s nominated for best actress in the classical music drama Tar.

I also had a chat with one of the queens of Hollywood – and the Queen of Wakanda – Angela Bassett, who’s up against Condon in the best supporting actress category.

Bassett was of course nominated 30 years ago for her starring role in the wonderful What’s Love Got To Do With It, the biopic of the life of Tina Turner.

Last year she appeared in a different type of emotional role as Ramonda, the mother of superhero Black Panther. He was previously played by Chadwick Boseman who died before filming of the sequel began, which turned the movie, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, into an emotional tribute – as well as a rip-roaring adventure.

“What I love about this is, despite life and its challenges and its ebbs and flows, its inevitabilities, that we were able to come together and create something this memorable and exciting for audiences and theatre-goers,” Bassett told me at the recent Bafta Tea Party Awards here in Los Angeles.

It was a rare cold day in Hollywood and Bassett couldn’t help but aim a dig at me once she found out I was Scottish. “Did you bring this over with you?” she laughed.

It’s why I always wear thermal undies, Angela!

First-time nominee Condon told me how wonderful it had been to work with Colin Farrell.

“I’ve known him for quite a long time so it was pretty easy to pretend that we were brother and sister,” said Condon, “and I knew Brendan (Gleeson) as well and a lot of the other actors in it, so it was nice. But we all wanted to do a really good job.”

The location off the west coast of Ireland was breathtaking and Condon took the time to watch the sunsets each day. “The director of photography would run outside and capture all these beautiful little moments. I just watched it and thought nice thoughts. It’s like a character almost.”

Meanwhile, Blanchett revealed the secret of her physical performance as a troubled conductor – having a dance!

“I asked the director how he was going to shoot it and he said, ‘I’m just going to shoot it’. So I knew there was nowhere to hide,” she explained. “But it was amazing. I kind of treated it like a dance.

“There’s such an alchemy to it and it looks so otherworldly. I don’t know how to get an opportunity to do something this big again, I’m quitting.”

Sunday Post

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