Glenn Close, legendary actress, star of Albert Nobbs, is on the prowl in a black leather pantsuit. She smells Oscar.
The party at the sprawling home of Fort Worth, Texas, real estate magnate John Goff and his wife, Cami, is nothing if not deluxe: Waiters smoothly circulate around the bejeweled, carefully coiffed guests, carrying trays of drinks, lobster rolls and mini empanadas.
In the living room, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and his wife, Gene, look relaxed and in good spirits. Although Van Cliburn hasn't yet arrived, the buzz in the room is that he will be turning up imminently.
But down one flight of stairs, in a small, luxuriantly decorated room just off the Goffs' wine cellar, actress Glenn Close is sitting in a white leather chair, wearing a black pantsuit and an expression of purposeful determination. This entire party might be in her honor, but Close isn't necessarily here to have a good time.
Seven days before the Golden Globes, 16 days before the Oscar nominations will be announced, she's instead engaged in the serious business of guiding her new movie, Albert Nobbs, through a highly competitive awards season.
"You have to show up, because that's part of it," she says of the film, which received a quarter of its $8 million budget from the Goffs.
"You want it to be successful, so I'm here in Fort Worth."
This week, Close earned a Best Actress Oscar nomination for playing the title character in Albert Nobbs, a 19th-century Irish woman who, after years of dressing as a man to maintain employment at a hotel, falls in love with a young female co-worker (Mia Wasikowska).
It's Close's sixth nomination overall (she has never won the prize), and it's the culmination of an arduous awards campaign that began at the Telluride Film Festival, where Albert Nobbs premiered in September, and that has had the actress jetting from New York to Toronto to Spain to California in recent months.
That one of the stops on the Albert Nobbs tour was Fort Worth -- where, for five or so hours Jan. 8, Close hobnobbed with her investors and their well-heeled friends, and then attended an invitation-only screening at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth -- speaks volumes about the sometimes strange ways independent movies get funded these days.
It perhaps says even more about the fierce will of a 64-year-old actress who first played the role of Albert Nobbs 30 years ago off-Broadway and was determined at all costs to bring it to the big screen.
"I did actually stop myself about five years ago," says Close, talking about the film's epic gestation period. "There's the moment of not wanting to give it up, and then there's the moment where maybe I'm not right to play this part anymore. But I just wasn't willing, after all this time, to throw in the towel."
Close won an Obie award in 1982 for her performance in Simone Benmussa's The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs, a play based on a short story by the late Irish author George Moore. She was so taken by the role -- a woman who has dressed as a man for so long that she no longer has a handle on her own gender -- that she optioned Moore's story, with the hopes of turning it into a movie.
She shopped the idea around to writers, but eventually decided to co-write the screenplay herself. She brought on director Rodrigo Garcia, with whom she worked on the indie films Nine Lives and Things You Can Tell Just by Looking at Her.
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