“You had me at ‘Renée!’”
Renée Zellweger and James Franco have been chosen as the 2009 Hasty Pudding Woman and Man of the Year.
The Woman of the Year festivities will be held Feb. 5 at 2:30 p.m., when Zellweger will lead a parade through the streets of Cambridge. Following the parade, the president of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals, David Andersson ’09, and the vice president of the cast, Tom Compton ’09, will roast the celebrity and present her with her Pudding Pot at 3:15 p.m. at the New College Theatre, the Hasty Pudding’s historic home in the heart of Harvard Square since 1889. After the roast, several numbers from the Hasty Pudding Theatrical’s 161st production “Acropolis Now” will be previewed at 3:40 p.m. and a press conference will be held at 4:10 p.m.
On Feb. 13, the Man of the Year event will take place. The producers of the Hasty Pudding Theatricals will roast the honoree and present him with his Pudding Pot at 8:10 p.m. at the New College Theatre, prior to the start of the opening night performance of “Acropolis Now.” A press conference will be held immediately after the roast at 8:30 p.m.
Zellweger has received nearly every major accolade in the industry, among them an Academy Award, three Golden Globe Awards, two SAG Awards, a BAFTA Award, and a Broadcast Film Critics Award. She is lauded for her talents as a dramatic actress in films such as the critically acclaimed “The Whole Wide World,” “Cinderella Man” (with Russell Crowe), and “White Oleander,” as well as for her comedic charm in such smash hits as “Bridget Jones’s Diary,” “Chicago,” “Jerry Maguire,” and “Nurse Betty.”
Zellweger currently stars alongside Harry Connick Jr. in “New in Town,” which opened in theaters on Jan. 30. She also recently appeared in “Appaloosa” with Viggo Mortensen and Ed Harris. She will next star in “My One and Only” and has just completed production on “My Own Love Song” with Forest Whitaker.
Franco’s metamorphosis into the title role of the TNT biopic “James Dean” earned him career-making reviews, as well as a Golden Globe for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Made for Television, and nominations for an Emmy and Screen Actors Guild Award for this memorable performance. He is well-known for his starring role as Harry Osborn in Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man” trilogy, and for his notable performances in such films as “An American Crime” (with Catherine Keener and Ellen Page); the naval academy drama “Annapolis”; Robert Altman’s “The Company”; “City by the Sea”(opposite Robert De Niro and Frances McDormand); and the Martin Scorsese-produced “Deuces Wild.” On television, he starred in the critically acclaimed series “Freaks and Geeks.”
Franco can currently be seen starring opposite Sean Penn in Gus Van Sant’s “Milk.” He was recently seen in David Gordon Green’s “Pineapple Express”opposite Seth Rogen; in George C. Wolfe’s “Nights in Rodanthe,” starring Richard Gere and Diane Lane; and in Paul Haggis’ “In the Valley of Elah,” starring Tommy Lee Jones. He has written, directed, and starred in several short plays. He adapted two of them, “Fool’s Gold” and “The Ape,” into feature-length films in which he produced, directed, and starred. He also wrote and directed “Good Time Max,” which is currently in post-production.
The Man and Woman of the Year awards are presented annually to performers who have made a “lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment.” Established in 1951, the Woman of the Year award has been granted to many notable and talented entertainers, including Meryl Streep, Katharine Hepburn, Julia Roberts, Jodie Foster, Elizabeth Taylor, and, most recently, Charlize Theron. The Man of the Year award was established in 1963. Its past recipients include Clint Eastwood, Tom Cruise, Robert De Niro, Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, Anthony Hopkins, Bruce Willis, and, in 2008, Christopher Walken.
To purchase tickets to “Acropolis Now,” which will be performed at the New College Theatre, 12 Holyoke St, contact the HPT box office at (617) 495-5205. The show opens on Feb. 13 at the Man of the Year ceremony and continues in Cambridge until March 15. Performances will take place Wednesday through Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 4 and 8 p.m., and Sunday matinees are at 3 p.m. The company then travels to New York to perform at Hunter College’s Kaye Playhouse on March 20 and 21 at 8 p.m. Call (212) 772-4448 for tickets. The tour continues to the Hamilton City Hall in Bermuda for performances on March 26–28.