It won’t be Julianne Moore’s year at the Oscars. Instead, 2011 brought the acclaimed actress another storied, if slightly more dubious, honor: the Pudding Pot.
Moore may have been snubbed by the academy for her Golden Globe-nominated turn in last year’s “The Kids Are All Right,” but she was the woman of the hour at Harvard on Thursday (Jan. 27), when the Hasty Pudding Theatricals honored her as the Woman of the Year.
Moore proved game for the affair, overcoming an Amtrak mix-up (she accidentally boarded a D.C.-bound train from New York instead of for Boston), a fresh snowfall, and icy winds as she made her way to the Yard for an official Harvard tour in the morning.
“It’s not that bad,” Moore teased about the weather. The actress came well-equipped in a gray wool coat, thick tights, and lined boots. She was perhaps a little too inconspicuous: One eager tourist, angling for a better shot of the John Harvard Statue, pushed past Moore with a gruff “excuse me” without seeming to realize who she was.
Pudding writers DJ Smolinsky ’11 and Gus Hickey ’11 led Moore around the Yard and into Widener Library, where she viewed the Gutenberg Bible. The actress played along on her tour, asking questions about Harvard’s graduation rate and class size.
“That was actually not one of the most nerve-wracking tours I’ve given,” Smolinsky said afterward. “They’re usually three times as long.”
Her parade down Massachusetts Avenue was canceled for the first time since 2005, when actress Catherine Zeta-Jones’ motorcade was called off due to snow. But the slushy streets didn’t dampen the action inside the Pudding roast.
At the afternoon production in the New College Theatre, nothing was off-limits, from Moore’s college days, to her choice of roles, to her children’s book “Freckleface Strawberry.”
Roastmasters Michael Barron ’11 and Kyle Dancewicz ’11 credited Moore for working her way through Boston University in the early 1980s as a waitress at a Howard Johnson hotel.
“She’s one of the few people who can say she worked hard while attending BU,” Barron joked. The hosts noted that while Moore starred in 2005’s “The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio,” she had yet to be selected as the “prize winner of the Academy Awards.” (The crack drew supportive boos from the audience.)
To earn her Pudding Pot, Moore was put through a series of absurd tasks. After her on-screen trysts with Mark Ruffalo in “Kids” and Mark Wahlberg in “Boogie Nights,” could Moore seduce Harvard’s own famous Mark, Mr. Zuckerberg, the Facebook founder?
“He only likes the BU girls,” Barron explained, referencing Zuckerberg’s fictional girlfriend in “The Social Network.”
Moore did her best, despite being limited to pick-up lines culled from her past movies and the requirement that she use her Boston accent. She refused to entertain criticism of her take on the local patois, which she developed for a character she played on NBC’s “30 Rock.”
“I’m not gonna stay for this,” she said indignantly. “My cah’s in the Yahd.”
Moore took the digs and the antics in stride. “I’m used to the other side of the river, but this is OK,” she said to applause. “It’s just nice to be made fun of, because then you know that people are at least watching what you’re doing, whether they like it or not.”
The roast was followed by a preview of Hasty Pudding’s 163rd production, “Kashmir If You Can,” an “eccentric epic” that journeys to “the exotic and erotic land of India.”
This year’s Man of the Year, Jay Leno, will come to Harvard next Friday (Feb. 4). For more information on Leno’s visit and on other Pudding productions.