Jennifer Aniston goes dark in ‘Cake’

Yes, Jennifer Aniston would like to thank the academy. But it won’t be this year.

At long last, many critics saw Aniston fulfill potential first revealed in 2002’s art-house hit The Good Girl in an even darker, more daring role in the drama Cake, in which she plays a drug-addicted woman in chronic physical and emotional pain.

That performance earned the Friends star Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice nominations, and this weekend, Aniston’s performance also is up for a Screen Actors Guild award.

But the motion picture academy passed her by when it announced its nominations last week.

On the day after failing to receive the Oscar nomination, the 45-year-old Aniston was promoting Cake, which opens Friday, while sitting just inches away from a poster touting her “Oscar-worthy performance.”

“Well, there’s ‘Oscar-worthy,’” the actress said, with a grin. “The truth is, this movie hasn’t even come out yet,” she continued. “I feel so lucky that any of that has even happened on a movie that we started shooting not even a year ago. We started April 3rd of last year. I couldn’t ask for more than that. “

But she has gotten at least a little bit more: The Golden Raspberry Foundation, best known for its loving slams of bad cinema with The Razzies, revealed a softer side last week when it announced a new category, the Razzie Redeemer Award, honoring former Razzie regulars who now are doing work worth applauding.

Aniston is a Redeemer Award nominee, thanks to her work in Cake.

“That’s so nice,” she said, sincerely. “You get a Nice Razzie.”

While never a winner, Aniston is a four-time Razzie nominee, primarily for roles in her string of generally poorly reviewed, but often commercially successful, romantic comedies.

Given how the rom-coms overwhelm her filmography, Aniston said she was surprised when Cake director Daniel Barnz asked her to read for the emotionally complex role of Claire.

“You start to lose trust in yourself that you can do something such as that,” Aniston explained. “So you actually start to say, ‘Does the industry actually know something that I don’t know? Can I do this?’”

Aniston gets to give at least one acceptance speech for her performance in Cake. Just a week after Sunday’s SAG Awards, the actress will head some 90 miles north of Hollywood to accept the Santa Barbara International Film Festival’s Montecito Award.

“It’s been 25 years that I’ve been lucky enough to make a living doing what I love to do,” Aniston said. “So, to keep having surprises and to keep surprising myself is so exciting. And I just want to do more of that.”


Associated Press