Critic: Warren Beatty blew it

(CNN)Janet Jackson endured a wardrobe malfunction — and Warren Beatty now knows all about a script malfunction.

All great stage actors can handle the unexpected, whether it’s a forgotten line or a lost prop. They are trained to improvise and, following a decent rehearsal process, are usually on stage with colleagues they trust implicitly to pick up the pieces and react to their unspoken cues.


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And while the Academy Members rousingly applauded a statement by Asghar Farhadi, who used his absence to protest the immigration policies of Donald Trump, they were less bold about confronting scandal in their own midst. Despite years of racist and sexist outbursts, Mel Gibson proudly strode up the red carpet; Casey Affleck, whose past sexual-harassment allegations (which he denies) have prompted controversy in many circles, was cheered as he won his Oscar.
Perhaps I’d be more sympathetic if the Oscars hadn’t included an attempt at an off-script sensation — the stage-managed arrival of a bus of random tourists who found their way into the front row of the Dolby Theatre. Can you imagine any risk assessor allowing Joe Public to shake hands with Nicole Kidman without a security screening?
There’s a basic lesson in this for actors — if you’re going to pretend you can go off-script, fine. But when you need to improvise for real, you better be able prove you can do it right. We love actors because they show us how human beings deal with life’s curveballs.


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A great actor can do that in real time, too.

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