Although it has been 10 months since Gwyneth Paltrow‘s tearful acceptance of the Best Actress Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, she is still recovering from the experience. “I feel like it just happened, and I still haven’t understood what it all means,” says Paltrow, 27, who costars with Matt Damon and Jude Law in the current thriller The Talented Mr. Ripley. “I had this intensely private moment in front of a billion people. So I felt really exposed and embarrassed afterward. I just kind of got in bed and had a fever and was sick. It took me a long time before I thought I could go back out into the world. And I still have, like, posttraumatic stress from the whole thing. I hope in the near future I’ll look back and think, ‘Wow, how fantastic!’ But I haven’t felt that yet.”
“I became a human punching bag,” says Denzel Washington of training for his Golden Globe-winning role as 1960s middleweight Rubin “Hurricane” Carter in The Hurricane. The actor discovered that in boxing, the best offense starts with a good defense. “For about a month, Norman [Jewison, the director] wouldn’t allow me to throw punches back at the other boxer,” he says. “We would fight three-minute rounds, and I’d have to do everything in my power to waste time and not get hit. You learn to move. You learn to block. You learn to tie them up.” But after a couple of good blows to the head, Washington, 45, was ready to duke it out: “One fighter said to me, ‘You’ll get headaches, but don’t worry, you’ll get used to it.’ ”
Does Not Compute
At age 71, screen veteran James Coburn is the first to admit that he’s a bit old-fashioned about a few things. “I’m not computer-literate and I don’t intend to be,” says Coburn, who, after winning a Best Supporting Actor Oscar last year for Affliction, stars in the CBS Hallmark Hall of Fame movie Missing Pieces, airing Feb. 6. “I have a great dictionary and encyclopedia, and I look up everything I want. If I need to know something on the Internet, I call my daughter Lisa, who’s a Web page designer.” Okay, so what would be Lisa’s next assignment? “I was thinking of asking her, ‘Why don’t they put mufflers on airplanes?’ ”
Mommy’s Little Operator
In the bittersweet comedy Hanging Up, due Feb. 18, Friends star Lisa Kudrow joins Meg Ryan and Diane Keaton to play sisters who need a family hot line when their father (Walter Matthau) falls ill. “The telephone is definitely significant to the story,” says Kudrow, 36, whose 21-month-old son, Julian, has become fascinated with the appliance. “The phone rings, he looks up at me, and then we both run over to our phones. I like to walk around with the phone, so now he grabs his toy phone and walks around saying gibberish.”
Crazy for k.d.
Ashley Judd may have grown up in a family of singers, with mother Naomi and sister Wynonna forming the popular country duo the Judds, but the actress admits she was a bit starstruck to work with crooner k.d. lang in her thriller Eye of the Beholder. “She’s a force of nature,” says Judd, 31, of lang, who has a supporting role as a spy contact. “Her voice-oh, my God, she’s incredible!” In fact, Judd’s admiration of lang goes back to her teenage years. “I made k.d. a clover necklace when I was 18 and sent it to her,” she recalls. “I was so in awe of her and have remained that way ever since. Maybe I should start a fan club.”