Hollywood actors are famous for their intense levels of preparation. Many actors think such steps are imperative to bring authenticity to a role, though some take it to extremes.
For example, leading up to her role in Black Swan, Natalie Portman spent six months training with a former New York City ballet dancer, six days a week, up to eight hours per day. To get ready for his role in Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro worked 12 hour shifts as a New York cab driver for a month. (This was ‘70s New York City, when a month in a taxi must have seemed like a year.) Filming My Left Foot, actor Daniel Day Lewis refused to leave his wheel chair and insisted on being spoon fed by staff.
Yet it seems like no one in Hollywood can take so much as a minute to figure out how to hold a wine glass.
The hit series Succession shows repeated scenes of wine crimes, with characters pawing their wine glasses like infants holding sippee cups. Here’s Frank (Peter Friedman) in a cringeworthy moment.
Every time I see scenes like this in movies and TV shows, I say the same thing to my wife.
Who wants their dirty fingerprints all over their glass, marring the aesthetic of the wine? Worse, who wants to heat up their wine by cradling the bowl in their hand? (The wine was probably served too warm to begin with.) Hint Hollywooders, there’s a reason most wine glasses have a stem!
Here’s Renata Klein (Laura Dern) in Big Little Lies mauling a glass.
In Ocean’s 12, Danny Ocean (George Clooney) makes it clear why he’s the boss, not Rusty (Brad Pitt).
Watching movie and TV scenes with wine, at first I’m baffled. Do Hollywood actors really not know how to hold a wine glass? Then I am filled with fear. Do Hollywood actors actually not drink wine?
Then I start to wonder if there is more deliberate intent.
For example, in Succession, is the family and staff’s repeated pawing of wine glasses meant to show how gauche and classless this wealthy group really is? It seems so here in this avert-your-eyes moment with Marcia Roy (Hiam Abbass).
Surely Greg (Nicholas Braun) gripping his wine glass by the stem with his full fist is meant to indicate his overall childishness. It’s a laugh out loud moment in the show (a true one, not the lol kind).
Just as surely, Connor Roy (Alack Ruck) talking about hyper-decanting while manhandling his glass and pouring the wine from a blender is deliberate. Is this all meant as sly humor? Inside jokes for wine lovers?
Another witness for the defense is Leonardo DiCaprio, as known for the many memes of him holding a wine glass as he is for his acting. We’ve got Jack’s iconic “to make it count” moment in Titanic, with the self-proclaimed “poor guy” holding the bowl of the glass. Still, we’re hanging on his every word.
Contrast that with the finishing school-trained Rose (Kate Winslet) and her dainty, flawless clutch of the stem. I fell in love with Rose at this moment.
Now compare DiCaprio’s “man of the streets” character in Titanic to the worldly Dom Cobb in Inception. The opening scene is a masterclass by DiCaprio on how to hold a wine glass.
Note DiCaprio’s character’s clear intent and deliberateness from the moment he picks up the glass.
Below, DiCaprio looks at the camera as if he’s indicting all of Hollywood saying, “What’s wrong with you all? This is how you hold a wine glass. Two fingers on, two fingers out. Got it, you animals?” This scene should be required viewing for all actors performing in television shows or movies that involve wine.
So I can’t figure it out. Does Hollywood really not know how to hold a wine glass? Or is every character gripping their glass with a sense of purpose and intent?
Is Dern asking the director, “Should I hold my glass by the stem or by the bowl?” Is Pitt saying, “No. Rusty is definitely the kind of guy who would cradle the glass.”
Maybe, just maybe, there is deeper meaning in how each Hollywood character clutches his or her chalice. If so, I’ll raise a glass to that.