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He Needs No Acting Counsel: Floyd Abrams in 'Nothing but the Truth'

Attorney Floyd Abrams, left, with Judy Miller in October 2004. (AP Photo/Stephen J. Boitano)

The holiday movie season is just around the corner, which means it's time to start listening for "Oscar buzz" -- or just making up some of our own. So, for your consideration as Best Supporting Actor ... Floyd Abrams.

The veteran First Amendment lawyer defended journalist Judy Miller in the CIA leak investigation for which she went to jail rather than reveal her source; in next month's release "Nothing but the Truth," Abrams makes his movie debut -- playing a judge who sends a journalist (Kate Beckinsale) to jail for refusing to reveal her source. (Any resemblance to actual events is purely coincidental, blah blah blah.)

So he's really acting, not playing himself as in most VIP cameos. (Alan Alda plays the not-really Abrams.) Although the New York-based legal eagle described it to us last year as a bit part, it's pretty substantial -- and Abrams turns in a natural, nuanced performance.

He modestly deflected our praise and focused on the film. "It was very fair in the sense of presenting the case for and against giving protection to journalists," he said. "I hope some of the senators who may vote on a shield law will see it."

His biggest surprise on set: "How often scenes are done again even if they're done well -- not to make it better but just to get a different shot." Also: "The real actors were a delight. I've read all these things about Hollywood, but there was not one diva in this movie."

As for his next part? "I'll wait to see if the offers roll in," he said dryly. "For now, I'm keeping my day job."

By The Reliable Source  |  November 11, 2008; 1:03 AM ET
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