By Mark Shanahan & Meredith Goldstein
Scituate's Erica McDermott, who plays one of Micky Ward’s seven sisters in “The Fighter,’’ watched the Oscar nominations yesterday at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Boston.
She was joined by actress Melissa McMeekin, who plays “Little’’ Alice Eklund, another of Ward’s sisters, and actor F. Murray Abraham, an Academy Award winner in 1984 for “Amadeus.’’ (The coffee klatch was intended to promote Boston’s Oscar night party hosted by the Ellie Fund.)
“I’m out of my mind about the nominations,’’ said McDermott, who plays Cindy “Tar’’ Eklund in the film. “The chemistry between the major actors was magical and David O. Russell was able to get the best out of us.’’
McMeekin said she’s relishing the ride, which continues this weekend with a trip to Los Angeles to attend Sunday’s Screen Actors Guild Awards. Six of the seven actresses who play the Ward sisters will be there; the seventh, Jill Quigg, who pleaded guilty in November to stealing a television and computer, will not be.
Reaction to “The Fighter’’ has been mixed within the Ward family. At least a few of the sisters, as well as the boxer’s 80-year-old mother, Alice, object to their portrayal as sometimes violent, tart-tongued women.
“It is what it is. There’s a lot of creativity in the movie,’’ said Dicky. “The family, they’re not too excited about their parts, but I think (David O.) Russell did an excellent job given the time he had and everything he had to get in.’’
A few weeks ago, Alice Ward, who suffers from emphysema, went into cardiac arrest and had to be revived by doctors at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She remains hospitalized. Yesterday, Micky took a break from training boxers at Gold’s Gym in Chelmsford and talked about his mother.
“She’s hanging in there,’’ he said. “She’s the fighter of the family.’’
Melissa Leo, whose performance as Alice Ward earned an Oscar nomination, said she plans to invite the matriarch to the Academy Awards.
“I’m inviting her to sit with me, but I don’t know if she’ll be well enough to come,’’ said Leo. “Maybe I’ll sit with an empty chair.’’