Mitt Romney moved one step closer to the Republican presidential nomination with wins in the Arizona and Michigan primaries on Tuesday night.
But President Obama may have already won the election, according to CNN’s OutFront program.
Because “The Artist” beat “The Descendants” (left) for Best Picture at the Oscars.
A strange pattern has emerged over the past 50 years, and it seems an incumbent president’s hopes for re-election are tied to which films win big at the two major Hollywood award shows, says OutFront producer Christopher Moloney.
Specifically, if a film is named Best Picture (Drama) at the Golden Globes and Best Picture at the Academy Awards, the Republican candidate is elected.
If not, the Democrat wins.
The theory applies to the year the films are awarded, not the year they are released–this year’s awards went to films released last year–and if it holds, “The Descendants’ ” inability to repeat its Golden Globes triumph at this year’s Oscars means Obama will win.
In 2004, George W. Bush, a Republican, was re-elected when “The Lord of The
Rings: The Return of the King” won both the Golden Globe and the Oscar.
In 1996, Bill Clinton, a Democrat, won a second term when “Sense & Sensibility” and “Braveheart” split the trophies.
“Bugsy” won the Golden Globe and “Silence of the Lambs” took the Oscar in 1992, and George H. W. Bush lost to Clinton.
Ronald Reagan won his second term in 1984, when “Terms of Endearment” won both statues, and four years before that, he beat Jimmy Carter during the “Kramer vs. Kramer” sweep.
In 1972, Richard Nixon was re-elected on the strength of “The French Connection,” a film about a police officer who stumbles on a French connection, only to resign two years later when a security guard stumbles on a Cuban connection.
And less than a year after assuming office for John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson was re-elected when the Golden Globe and the Oscar went to two different films: one about a young Catholic priest from Boston confronting bigotry (“The Cardinal”), the other about a ladies’ man (“Tom Jones“).
There are exceptions to the rule, of course.
In 1976, when “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” won both awards, things went crazy, and Gerald Ford failed to win.
But as Ford was never actually elected as president or vice president in the first place, there is an argument to be made he was never a true incumbent.
The only other time the election went off-script was in 1956, the first year the Golden Globes were held with a president seeking a second term.
That year, “East of Eden” won the Golden Globe but not the Oscar, which went to “Marty,” and Adlai Stevenson, a Democrat, lost to incumbent Dwight D.
The loss must have been particularly tough for John Steinbeck, the “East of Eden” author, who had actually sent a 19-page handwritten letter to the Democratic Digest, advising them on how to prevent Eisenhower from winning a second term.
In the letter, Steinbeck wrote: “It is generally considered that novelists are not good politicians. As candidates I should (think) this would be true but as designers of political method the reverse is probably true.”
Or maybe he should have just asked a screenwriter.
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By Philip Berk
Arguably the greatest comedian of the sound era, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association again got it right when they awarded Danny Kaye a Golden Globe in 1951 as Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical for On the Riviera.
Seldom seen since its initial release, it is one of Twentieth Century Fox’s best musicals.
Not surprisingly it was a remake of an earlier Fox musical, That Night in Rio because studio chief Darryl
Zanuck had a knack for recycling his hits.
On the Riviera far surpasses the original: it boasts brisk direction by Walter Lang, spectacular Technicolor, better preserved there than at any other studio, Gene Tierney looking absolutely gorgeous, a vibrant Corinne Calvet (her best role),and superb supporting cameos from Marcel Dalio, Clinton Sundberg and Sig Ruman. It also boasts the exciting choreography of Jack Cole, a clever screenplay– the work of Valentine Davies and Phoebe and Henry Ephron —but most of all the special material written by Sylvia Fine. Someone ought to do a retrospective of her work in film.
The producer, Sol C. Siegel, is one of Hollywood’s most under appreciated geniuses. Check his filmography, starting with Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch at Columbia; Blue Skies at Paramount; A Letter to Three Wives and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes at Fox and High Society and Some Came Running at MGM. The man knew how to get around and attract the likes of Bing Crosby, Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra.
At the height of his career he was lionized the world over by everyone, including Sir Laurence Olivier. A singular talent, he was discovered by Sam Goldwyn, and what better champion could you ask for?
The Goldwyn touch is evident in all of Danny’s films because the famed producer personally supervised all his movies while he was under contract, starting with Up in Arms
Rumor has it he took Kaye, then a promising Broadway actor and an overnight sensation in Lady in the Dark, dyed his hair red so he wouldn’t look so ethnic and possibly bobbed his nose.
Up in Arms was a runaway success, and he followed that with Wonder Man and The Kid from Brooklyn, both remakes of Harold Lloyd comedies.
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty remains his best film.
Of course his success could never have happened were it not for Sylvia Fine (his wife) who wrote both the words and music, pioneering what we now think of as special material, patter songs; and every one of them is as fresh today as the first time you heard it.
Goldwyn took a break to concentrate on The Best Years of Our Lives but was reunited with Danny for Hans Christian Anderson. For this Frank Loeser wrote the songs and Silvia was not involved.
It was Kaye’s last Goldwyn film, and he and Silvia moved on to greater success at other studios. For Warners, they made Inspector General, for Paramount, Knock on Wood and The Court Jester, and of course for Fox, On the Riviera.
That ten year period is among the most prodigious of any comic talent in the history of film.
Then came White Christmas, a Crosby-Irving Berlin confection — Kaye replaced Donald O’Connor at the last minute — but after that his career was essentially over.
He attempted more serious roles; Jacobovsky and the Colonel earned him mixed reviews, even a Golden Globe, but the magic was gone. He spent the rest of his life doing warm and fuzzy television, appearing so frequently that people forgot that he once was the greatest comic genius of the 40s, far surpassing the work of Jerry Lewis, Bob Hope or Red Skelton in terms of quality.
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Undoubtedly one of the silliest and most light-hearted awards shows in Hollywood history, the first annual Golden Collar Awards, brainchild of Alan Siskind of dognewsdaily.com, were held at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza Hotel.
And a tail-wagging good time it was! Trophies for “best dog” performances on the big and small screen were presented by stars including Pauley Perrette (NCIS), Wendie Malick (Hot In Cleveland), Jacqueline Emerson (THE HUNGER GAMES) and Babe star James Cromwell who quipped, “I’m delighted to be here because I owe my career to a pig.”
Martin Scorsese, who wrote a facetious editorial in the Los Angeles Times lobbying for a write-in nomination for Blackie the Doberman in his movie HUGO appeared at the ceremony by video. On the road with his director, Blackie wasn’t on hand for the fun, but other dog stars taking advantage of their moment on the red carpet included such favorites as Cosmo from BEGINNERS, Rocky from ENTOURAGE, Brigitte (above) from MODERN FAMILY and a few non-contenders such as Scooter the Briard (below) who rode a scooter down the press line, and hero dog Hunter, the Border Collie who rescued 11 survivors of the Haiti earthquake.
Of course it’s no surprise that the top prize of Best Dog in a Theatrical Film went to Uggie, (above left), the scene-stealing canine in The Artist (this year’s Golden Globe winner as Best Picture, Comedy or Musical). “Uggie is a great performer but he’s also a great family member. He sleeps with us,” said the Jack Russell terrier’s owner Omar Von Muller.
Other canine winners were Best Dog in a Foreign Film: Koko as Red Dog in RED DOG Best Dog in a Television Series: Brigitte as Stella in MODERN FAMILY Best Dog in a Reality Television Series: (tie) Hercules in PIT BOSS and Giggy in THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF BEVERLY HILLS; Best Dog in a Direct-to-DVD Film: Rody as Marley in MARLEY & ME: THE PUPPY YEARS. Additionally, the Golden Collar Humanitarian Award was given to Charize Theron, who was unavailable to attend.
- Vera Anderson
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HFPA member PHILIP BERK interviewed Whitney Houston 16 years ago for Waiting to Exhale. This is what he wrote at the time:
Photo: Theo Kingma
“She’s charming, she’s witty, she’s bright, she’s smart, she’s funny, and she’s grounded.” That’s Angela Bassett’s assessment of Whitney Houston at an interview for Waiting to Exhale, Fox’s Christmas attraction, in which the two of them play African American women in unresolved relationships.
As usual, just as the interviews are about to begin, Whitney is in the news. This time a friend of her husband (Bobby Brown) has accused her of having a relationship with another woman that resulted in the breakdown of their marriage and the disintegration of his life. (He’s drying out at the Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs.)
So what else is new!
Three years ago, just as The Bodyguard was about to open, one of the nation’s most respected newspapers, the Los Angeles Times, published a story in which Whitney was asked to respond to rumors that she is gay, that her lovers have included some of Hollywood’s best known actresses, and that she lived with her executive assistant Robyn Crawford for many years.
Instead of walking away from the interview, she responded, “When you reach a certain height, you will always be criticized.”
As for her relationship with Crawford, she acknowledged, “She was the sister I never had. Robyn is my best friend, someone who knows me better than any woman has known me. By the time I met Bobby, Robyn and I had had enough time together. We knew our relationship had changed from friendship to more of an employer-employee arrangement. After a while I wanted a man, and he was the first man I considered a friend. Women are supposed to have husbands. We are validated by that, and we validate ourselves that way. Robyn no longer lives with me, but in her place which is about 30 minutes from me.”
So how is the weathering the latest storm?
Amazingly, well. Take it from me, she’s everything Angela said she was.
Leery (of the press) she may well be, but her true nature — to be trusting, giving, and kind — comes out in the interview.
Ironically, Waiting to Exhale sends out a message that most African American men are dogs and the few good ones are unavailable.
How difficult is it for an African American woman to find the perfect man? I ask her.
“There’s no guarantee that you’re going to get this perfect man in the perfect relationship. There is no such thing. It’s like the lyric of my song Exhale, ‘Everyone falls in love sometimes, sometimes it’s wrong, sometimes it’s right. For every win someone must fail, but there comes a point where you exhale.’ What that says is, ‘What we want as women and what men want from us is to exhale sometimes. Just sit down and go ‘Whew, that was nice. That wasn’t too hard.’ Not a lot of blues, we don’t want a lot of blues.”
Is she singing the blues?
“My mother didn’t bring me up to believe I had to get married, had to marry the right man, get a house with a picket fence, have kids and take care of him for the rest of his life. My mother taught me to take care of you first. That’s what’s important because there are no guarantees.”
In the film, the wife gets a financial settlement but loses her man. Is that a solution?
“Did you see what he tried to do (to her)? Did you see how manipulative he was. This woman helped this man for eleven years. She gave her life to this man. She helped build his business. It wasn’t like he came in and said, ‘Here baby, this is all yours.’ She was with him, by his side, the whole time. Then one day he walks in and says, ‘Huh, forget you. This is how I feel. This is what I’m going to do. I don’t care about you and the kids.’ Of course, I’m going to be very happy when she gets the settlement. as a matter of fact we should have kicked his tail in the courtroom.”
Doesn’t it send a message that women are in it only for the money?
“That’s bull. I work for my own money. Shoot!’
Would she, like the character in the movie, burn her husband’s expensive clothes?
“I would not. I contributed to buying them.”
Well, that’s one thing Bobby won’t have to worry about!
Unaware that she has been criticized for neglecting her two year old daughter, I conjectured that she must be a wonderful mother.
“Oh thank you,” she responded visibly moved, “but you probably have to ask Bobby Kris.”
What does she teach her daughter?
“I try to raise her as best I can with good solid values like my mother raised me. I try to give Bobby-Kris God fearing statutes. My mother is a very important influence in my daughter’s life. She raised me and taught me things that carry me through my life. I only hope I can be half the mother my mother was. I try to teach her to be truthful. Even today, it’s really funny. She’ll say, ‘ Yesterday I went to the aquarium.’ and I say, ‘What did you see?’ and she said, ‘I saw a shark and he bit me.’ Did the shark really bite you and she said ‘Yea.’ I said, ‘Now you tell me the truth. Did the shark really bite you?’ and she said, ‘No, mommy, no.’ Even that little piece right there, I want her to be true. I want her to be true to herself. It’s all right to play, but you can’t fool yourself.”
As a recording artist, Whitney has remained true to herself. She might have stayed in the soul-rhythm and blues-gospel market if it hadn’t been for Clive Davis, the president of Arista records, who saw her cross-over potential. After she made that move, she’s was criticized (by African Americans) for singing white not black.
How does she respond to those complaints?
“I have a gift, and it is to sing. Why isn’t that just accepted? Why does it have to be urban or white or this or that. How come it just can’t be, ‘Whitney Houston sings; do you like it?’ If you don’t, see ya!”
Yet, Waiting to Exhale, is exclusively about African-Americans?
“It gives us an opportunity to play roles we haven’t seen on the screen before, to portray women who are mothers, working women, decent women, women who go to church, women who try to take care of their families as best they can. I don’t think that’s ever been seen before.”
That should satisfy her urban critics.
Born 32 years ago in New Jersey into a show biz family, Whitney has two older brothers. Although her parents divorced when she was fifteen, she is close to both of them. Coming from a devoutly religious family, she sang in the church choir and emulated her mother, who was a well known gospel singer.
Asked if she could time-travel to another period in history, where would she go, she answered, “I’d like to go back to the period of Jesus. That’s something I’d like to experience with my own hands. I’d love to touch the blood of Jesus.”
And when questioned, Where does she get her inner strength? she replied, “I go to my God. I was raised in a household where my mother taught us that prayer changes things. I go to my savior. I ask my God for strength.”
Strength is what she needs to keep up with the negative publicity that always surrounds her.
Is it fair that African American men are portrayed so negatively in the film?
“Well, growing up with two brothers, that allowed me to see just how they think and how they really do women at times. I recall my brother having a girl in the front of the house, on the porch, waiting for him, and a girl upstairs in his room waiting for him, and he was playing both of them, baby. Back and forth, back and forth. I remember asking him, ‘Why do you do this? Why do you have her up here and her down here?’ and he said, ‘because they accept it. They go for it. She knows she’s down here, and she knows she’s up there, and they’re dealing with it. They like it like that. They want me that much.’
Has she ever been in a situation like that?
“Sometimes it gets a little woof woof,” she answered somewhat embarrassed.
Some of her Bodyguard reviews weren’t complimentary, so why did she choose to do another dramatic role?
“I chose Waiting to Exhale because I knew Angela Bassett was going to do it. That made me comfortable. The Bodyguard had its time and its place. It did its thing, it came and it’s done. I’m proud of that work. But this is something I’m really proud of because it makes a profound statement. It says something that hasn’t been said before. And I learned from Angela. I was in a scene with her, we were just rehearsing and she started to cry, and I said to her, ‘How do you do that? How do those tears…’ And she said, ‘I get it from you. I’m into your soul. I’m making up your own thing in here and I’m looking into your eyes and I can feel it. That’s how I do it.”
Does she like acting?
“I don’t like the waiting around. Anyone on the set will tell you I’m always moving around. When you cut a record, I’m usually able to say, ‘This is how I want it,’ or ‘No, you’re singing the wrong song, or don’t sing it.’ But with movies I’m sitting in a trailer. I’m not used to sitting around, having to hurry up and wait. You know the business.You have to find ways to occupy yourself. But crazy as it seems, I’m ready to do another.”
Which will be?
“It’s called The Preacher’s Wife with Denzel (Washington) and Courtney Vance. Penny Marshall is directing, and I’m starting it in January. It’s a very sweet film, a remake of The Bishop’s Wife with Loretta Young and Cary Grant. You know that one. Well, this is going to be African Americans. Chocolate city.”
Was racism a problem when she was growing up?
“I was raised in a Christian household. My mother and father did not raise me to believe in racism and bigotry or to be prejudiced.They raised me to judge for myself. How I wanted to be treated is how I should treat people. If they have a problem with me then it’s their problem, and they have to solve it themselves. I can’t get into ‘I don’t like you because you’re white, and you can’t like me because I’m black,’ because you don’t know me and I don’t know you. I may find out that I love you a whole bunch. I may find that I like you a whole lot. But if I put barriers up and say, ‘Well , because you brought us all over here in those little boats and stuffed us up in there,’ then yeah I might have an attitude with you. But that’s — its gone. We have advanced. We have kicked those doors down.”
Which does she prefer, acting or singing?
“When I sing, I get an immediate reaction. With acting the only comfort is knowing that I’ve done well, I’ve given my heart, and when the director says ‘Great, That was great,’ or when Angela says, ‘Good scene,’ you can feel it. But as a performer on stage, when you open your mouth and let the glory of God come through you, there’s no feeling like it in the world. Film can’t compare to that for me!”
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