Posted by Danielle Berrin
My colleague Jonah Lowenfeld was quick to the draw that is the heated congressional race between Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, both veteran Jewish Democrats that are staunchly pro-Israel, but because of California redistricting, are now competing for the same seat in the House of Representatives.
In a nutshell, Sherman is the people’s congressman, a town hall meeting confidante who listens well to the needs of his constituents. Berman is the Hollywood darling, a power player in Washington who is well-liked and well-connected. As the influential political blog calbuzz.com put it, though none too kindly, “This is not a clash of two titans,” an anonymous source described as “Hollywood Democrat” is quoted as saying. “It’s a superstar congressman versus a schlemiel.”
Point taken, though Jews know better than anybody not to underestimate a schlemiel—they end up the heroes in plenty of Jewish folktales.
But a voice and a vote in the halls of power is something Hollywood cares about, thus, Hollywood cares about this race. And, as Phil Trounstine notes in his article, the industry’s big fish are making a big play for Berman: Back in November 2011, the three musketeers—Spielberg, Katzenberg and Geffen—hosted a Berman fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton that added $1.6 million to Berman’s previously $2.3 million campaign. Sherman had been the leading fundraising at the time, with $3.7 million already in the bank. But a dinner with Universal’s Ron Meyer, Paramount’s Brad Grey and Disney’s Bob Iger (whom Deadline.com recently reported collected $31.4 million in compensation last year) can change things.
Trounstine excerpts this pitch from SKG asking their industry brethren to support Berman:
Howard has been a champion of the entertainment industry since he was first elected to Congress in 1983. As a lead member of the Judiciary Committee, he plays a key role in shaping the copyright, trademark and patent laws that are so vital to our industry. And as the top Democrat on the Foreign Affairs Committee, he has fought to strengthen aid to Israel, continue U.S. foreign assistance on global HIV/AIDS programs, and improve America’s diplomatic standing in the world.
It’s tough to improve on the capsule summary of the race between Howard Berman and Brad Sherman in California’s 30th Congressional District offered up by our friend Gene Maddaus at the LA Weekly: A battle “to determine which bald, Jewish Democrat who voted for the Iraq War will continue to represent the San Fernando Valley.”
Which helps explain why the Jewish Journal, the largest landsman weekly in the U.S. outside of New York, has labeled Jonah Lowenfeld’s smart blog on the race “Berman v. Sherman: Two Jews, One District.”
As Danielle Berrin, who writes JJ’s “Hollywood Jew” blog, put it: “It’s a lose-lose for Jews. We have two and now we’re going to have one.”
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January 24, 2012 | 10:08 am
Posted by Danielle Berrin
The 84th Annual Academy Award Nominations were announced this morning at 5:30am PST (and that’s just ungodly) so here’s a recap of the noms that matter to Hollywood Jew:
-Woody Allen leads the pack with three major nominations – Best Director, Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay—for “Midnight in Paris” his delightful homage to the Paris of evolving eras, about a bored Hollywood screenwriter who longs to live in 1920s Paris among its famed literati and artist set. I loved this movie, light, lovely and romantic and my movie companion that day made it even better. Is it “Annie Hall”? No. Nothing will ever be “Annie Hall.” But it’s Paris—and Hemingway!—so what’s not to love?
-Israel gets its 10th Best Foreign Language Film nomination for Joseph Cedar’s “Footnote” about competitive father/son Talmudic scholars in modern Israel. Cedar was last nominated, his first, for “Beaufort” in 2007, setting off a string of three consecutive Oscar nominations for Israel through 2009. When I saw the film at a screening last month, there was a representative from the Israeli Consulate there and her reaction at the end of the film had nothing to do with the film itself, but how it makes Israel look: “It’s the real Israel! There was nothing about the conflict—except for the military checkpoint in one scene.” And except for the fact that a story about Torah scholars doesn’t typically spend a lot of time on the battlefield, so if it’s the real Israel, it was also, it must be said, a limited vantage point. Let’s call it everyday Israel for Israelis. “Footnote” has some stiff competition, however, with Agnieszka Holland’s “In Darkness,” about the rescue of Jewish refugees in Nazi-occupied Poland and Iran’s much talked about “A Separation,” (included, because, when does Iran not have a Jewish angle?) about a married couple who grapple with a seemingly impossible decision about their family’s future also earning nominations in the category.
-Jonah Hill is nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for playing Peter Brandt, the brains behind Billy Beane’s radical rethinking of baseball strategy in “Moneyball.” Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin also receive nominations for Adapted Screenplay. This was one of the first movies I saw this season and I found it surprising. There have been countless baseball movies in Hollywood history, they’re practically a genre, but this was so fresh, inventive and clever I found it riveting. And Pitt and Hill were so magical together I found myself hoping that they’d make another movie together. And lastly, Aaron Sorkin is so friggin brilliant, I have added spending a day inside his brain to my bucket list.
-Harvey Weinstein is having a very good year. Two years ago, everyone was writing him off, saying he was finished and now he’s back on top, referred to by Meryl Street at the Golden Globes as “God.” Now, if that’s true, it’s scary but at least there will be nice movie theatres in heaven. This year Weinstein championed “The Artist” a black and white silent film that was initially an unlikely contender, but which received ten nominations, in almost every major category including: Directing, Michel Hazanavicius; Actor, Jean Dujardin, Supporting Actress, Bérénice Bejo, Original Screenplay and Best Picture. Weinstein can also celebrate two other major nominations, with two of his leading ladies going head to head in the lead actress category: Michelle Williams earned a nod for her uncanny portrayal of Marilyn Monroe, her wiggles and woe in “My Week with Marilyn” as did Meryl Streep for playing Great Britain’s first female Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady.”
-“Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close” produced by Scott Rudin (which I have not yet seen) and based on the bestselling novel by Jonathan Safran Foer (which I read) earned Max von Sydow a supporting actor nomination, as well as a nod for Best Picture. The previews hint at a film full of treacly pandering so I’m guessing this will be last resort must-see-before-the-Oscars film, even though the book was good enough for me.
-Steven Spielberg’s “War Horse,” the most painful movie experience of my year, is nominated for best picture, an honor he shares with longtime producing partner Kathleen Kennedy, who saw the Broadway play less than two years ago and set the movie version into motion. But despite technical perfection and Disney touchy-feelyness it was so insanely boring I left before the end. And thus beings our segue to…
Starting with Spielberg, Steve Pond writes on TheWrap.com: “They shunned Steven Spielberg (no nomination for his animated film ‘The Adventures of Tintin,’ which won the Producers Guild Award three days ago), they loved Steven Spielberg (six nominations for ‘War Horse,’ tied for third among all films), and they shunned Steven Spielberg again (no director nomination).”
Albert Brooks, who was sensationally sadistic in “Drive” and recognized by the Golden Globes and the Independent Spirit Awards, wasted no time taking to Twitter to tweet his snub: “I got ROBBED. I don’t mean the Oscars, I mean literally. My pants and shoes have been stolen.” Then, he added: “And to the Academy: ‘You don’t like me. You really don’t like me.’”
Also absent from recognition was the movie “Shame,” one of the most interesting and discomfiting movies I’ve seen. Steve McQueen’s directing was stylistic and stellar and Michael Fassbender won me over in the opening scene. And not because of his acting.
THE FULL LIST:
Performance by an actor in a leading role
* Demián Bichir in “A Better Life” (Summit Entertainment)
* George Clooney in “The Descendants” (Fox Searchlight)
* Jean Dujardin in “The Artist” (The Weinstein Company)
* Gary Oldman in “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (Focus Features)
* Brad Pitt in “Moneyball” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
Performance by an actor in a supporting role
* Kenneth Branagh in “My Week with Marilyn” (The Weinstein Company)
* Jonah Hill in “Moneyball” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
* Nick Nolte in “Warrior” (Lionsgate)
* Christopher Plummer in “Beginners” (Focus Features)
* Max von Sydow in “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (Warner Bros.)
Performance by an actress in a leading role
* Glenn Close in “Albert Nobbs” (Roadside Attractions)
* Viola Davis in “The Help” (Touchstone)
* Rooney Mara in “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Sony Pictures Releasing)
* Meryl Streep in “The Iron Lady” (The Weinstein Company)
* Michelle Williams in “My Week with Marilyn” (The Weinstein Company)
Performance by an actress in a supporting role
* Bérénice Bejo in “The Artist” (The Weinstein Company)
* Jessica Chastain in “The Help” (Touchstone)
* Melissa McCarthy in “Bridesmaids” (Universal)
* Janet McTeer in “Albert Nobbs” (Roadside Attractions)
* Octavia Spencer in “The Help” (Touchstone)
Best animated feature film of the year
* “A Cat in Paris” (GKIDS) Alain Gagnol and Jean-Loup Felicioli
* “Chico & Rita” (GKIDS) Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal
* “Kung Fu Panda 2” (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) Jennifer Yuh Nelson
* “Puss in Boots” (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount) Chris Miller
* “Rango” (Paramount) Gore Verbinski
Achievement in art direction
* “The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) Production Design: Laurence Bennett, Set Decoration: Robert Gould
* “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” (Warner Bros.) Production Design: Stuart Craig, Set Decoration: Stephenie McMillan
* “Hugo” (Paramount) Production Design: Dante Ferretti, Set Decoration: Francesca Lo Schiavo
* “Midnight in Paris” (Sony Pictures Classics) Production Design: Anne Seibel, Set Decoration: Hélène Dubreuil
* “War Horse” (Touchstone) Production Design: Rick Carter, Set Decoration: Lee Sandales
Achievement in cinematography
* “The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) Guillaume Schiffman
* “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Jeff Cronenweth
* “Hugo” (Paramount) Robert Richardson
* “The Tree of Life” (Fox Searchlight) Emmanuel Lubezki
* “War Horse” (Touchstone) Janusz Kaminski
Achievement in costume design
* “Anonymous” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Lisy Christl
* “The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) Mark Bridges
* “Hugo” (Paramount) Sandy Powell
* “Jane Eyre” (Focus Features) Michael O’Connor
* “W.E.” (The Weinstein Company) Arianne Phillips
Achievement in directing
* “The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) Michel Hazanavicius
* “The Descendants” (Fox Searchlight) Alexander Payne
* “Hugo” (Paramount) Martin Scorsese
* “Midnight in Paris” (Sony Pictures Classics) Woody Allen
* “The Tree of Life” (Fox Searchlight) Terrence Malick
Best documentary feature
* “Hell and Back Again” (Docurama Films) A Roast Beef Limited Production, Danfung Dennis and Mike Lerner
* “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” (Oscilloscope Laboratories) A Marshall Curry Production, Marshall Curry and Sam Cullman
* “Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory” An @radical.media Production, Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky
* “Pina” (Sundance Selects) A Neue Road Movies Production, Wim Wenders and Gian-Piero Ringel
* “Undefeated” (The Weinstein Company) A Spitfire Pictures Production, TJ Martin, Dan Lindsay and Richard Middlemas
Best documentary short subject
* “The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement” A Purposeful Production, Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin
* “God Is the Bigger Elvis” A Documentress Films Production, Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson
* “Incident in New Baghdad” A Morninglight Films Production, James Spione
* “Saving Face” A Milkhaus/Jungefilm Production, Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy
* “The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom” A Supply & Demand Integrated Production, Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen
Achievement in film editing
* “The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) Anne-Sophie Bion and Michel Hazanavicius
* “The Descendants” (Fox Searchlight) Kevin Tent
* “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Kirk Baxter and Angus Wall
* “Hugo” (Paramount) Thelma Schoonmaker
* “Moneyball” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Christopher Tellefsen
Best foreign language film of the year
* “Bullhead” A Savage Film Production, Belgium
* “Footnote” (Sony Pictures Classics) A Footnote Limited Partnership Production, Israel
* “In Darkness” (Sony Pictures Classics) A Studio Filmowe Zebra Production, Poland
* “Monsieur Lazhar” (Music Box Films) A micro_scope Production, Canada
* “A Separation” (Sony Pictures Classics) A Dreamlab Films Production, Iran
Achievement in makeup
* “Albert Nobbs” (Roadside Attractions) Martial Corneville, Lynn Johnston and Matthew W. Mungle
* “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” (Warner Bros.) Nick Dudman, Amanda Knight and Lisa Tomblin
* “The Iron Lady” (The Weinstein Company) Mark Coulier and J. Roy Helland
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original score)
* “The Adventures of Tintin” (Paramount) John Williams
* “The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) Ludovic Bource
* “Hugo” (Paramount) Howard Shore
* “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (Focus Features) Alberto Iglesias
* “War Horse” (Touchstone) John Williams
Achievement in music written for motion pictures (Original song)
* “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” (Walt Disney) Music and Lyric by Bret McKenzie
* “Real in Rio” from “Rio” (20th Century Fox) Music by Sergio Mendes and Carlinhos Brown, Lyric by Siedah Garrett
Best motion picture of the year
* “The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) A La Petite Reine/Studio 37/La Classe Américaine/JD Prod/France3 Cinéma/Jouror Productions/uFilm Production, Thomas Langmann, Producer
* “The Descendants” (Fox Searchlight) An Ad Hominem Enterprises Production, Jim Burke, Alexander Payne and Jim Taylor, Producers
* “Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close” (Warner Bros.) A Warner Bros. Pictures Production, Scott Rudin, Producer
* “The Help” (Touchstone) A DreamWorks Pictures Production, Brunson Green, Chris Columbus and Michael Barnathan, Producers
* “Hugo” (Paramount) A Paramount Pictures and GK Films Production, Graham King and Martin Scorsese, Producers
* “Midnight in Paris” (Sony Pictures Classics) A Pontchartrain Production, Letty Aronson and Stephen Tenenbaum, Producers
* “Moneyball” (Sony Pictures Releasing) A Columbia Pictures Production, Michael De Luca, Rachael Horovitz and Brad Pitt, Producers
* “The Tree of Life” (Fox Searchlight) A River Road Entertainment Production, Nominees to be determined
* “War Horse” (Touchstone) A DreamWorks Pictures Production, Steven Spielberg and Kathleen Kennedy, Producers
Best animated short film
* “Dimanche/Sunday” (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production, Patrick Doyon
* “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” A Moonbot Studios LA Production, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg
* “La Luna” (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Enrico Casarosa
* “A Morning Stroll” (Studio AKA) A Studio AKA Production, Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe
* “Wild Life” (National Film Board of Canada) A National Film Board of Canada Production, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby
Best live action short film
* “Pentecost” (Network Ireland Television) An EMU Production, Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane
* “Raju” A Hamburg Media School/Filmwerkstatt Production, Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren
* “The Shore” An All Ashore Production, Terry George and Oorlagh George
* “Time Freak” A Team Toad Production, Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey
* “Tuba Atlantic” (Norsk Filminstitutt) A Norwegian Film School/Den Norske Filmskolen Production, Hallvar Witzø
Achievement in sound editing
* “Drive” (FilmDistrict) Lon Bender and Victor Ray Ennis
* “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Ren Klyce
* “Hugo” (Paramount) Philip Stockton and Eugene Gearty
* “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (Paramount) Ethan Van der Ryn and Erik Aadahl
* “War Horse” (Touchstone) Richard Hymns and Gary Rydstrom
Achievement in sound mixing
* “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (Sony Pictures Releasing) David Parker, Michael Semanick, Ren Klyce and Bo Persson
* “Hugo” (Paramount) Tom Fleischman and John Midgley
* “Moneyball” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Deb Adair, Ron Bochar, Dave Giammarco and Ed Novick
* “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (Paramount) Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Peter J. Devlin
* “War Horse” (Touchstone) Gary Rydstrom, Andy Nelson, Tom Johnson and Stuart Wilson
Achievement in visual effects
* “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2” (Warner Bros.) Tim Burke, David Vickery, Greg Butler and John Richardson
* “Hugo” (Paramount) Rob Legato, Joss Williams, Ben Grossman and Alex Henning
* “Real Steel” (Touchstone) Erik Nash, John Rosengrant, Dan Taylor and Swen Gillberg
* “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (20th Century Fox) Joe Letteri, Dan Lemmon, R. Christopher White and Daniel Barrett
* “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” (Paramount) Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Matthew Butler and John Frazier
* “The Descendants” (Fox Searchlight) Screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash
* “Hugo” (Paramount) Screenplay by John Logan
* “The Ides of March” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Screenplay by George Clooney & Grant Heslov and Beau Willimon
* “Moneyball” (Sony Pictures Releasing) Screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin Story by Stan Chervin
* “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” (Focus Features) Screenplay by Bridget O’Connor & Peter Straughan
* “The Artist” (The Weinstein Company) Written by Michel Hazanavicius
* “Bridesmaids” (Universal) Written by Annie Mumolo & Kristen Wiig
* “Margin Call” (Roadside Attractions) Written by J.C. Chandor
* “Midnight in Paris” (Sony Pictures Classics) Written by Woody Allen
* “A Separation” (Sony Pictures Classics) Written by Asghar Farhadi
January 20, 2012 | 11:52 am
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Gloria Allred, arguably the most high-powered, high-profile female attorney in the country, famous for representing wronged (and sometimes wrongful) women, is the subject of an L.A. Magazine profile this month.
Hers is a complex portrait. She built her legal career as an activist, railing against institutional corruption in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, for example (just guess). But of late has become rather eminent for defending the honor of mistresses, maids and porn stars against the often powerful, wealthy men who misuse them. In the 80s, she pressed the L.A. District Attorney so hard he capitulated and endorsed a program that forced derelict dads to pay child support. She also won cases against Holocaust deniers, sexual molesters and defended people with AIDS who had been wrongfully terminated from their jobs. Now she is best known for getting Tiger Woods’s former mistress Rachel Uchitel a reputed $10 million settlement for her silence. And of course, most recently, she could be seen representing Sharon Bialek, the first woman to publicly accuse former Republican presidential nominee candidate Herman Cain of sexual harassment.
All of which is to say that Allred, 70, is rather fearless. Except when it comes to one thing.
According to Ed Leibowitz’s profile:
[Allred] has sacrificed almost the entirety of her private life to her clients, and, less explicitly, to the demands of her ever-expanding public self. She hasn’t taken a vacation since the early ‘80s. Twice divorced, Allred is finished with dating. “I’m not interested in older men or younger men. A relationships is going to take a certain amount of time. Like if you have a plant, you have to water it. You can’t just leave that plant alone and say, ‘I’ll see you in two weeks.’
A millionaire many times over, Allred doesn’t collect fine jewelry or art. Her Mercedes CL500 is ten years old and looks it. The one great luxury she’s allowed herself is a $5.6 million oceanfront house in Malibu. She works there Saturdays and Sundays, and during the week lives in a Pacific Palisades condo she’s had since the 1980s. Allred doesn’t exercise beyond walks on the beach and doesn’t cook. “There are four steps to a meal,” she tells me. “You have to buy it. You have to cook it, eat it, and clean it up. I like as much as possible just to eat it, and maybe buy it.”
Allred claims only four friends - her daughter, Lisa Bloom, who is a CNN legal commentator; her law partners, Goldberg and Maroko, who were classmates of hers at Loyola Law School in the early ‘70s; and Fern Brown Caplan, whom she met on her first day of high school. She says she hasn’t had time to find new ones. “I know how to conserve my energy so I don’t waste it,” she explains. “If I’m going to get involved in personal dramas or worrying about the past, that’s not a good use of my time and energy.”
Later in the article, Leibowitz writes about her two marriages: Her first husband, “a blond, blue-eyed senior” she met as a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, got her pregnant at 19, suffered from bipolar disorder and committed suicide not long after that; the second, William Allred, a self-made millionaire who sold aeronautical equipment, encouraged her to finish law school and then once she became a prominent attorney, was indicted for selling counterfeit goods to the U.S. government. Between marriages, she was raped at gunpoint while vacationing in Acapulco.
I can’t remember the last time I read a profile that so thoroughly lays bare how early traumas lead to later psychic motivations. It’s clear why Allred has a soft spot for mistreated women, and why, vacationing isn’t at the top of her bucket list. But there’s a case to be made against such a carefully controlled life.
Picasso famously said, “Without great solitude, no serious work is possible.” Potential needs space in which creativity can sow and every individual has to set boundaries around what makes them feel safe in the world. But too much safety can be stifling; it is often openness, risk and struggle that leads to growth. Professionally, Allred is at her peak, a Queen. It is, however, striking that someone who is so fearless in her practice and so confident in front of the cameras is terrified of getting close to others. Spiritually, she has a lot in common with those plants she talked about, stiff, solo, desperate for water.
January 19, 2012 | 5:00 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
The first high profile Hollywood mission to Israel took place in 1984, according to my research, and was hosted by renowned William Morris agent Stan Kamen and a young Sherry Lansing, then an up and coming executive at 20th Century Fox. The big headliners on that trip were Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon, whom Lansing said were back then “the equivalent of Brad Pitt.” Well, almost anyway. As I was writing about the trip for my upcoming Israel series, I came across this transcript from CNN’s Larry King Live tribute to Jack Lemmon just after he died. Matthau’s son Charlie called in to the show to share one salient memory from his youth:
KING: Charlie Matthau in New York, thanks very much for spending some moments with us. How are we going to remember Jack Lemmon?
C. MATTHAU: Well, I think the way I’m going to remember him is in 1984, the Lemmons and the Matthaus took a trip to Israel, and my father took us out to a deli in Tel Aviv. And Jack ordered fried shrimp and a chocolate frapp. So, 12 years later, when I got to direct them in the “Grass Harp” Jack had an idea for a scene, and he whispered it to me, and I said, that is great, let’s try that.
And my dad looked at me, and he said, what are you listening to him for? He orders fried shrimp and a chocolate frapp in a Jewish deli!
January 17, 2012 | 12:17 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
I literally cracked up when I read the actor Josh Malina’s mock-Mel Gibson-Maccabee script for the first time (penned exclusively for The Jewish Journal). Then, I read it again and decided it’s clever enough and funny enough to be its own movie. “Scary Maccabee” or something like that. Malina’s one-page script mockumentary “Dirty Jew-Dah” is a very good reason for him to quit acting and write the entire screenplay because I’m dying to read it.
Gibson, who famously quipped (during a 2006 DUI incident), “The Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world,” apparently less-famously followed that with, “and I want to make movies out of all of them.”
Imagine my shock when a friend who works at Warner Bros. secretly e-mailed me the first page of Mel’s screenplay for his film…
Read the full story here.
January 17, 2012 | 12:09 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Adam Perlman, a Harvard grad-turned-Hollywood writer has co-created a pretty clever web video with Kiran Deol entitled, “White People Problems.” It’s Woody Allen meets Larry David meets the entitlement generation. Thought I’d post since blogging will be light these next few weeks as I work on my long-time-coming Hollywood/Israel series and… the Oscar issue.
January 16, 2012 | 7:13 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
John Miller, the onetime LAPD officer-turned-Assistant Director of Public Affairs for the FBI-turned-CBS news correspondent recently appeared on Charlie Rose to discuss covert intelligence operations in Iran. The discussion emerged out of yet another assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, who was killed by a car bomb last week.
During the nearly hour-long conversation about the Iranian nuclear program and whether or not, at this point, it is even possible to stop it, Miller illustrated one possible “doomsday” scenario that both Israel and the United States are trying to avoid. At a time in history when Jews are more fortunate than they’ve ever been (at least, if we’re counting, since Biblical times in the days of the Temple), the following scenario is genuinely terrifying and represents a threat to the stability of world Jewry:
I think the thing we’re kind of talking around here is the doomsday scenario. Which is: it goes a step too far and at some point, a country, be it the United States or just as likely Israel, says ‘I’m gonna identify those facilities; I’m gonna take them out with airstrikes.’ And then you watch how quickly the world can change in ten days. Then there is counter-attacks; let’s say, that if we’re projecting, that would not necessarily mean Iranian military action but Hezbollah launching hundreds of missiles from Beirut into Israel, then the Israeli counter-strike in Lebanon, and then whatever the U.S. does, and then you’re deep into, ‘Well they’re not going to go to war with the United States at that point, but what terrorist attacks will Iranian surrogates—Al Quds, Hezbollah—carry out in places like Bahrain or even South America at U.S., Israeli and Jewish targets? And all that could happen in a couple of weeks.
January 15, 2012 | 10:14 pm
Posted by Danielle Berrin
Ricky Gervais plays it safe. Harvey Weinstein is “God” and Seth Rogen admits “a massive erection” at the 2012 Golden Globe Awards.
Here’s a loose collection of memorable moments for Hollywood Jews and their tribal sensibilities at the annual ceremony everyone hates to love:
Howard Gordon takes home an award for best television series – drama, for “Homeland,” based on the Israeli format “Hatufim (Prisoners of War)” but does not even mention Israel in his acceptance speech! Instead, Gordon thanks his agent, Rick Rosen at WME (William Morris Endeavor) who brought him the show, Dana Walden and Gary Newman at 20th Century Fox, who had a first look deal with Gordon but graciously passed the show to Showtime for whom it was more suitable. Gordon also mentions David Nevins, “who has been the great champion of this show from the beginning” because Nevins picked up the show for Showtime in one of his first moves at the company after he left Imagine Entertainment (for the full story, tune in to my upcoming series on the deepening relationship between Hollywood and Israel).
Entertainment blogger Nikki Finke, who “live snarks” the ceremony writes: “Well the HFPA morons get at least one award right. Homeland was the best TV I’ve seen in a long, long time. Claire Danes was transformative. Damien Lewis even better than in Band Of Brothers. Mandy Patinkin not annoying like he usually is. Granted, it’s a remake of an Israeli show. But I’d follow 24‘s Howard Gordon anywhere that terrorism takes him.”
Madonna, clad in bulging biceps and decolletage, wins Best Original Song for writing and performing “Masterpiece,” the theme song from her directorial debut feature “W.E.,” which she also wrote. Though few will likely see the film (remember “Swept Away?” Neither do I), Madge thanks her distributor Harvey Weinstein, for giving her a chance to be even more smug about her talents. She calls him “The Punisher.” A reaction shot from the crowd shows Weinstein cracking up.
Peter Dinklage wins Best Supporting Actor for a Television Series – Drama, for “Game of Thrones” created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, and although not Jewish, appreciates his mother’s admonition that his competitor, Guy Pierce would win for “Mildred Pierce.” “We love our moms cause they keep us humble,” Dinklage said wryly.
Steven Spielberg wins Best Animated Feature for “The Adventures of Tintin,” which I haven’t seen but must be better than “War Horse,” and thanks fellow M-O-T studio chiefs: “I want to thank two studios that really proved the adage that Peter [Jackson] and I could have made the telephone book if we wanted to: I want to thank Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton and…Brad Grey [Paramount] for his courage.” Finke notes the diplomacy in Spielberg’s speech, adding her comment: “Hilarious, considering that Steven et al at DreamWorks did everything they could to get Grey fired when Paramount owned them.”
Standing beside a beautiful Kate Beckinsale, the recently married Seth Rogen (Rabbi Sharon Brous performed the nuptials) admits trying to “conceal a massive erection,” at which point Beckinsale blushes and begins to giggle uncontrollably.
The incomparable Woody Allen wins Best Screenplay for “Midnight in Paris,” topping Steve Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin’s “Moneyball” and Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” but true to form, does not show to receive his award. This prompts presenter Nicole Kidman to flip her hair and chide, “Come and get it, Woody.”
Madonna presents the Best Foreign Film award to the Iranian film, “A Separation,” which beats Angelina Jolie’s stellar debut feature “In the Land of Blood and Honey” and Yimou Zhang’s “The Flowers of War.” The filmmakers thank the Iranian people, whom, among much political friction between the U.S. and the rapidly nuclearizing nation, they insist are “a peace-loving people.”
Claire Danes wins Best Actress for Television Series—Drama, for her starring role as a suspicious, bipolar CIA agent on “Homeland.” Her performance is pretty exceptional; she does crazy well, but everytime I see her break down, I am haunted by the final scene of “Romeo and Juliet” when her ridiculously overwrought sobbing turned Shakespearean tragedy into melodramatic camp. Danes says, “I first won this award when I was 15 for ‘My So Called Life’ and I was stunned and utterly overwhelmed, and the first thing I did when I walked offstage was burst into tears because I realized I forgot to thank my parents.” Tonight, however, she had a second chance, since her mother was her date. “Any fulfillment I have as a person and an actor I owe in large part to you,” she said, adding thanks to her husband, British actor Hugh Dancy “who keeps me sane and happy as I play someone who is not so sane and happy.” Danes also thanks Gideon Raff, the creator of the original Israeli format “Hatufim” and a co-writer on “Homeland” but again, no mention of Israel. The horror! The horror!
Octavia Spencer wins Best Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama for her role as a beleaguered housekeeper in “The Help” and is the only award winner the entire evening to draw attention to the marginalized. In a timely tribute to the slain civil rights leader, Spencer quoted Martin Luther King Jr.: “Martin Luther King Jr. once said, ‘All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance,” and then thanked the film’s champions, among them Steven Spielberg and his second-in-command, Stacey Snyder, “Everybody at Dreamworks, everybody,” Spencer said.
“Modern Family” once again snags Best TV Series Comedy or Musical and creator Steve Levitan and actress Sofia Vergara traded off acceptance speech lines in a mock bilingual joke where Levitan appeared to be translating Vergara’s words, though he was really telling Hollywood film actresses to give their phone numbers to “pasty and nervous and out-of-shape” writers who, according to Levitan, make great lovers. Finke seems to have a crush: “Not only is Steve Levitan gorgeous, but he’s also the only genuinely funny guy 24/7 in Hollywood. (As Brad Grey when he was a manager once said about his client Levitan: ‘He’s the only Jewish guy I know who’s a 40 tall.’)”
Meryl Streep, in her acceptance speech for Best Actress for playing Margaret Thatcher in “The Iron Lady,” said, “I just want to thank my agent, Kevin Huvane, and God—Harvey Weinstein – ‘The Punisher.’ Old testament, I guess…” Weinstein is back on top after a few destabilizing years filled with financial woe. Many in the industry were about to write him off, but as Finke writes, “Now he’s The Don again.”
Case in point: “The Artist” by Michel Hazanavicius and produced by The Weinstein Company wins Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy.
George Clooney wins Best Actor for Motion Picture Drama for Alexander Payne’s “The Descendants” (Payne considers himself “1/16th Jewish” and has visited Israel several times), and the film also wins Best Motion Picture – Drama. But the best line comes when Clooney thanks fellow nominee Michael Fassbender for taking on the full-frontal nudity mantle in “Shame” by suggesting he play golf by swinging his body side to side.
If the Globes are any indicator, it looks like the Oscars will be a face off between “The Artist” and “The Descendants.”
WME founding partner Ari Emanuel, standing at the top of the stairs during a crowd shot
Universal Pictures chief Ron Meyer sitting against the wall dividing the all-important movie stars and the fringe TV hoi polloi
Sony Pictures Co-Chair Amy Pascal sitting next to Brad and Angelina
Sony Chair and CEO Michael Lynton (and author of the Newsweek rabbi list) sitting near George Clooney
And Harvey Weinstein, who got almost as many close-ups as Angelina Jolie
Alessandra Stanley writes in the New York Times:
Under all the froth, fuss and Champagne fizz, the Golden Globes are a sideshow that has swelled by straining and striving for industry relevance. Mr. Gervais put it less delicately. The Golden Globes are to the Oscars, he said, what Kim Kardashian is to Kate Middleton, “a bit louder, a bit trashier, a bit drunker and more easily bought.”
The Golden Globes are also a little like the Iowa caucuses: neither contest is a reliable harbinger, both are decided in a mystifying process by an unrepresentative group of voters, and yet merely by being first and so closely watched, both matter. So much so that eventual winners, like presidential candidates, almost always show up.
Indeed, the stars were out in full force last night: Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, George Clooney and his latest arm candy girlfriend, Stacy Keibler, Madonna, Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis and Sacha Baron Cohen. The star power attracts the television audience (according to Finke, the HFPA and the telecast producer, Dick Clark Productions make approximately $30 million on the Globes), and the ceremony is often ridiculed and derided for pandering to movie stars and powerful studios
The best thing about the Golden Globes is what Stanley calls “the scrim of informality” which is aided and abetted by one thing: the presence of alcohol. Lots of it. It may not be as prestigious as the Oscars but it looks like much more fun.