She’s the adorably blond, red lipstick-wearing teen who may be America’s best chance at ending a drought in ladies figure skating.
American figure skater Gracie Gold, ever the perfectionist as the discipline demands, at least looks the part along her desired path to prominence.
Sitting at attention on stage in Park City, Utah, late last year, cross-legged in front of a group of reporters, the 18-year-old had a faultless smile and not a hair out of place among her blonde locks. Gold appeared as if she awoke wearing her perfectly applied red stiletto lipstick—sponsor CoverGirl, of course—which she also modeled via Twitter and Instagram after setting down at the Olympic Village. She maintained that focusing on the task at hand, medaling for at the winter games, won’t be a problem.
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ and ‘Blue Jasmine’ have come under fire this awards season by the media, who’ve pumped out various hit pieces during the run-up to the Oscars. But the practice of the Oscar smear campaign is nothing new. Here are the worst in recent memory.
It’s a tale told by ace spinmeisters, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.
The Daily Beast
Each awards season, a deliciously inventive panoply of hit-pieces weasel their way into the cultural zeitgeist, debasing the year’s hottest contenders in film. The ridiculous practice began, naturally, with the godfather of yellow journalism himself, William Randolph Hearst, who in 1941 unleashed the mother of all Oscar smear campaigns against Orson Welles’s Citizen Kane, a film à clef based on the life of the aforementioned newspaper magnate. Hearst banned every newspaper and radio station in his vast media conglomerate from going so far as mentioning the film; reportedly got MGM head Louis B. Mayer to offer distributor RKO Pictures $805,000 to destroy the film; and Welles later claimed that a policeman approached him one night and told him, “Do not go to your hotel room tonight; Hearst has set up an undressed, underage girl to leap into your arms when you enter and a photographer to take pictures of you” (this allegation was never proven).
‘The Square’ is the definitive documentary on Egypt’s revolutionary uprising, and it’s already generating deserved Oscar buzz. But director Jehane Noujaim had to endure arrests and beatings to get it made. She tells Andrew Romano about the scariest moments and her controversial decision to return to Cairo to film a new ending—after she had already won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival.
The best documentary of the year may also have been the most dangerous to make.
When 50,000 young Egyptians occupied Cairo’s Tahrir Square on January 25, 2011 to protest the fascist regime of Hosni Mubarak, filmmaker Jehane Noujaim (she made 2004’s documentary Control Room, about the broadcast network Al Jazeera) was more than 2,000 miles away, in Davos, Switzerland, awaiting the arrival of Egypt’s leadership at that year’s high-flying meeting of the World Economic Forum. “’If the country erupts and I’m with them there, filming, then that will be an interesting story, because there will be a lot of people in the square with their cameras,’” Noujaim thought. “But of course none of the leadership showed up.”
In a night of the anti-apartheid leader's favorite songs, a lifetime of photos, and his best speeches, former pal President Clinton and Morgan Freeman paid tribute to Mandela.
A memorial tribute concert doesn’t get into full swing until former President Bill Clinton reveals some practical jokes pulled by the deceased. And so it was on Thursday evening at the majestic Church of St. John the Apostle on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, where a group of 100 or so had braved the piles of snow outside to gather for a tribute of late South African President Nelson Mandela.
Michael Stewart/WireImage, via Getty
In a night blending the anti-apartheid leader’s favorite songs, a lifetime of photos, and his best speeches, Oscar-winner and Mandela-impersonator Morgan Freeman, South African TV and radio host Gareth Cliff, and former President Clinton joined the Soweto Gospel Choir for what was called the first official international tribute since Mandela passed away at age 95 in December.
After such an assured first night, Jimmy Fallon already looks like a happy, permanent fixture in the Tonight Show pantheon.
Jimmy Fallon has scaled the highest height in television and is now posed proudly at the pinnacle. Having risen very visibly through the ranks of TV fame—from featured player on Saturday Night Live to host of his own very-late-night TV show, he is host of the newly renovated, Manhattan-based, blindingly shiny Tonight Show, the premiere of which proved emphatically and immaculately entertaining on NBC last night.
“Even if I weren’t involved, I’d be so psych’d to watch it,” Fallon said of his own first show, and it’s understandable if he doesn’t think of the series as “his own” yet, even understandable if he never does. The Tonight Show is an entitlement bestowed on a privileged few, with the host more the custodian of a showbiz heritage than the actual owner of anything.
What happens when two women interview ex-lovers about sex? ‘Guys We F@#ked’ is the anti slut-shaming podcast telling ladies they should be proud to do it.
The format is simple. Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, collectively known as the comedy duo Sorry About Last Night, contact former lovers and invite them to an hour-long podcast interview about sex. As they describe in their first episode “It was slutty, and then we pulled it back. We’re saying ‘Have a lot of sex… and be proud of it.’ There’s a real double standard. Christina Aguilera likes to sing about it.”
“There are many times in life to be shy, but my vagina is not shy,” Fisher says in the episode. “So this guy, his idea of dirty talk was to ask when was the last time I had sex with someone and I said yesterday, because it was after midnight and—it had actually been that morning—and he was not taking that well. So mid-sex, he stopped having sex with me because I have too much sex. ”
A Japanese woman traveled to America in search of the suitcase of money that was buried beside a snow-capped fencepost in rural Minnesota. She didn’t know ‘Fargo’ was just a movie.
The Coen brothers’ classic Fargo opens with the message: “This is a true story.”
Of course, it isn’t a true story but in 2001 it was reported that a Japanese woman had been hoodwinked by the claim and traveled to the U.S. in search of the suitcase full of money that Steve Buscemi had buried beside a snow-capped fencepost in rural Minnesota.
Jimmy Fallon can do sketches, he can interview celebrities, he can ad-lib snappy banter with his sidekick and eclectic house band—but can he be ingratiating simply by being himself?
Johnny Carson once compared the delivery of his nightly monologue to the plight of a man threatening suicide from a skyscraper window ledge “while down on the ground, the crowd is yelling ‘Jump! Jump!’”
Jack Paar lamented one night long ago that after years of struggle in show business, he’d ended up as “a night-light to the bathroom” for millions of viewers.
A band of renegade therapists has been treating patients with something a bit unorthodox: superheroes. Just think of them as the Justice League of comic book treatment.
A young boy sits in a psychologist’s office, playing with action figures in a sand tray. There’s an epic battle on the horizon, one that crosses traditional DC/Marvel lines. On one side there’s Batman, Spider-Man, and Superman. On the other, there’s an unpredictable fire-breathing dragon, with big eyes and sharp teeth. In an attempt to vanquish the monster, the superheroes step in and pummel him, knocking him to the ground. The dragon, now dangling by a claw from the edge of the sand tray, is on the cusp of defeat. But then comes a faint glimmer of hope: Wonder Woman swoops in to save the day, rescuing the monster from his bullies.
For that boy, the dragon is a filter, a way of depicting the impulsivity and loneliness he faces outside the confines of a doctor’s office. Wonder Woman represents his mother, the one constant in his life.
From vampire hunter to car salesman, America’s 16th president continues to resonate with the public—through pop culture.
Abraham Lincoln has had a busy afterlife. As if saving the Union wasn’t enough, the former president is now spending his time selling cars, provocatively chopping wood, and starring on Saturday Night Live. It may not always be pretty, but here’s how Lincoln is being portrayed in pop culture.
Louis C.K. and ‘Saturday Night Live’
You probably often find yourself wondering: what would Lincoln’s stand up routine have looked like? Well, thanks to Louis C.K. and Saturday Night Live, you can now breathe easy. (And spoiler alert: he’s hilarious.)
Leonardo DiCaprio, one of our finest actors, is about to turn 40—and he still hasn’t won an Oscar yet. It’s time the Academy get their heads out of their wrinkled asses and do the right thing.
Gisele Bündchen was not impressed. It was the night of Feb. 27, 2005, and the Brazilian über-model was playing the role of ultimate arm candy, strutting down the red carpet of the Kodak Theatre in a strapless white Dior gown. She was escorting her boyfriend of five years, Leonardo DiCaprio, who had just been nominated for his second Academy Award—and first since 1994—for his electrifying turn as industrialist-cum-filmmaker-cum-schizo Howard Hughes in Martin Scorsese’s The Aviator. Many believed that the 31-year-old would take home the Best Actor prize, not only for his stellar turn, but as fair recompense for perceived nomination snubs (see: Titanic, Catch Me If You Can). Alas, it was the star of another biopic—Jamie Foxx for Ray—that took home the little gold statuette, leaving Leo with an empty Oscar mantel once more.
“I figured I should go and support my man so I went there just for that reason,” said Gisele following the ceremony. “I don’t think he was expecting to win. I think I was more upset because I thought he deserved it more than [Foxx]. I was like, ‘He did a better job than [Foxx]!”
The Daily Beast
Now, Gisele is always wont to speak her mind—her fabulous post-Super Bowl rant (“My husband cannot fucking throw the ball AND catch the ball!”) is the stuff of legend—but on both occasions, well, she was right.
Things get metaphysical in one of the most masterful hours of television since ‘Breaking Bad.’ The HBO series' creator explains the secrets behind the episode. Spoiler alert!
Earlier this month, I interviewed True Detective creator and writer Nic Pizzolatto. At that point, only three episodes of Pizzolatto's gripping crime drama had aired on HBO. But the guy couldn't help himself. He was excited about what was to come—especially in Episode 5. "They’re like children," he told me. "I love them all for different reasons. But for me, Episode 5 is the most special of the children."
Michele K. Short/HBO
Fast forward a few weeks. On Sunday night, "The Secret Fate of All Life"—a.k.a. Pizzolatto's beloved Episode 5—finally premiered on HBO. It turns out Pizzolatto wasn't exaggerating: "Secret Fate" was the best installment of True Detective yet. In fact, it might have been the most masterful hour of television I've encountered since the series finale of Breaking Bad —and one of the most thought-provoking since, well, ever.
The 1976 movie darkly foretold the future of television news. Dave Itzkoff’s new book describes the drama behind the scenes, and the making of its screenwriter’s mordant vision.
You know the phrase even if you don’t know, or have never seen, the film. You may have have seen it on a best-film-clips-ever TV show. You may have heard it bellowed parodically by a comic, bug-eyed and sweating: “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore!” It was originally spoken by Peter Finch in his most famous scene as Howard Beale, the distressed, exploited newsreader of the 1976 movie Network, who is murdered live on-screen by his bosses for ratings.
The film, about a TV corporation’s ruthless, extreme determination to sensationalize its news show for a higher audience share, is both satire and—as it depressingly turned out—prescient prophecy. Dave Itzkoff’s book, Mad As Hell: The Making of Network and the Fateful Vision of the Angriest Man in Movies, both meticulously reconstructs the making of the film and sketches, with depth and sensitivity, the complex, troubled life of its screenwriter-creator Paddy Chayefsky.
TV’s ‘Real Time’ host has promised to target one awful incumbent in the next congressional election and drive that person out of office. This is an excellent idea.
Bill Maher’s liberal fan base has a new reason to cheer (and tune in): this season, he’s using his show’s considerable leverage to flip a congressional district. “There are 435 districts,” Real Time executive producer Scott Carter explains. “Most have incumbents running for re-election. We think our fans can help us narrow down the field of villains, hucksters, and boobs. But, in the end, the choice will be Bill’s.”
Janet Van Ham/HBO
Spoiler alert: The crosshairs probably aren’t going to land on a Democrat. That’s got conservatives predictably up in arms. Sure, the mockery-fest to come might be painful. It might also be unfair. It could even be occasionally stupid. But in at least three ways, Maher’s initiative marks a great leap forward in liberal-leaning entertainment activism. It’ s not just good for the left—or for ratings. It’s good for Republicans, conservatives, and, yes, the United States of America.
Aaron Carter Spills Love for Duff
“I’ll spend the rest of my life” to win her back.More
Isaiah Washington Back on ‘Grey’s’
7 years after firing for gay slur.More
'Wolf,' 'Hustle' Lead MTV Nods
But who will win Best Shirtless Performance?More
CLOSE YOUR EYES!
Nude Bieber Video to Be Released
Judge orders private parts blurred.More
John Travolta: ‘Let It Go!'
Speaks out about Oscar slip-up.More
Rob Ford Laughs Off Idea of Rehab
On “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”More