Published January 05, 2009
Which stars are going to play at the 10 official Inaugural balls?
Sources tell me that it was only this weekend that President-elect Barack Obama’s Inaugural committee started sending inquiries to potential musical guests.
In the mix: Obama stalwarts Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, and Bruce Springsteen, I am told, were each asked to play at specific events around Washington on January 20th.
Believe it or not, the Jonas Brothers and possibly Miley Cyrus were also invited to play at a children’s party on January 19th at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
Meanwhile, Inauguration night should also see the Grateful Dead get back together for a major "official" party.
But plenty of Obama supporting musicians have not been invited to do anything yet, and the word is they’re not so happy. One star who hasn’t heard a word is Billy Joel, who performed a major fundraiser with Springsteen in New York last fall. So far, nada.
Joel would certainly be welcome at some "unofficial" balls, like the Creative Coalition’s sold out event on the night of the 20th with "Soul Man" Sam Moore, Sting, and Elvis Costello. Special guests may be popping into that one at the Harman Center, where more than 50 Hollywood actors will be on the guest list.
Other unofficial galas include Dionne Warwick’s event with Chaka Khan, George Clinton, and the reconstituted Temptations at the Marriott Wardman; a hip hop ball, and possibly something with Nile Rodgers and Chic for disabled vets. All of these will be in downtown Washington, D.C. to make party hopping possible. But there’s a lot of worry about an African celebration with the O’Jays and Nelson Mandela. The event is said to be "very far away" from the center of activity, which may limit cross overs from other events. National Harbor, Maryland — its location — may not even be on GPS systems according to the event’s website.
Also on the schedule: A still unannounced concert is in the works for Sunday the 18th with Alicia Keys and other guests. Aretha Franklin’s free show on the 19th at the Kennedy Center is a hot, hot ticket. Fans of the Queen of Soul should note that her band is playing Dionne Warwick’s show the next night, which means you know who could definitely turn up there as a special guest. And on the 20th: parties thrown by MTV and BET, not to mention Al Gore’s Green Ball, produced by Kevin Wall of Live Earth fame. (Note: MTV parties are for the very young, and require extremely clean-able clothing.)
After reading yesterday’s New York Times Arts & Leisure section, one thing is pretty clear: the film critics either don’t care about the Oscars or just don’t care.
The three main critics — A.O. Scott, Stephen Holden, and Manohla Dargis — offered their picks for the best movies, actors, actresses, etc of 2008.
Did they choose "Slumdog Millionaire?" "Doubt?" "The Reader?" "Benjamin Button?"
Alas, no. The Times critics went, shall we say, in a different direction.
Scott chose the animated film "Wall-E" and the repetitive "Milk," incomprehensibly added "Cadillac Records," plus the likeable "Rachel Getting Married," and the meandering "Happy Go Lucky."
Holden picked "Wall-E" and "Happy Go Lucky" also, but added foreign films "The Class," "Edge of Heaven," and "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days."
But it was Dargis,of course, who just flipped into another world altogether. (Note to her friends: make sure she puts a lot money in your Oscar pool. She doesn’t know what she’s talking about.) She went for "The Dark Knight," "Flight of the Red Balloon," "Paranoid Park," the ridiculous "Synecdoche, New York" and a film still unreleased and basically unknown called "Silent Light."
Dargis loved "Synecdoche," by the way. A film most reviled by anyone who’s seen it, "Synecdoche" earned four Best Supporting Actress slots from Dargis, and one for Best Actor. So she is completely on another planet. And that begs the question: are the Times reviewers even interested in this year’s Academy Awards? From these lists, I would say no. Not even remotely.
For the record, this column’s choices for Best Picture were from the real world: "Slumdog Millionaire," "Doubt," "The Reader," "Frost/Nixon," and "Gran Torino." Right behind them, I had: "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button," "Revolutionary Road," "The Visitor," "Vicki Cristina Barcelona," and "Rachel Getting Married."
This week, two groups will have awards ceremonies. The first is The Critics Choice Awards on VH-1 this Thursday at 8 p.m. eastern time. The Broadcast Critics pick these winners from nominees people like yours truly vote for. I have no idea what’s going on, but the show should be pretty stellar with lots of stars beginning their awards odyssey.
Then, on Sunday, the Golden Globes do their thing on NBC. There’s no way to predict what direction this group of 80 will go in for Best Drama, but "Slumdog" is a multi-cultural offering, a hit, and appealing to an international audience. They should go for that. In the comedy category, my guess is they will embrace the crappy looking "Mamma Mia!" because of the ABBA songs. But if the Globes wanted to surprise and impress, they’d choose Woody Allen’s "Vicki Cristina." I’m just sayin’…
As for the irrelevant New York Times: well, they did love the Scandanavian drama, Joachim Trier’s "Reprise" and another foreign film, "Let the Right One In." Again, if you’re in the room, convince her to pony up a lot of dough for that pool. You will win, hands down!
Rumors abounded over the holiday that actor Balthazar Getty was either fired from ABC’s "Brothers and Sisters" or is having his role diminished. What they didn’t say: Getty missed an entire episode of the Sally Field-starring drama this fall, the first time any of the major players didn’t have a line or two in an episode. Maybe ABC was testing the waters to see if anyone notice. Apparently, they didn’t … Deidre Hall leaves "Days of Our Lives" after 30 plus years on January 23rd. She’s the star, but show owner Ken Corday has decided to turn the dying serial over to 12-year-olds. Hall takes with her longtime co-star Drake Hogestyn, whose amnesiac character gets his memory back, remembers what Corday has done to the show, and decides to leave …