Oscar Attracts Politics as Kerry Announces Candidacy
Maybe you heard him announce his run for the presidency in 2004 last Friday night. If you did, you were at Ed Limato's swell soiree at his estate in Beverly Hills. But Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts made no bones about it: he's off and running.
Kerry told just about anyone who would listen at the star-studded Hollywood pre-Oscar event that he intended to be the Democratic Party candidate in the next national election. Forget about Al Gore. Kerry is dead serious. Among those who heard him make his pronouncement were Russell Crowe, Julian Schnabel, Kate Hudson and Miramax chief Harvey Weinstein, a major Gore supporter.
In fact, Kerry's appearance at the Limato gala has so far escaped press attention. But it seemed obvious that he was there to test the waters for Hollywood backing much the same way Bill Clinton and Al Gore used Tinseltown money and power to help them in the past.
"He's been going around criticizing Al Gore for picking Warren Christopher as his guy in Florida," a Democratic Hollywood insider told me the other night. "He's blaming Christopher for the debacle in Florida over the election and blaming Gore for choosing him."
Kerry's name had been bandied about for the vice presidential slot with Gore, the position that went to Joe Lieberman, but now he seems to be in a new gear. In just the last few weeks Kerry's name has started to appear regularly in news stories critical of the Dubya administration.
Kerry's sudden burst into Hollywood over Oscar weekend — and his very clearly stated intention to run for the nomination in 2004 — has irked Gore supporters who still consider the former vice president their candidate of the future.
One thing's for certain: Kerry has the money to run for president without thinking twice. His wife is Teresa Heinz, widow of Senator John Heinz of Pennsylvania and heir to the ketchup fortune. "Kerry has $650 million at his disposal," says my source."He has nothing to worry about with fundraising."
And if that's not enough, his stepson dated Gwyneth Paltrow.
A missed connection for most Oscar viewers from Sunday night: Almost Famous Oscar-winning script writer Cameron Crowe is of course married to rocker Nancy Wilson of the group Heart. Nancy and sister Ann have had numerous hits over the years such as "Barracuda" and "Crazy for You."
Now Nancy tells me that tomorrow night in New York she and Ann will perform on stage at Radio City Music Hall for TNT's Brian Wilson tribute. "We're doing a song called 'Don't Stop,' from Pet Sounds, and 'Good Vibrations,'" Nancy said.
Crowe, meanwhile, has just wrapped his Tom Cruise movie, Vanilla Sky, and sent Cruise whisking off to join Steven Spielberg's Minority Report with nary a day in between. Vanilla Sky, which opens next fall, is an English language remake of the foreign film Open Your Eyes. Penelope Cruz, whose Spanish accent seems to be getting worse, co-stars Cruise.