I know I said that this column would focus on the non-Oblivions of 2005, but what fun would that be?
Tom Cruise was a major Oblivion of 2005.
Last summer in a column title "Are You Not Entertained" I defended his behavior on both Oprah Winfrey and "Today" for the simple reason that I thought it was about time he let himself go. Cruise has always demonstrated the epitome of professionalism and kept his controversial views based in Scientology to himself.
But this year he indeed snapped.
It began when he fired his longtime publicist Pat Kingsley and hired his sister to run his image. Big mistake. The first thing he did with his sister at the helm was rail against Brooke Shields for writing in her autobiography that she took anti-depressant drugs to battle post-partum depression. Now, Cruise was entitled to his opinion. The problem was, no one asked him.
Next, he jumped like a lunatic on Oprah Winfrey's couch to declare his love for Hollywood starlet Katie Holmes, whom he is engaged to and expecting a child with. As if he wasn't getting mega-publicity for his bizarro behavior, he was also squirted in the face with water by a fake reporter during a premiere of his "War Of The Worlds" flick, and footage of Cruise calling the guy a jerk aired worldwide over and over and over again.
And then he lectured Matt Lauer on the evils of psychotherapy.
"Matt. Matt. Matt."
What happened to America's favorite movie star? He became an Oblivion, that's what, and it will be a true test of his movie-stardom when "Mission Impossible 3" comes out in 2006.
None of this makes Cruise a bad person, or even a bad actor. But even the world's biggest movie star can be over-exposed.
Renee Zellweger is an Oblivion.
Hmmm, let's see. I'm going to get married to a man I barely know, and when it doesn't work, I'll just have it annulled. That's not to say Kenny Chesney is any less an Oblivion.
Scooter Libby is an Oblivion.
"I know. I'll out a CIA agent to a few well placed reporters and then lie about it to a grand jury."
Doh! If true, Libby betrayed the office of the Vice President by divulging classified information for apparently political purposes (revenge against a critic of the Iraq war) and he betrayed his country in the process. Simple as that.
Russell Crowe is an Oblivion.
Yes, the "Cinderella Man" star is so important that if his hotel telephone doesn't work, he has the right to throw it at a hotel clerk. After all, he's got enough money to buy himself out of any situation. And just as I predicted, he bargained his way out of any serious trouble, and just like Zelwegger's marriage, it's like it never happenned. It must be nice. Perhaps I'll try it someday -- but only after I'm famous, of course. The little guy goes to jail for less.
Kate Moss is an Oblivion.
But the supermodel deserves another chance. I don't think it was fair that all the companies she worked for summarily dismissed her after she was caught on tape snorting what looks uncannily like cocaine. The British beauty recently completed a rehab program stateside. While Moss is indeed an Oblivion of 2005, primarily for dating notoriously addicted rocker Pete Doherty, she deserves to be welcomed back to the world of fashion. It was Moss, after all, who made "heroin chic" fashionable in that industry. A misstep should be forgiven and forgotten. It's not like she hit anybody with a phone.
Victoria's Secret is an Oblivion.
The first time I covered the Victoria's Secret fashion show a few years ago, I was psyched. Just what did I do to deserve such an enviable assignment? There I was, backstage with the world's most fantasized-about lingerie models.
I'm over it now, and I can't imagine the models themselves aren't over it, too. The whole production is just so juvenile. Hey, look at how hot we are! It's not the models' fault, though. Who could blame them for earning thousands of dollars for one day's "work"? The Grrr! is to the concept.
Supermodel Giselle Bundchen summed it up best during an interview when the subject of her modeling a jewel-encrusted bra worth some $12.5 million dollars came up. "It's crazy they do a bra like that," she told CBS's Harry Smith. "They can feed a whole country with that."
Well said, Giselle.
The Academy Are Oblivions
It's no secret that the people who vote for Oscar nominations and awards are oblivious to mainstream appeal. That's not necessarily a bad thing. We wouldn't want to see the awards go to every blockbuster every year.
But when it comes to the Oscar broadcast, it's all about mainstream. Last year when Chris Rock hosted the program over 40 million people watched, and that number was down from the year before. It's now ten weeks before the next Oscar awards show and the Academy has yet to hire a host for the show.
And they keep going back to Billy Crystal, who has been the best host since Johnny Carson gave up the gig decades ago.
But Billy can't do it every year (he turned it down last week) and from David Letterman to Whoopi Goldberg to Rock, with each try as host the ratings just go down.
It's time for the Academy to go to some mainstream performer who may not be the coolest person in the eyes of the Hollywood community. It's time for them to try Jay Leno as host. He's a guy who's well liked by the stars and by mainstream America. His show is afterall, the highest rated late night program on the air.
If Leno says no, they should ask Nancy O'Dell from "Access Hollywood" to come in off the red carpet and do some hosting. Why not put a woman who knows the industry better than most hosts do the hosting.
She can always hire a comedian to open the show with some jokes. O'Dell can certainly introduce Jerry Seinfeld as the opening act, or Nathan Lane can sing a song written by Billy Crystal parodying Hollywood.
The host doesn't always have to be the funniest person in the room.
The Collective Entertainment Press are Oblivions
While it is nice to see that the entertainment press are pretty much independent minded, as opposed to simply parroting what a star's publicist is telling them, this entire segment of The Fourth Estate has strayed well away from the reservation.
Do we really need to know why Nick and Jessica broke up? Do we really care that Brad Pitt is adopting Angelina Jolie's adopted children. If Jen Aniston is not sleeping with you, should you care whom she is sleeping with?
Tabloids that pay money for the "exclusive" pictures of Britney and Kevin's baby should be as ashamed as the stars who sell them. But that's the issue, isn't it?
The publications know that the covers and the associated blurbs will get you to buy the magazine. "Why Jessica Split Nick." "Brad Pitt Proud Papa." "Jen and Vince Make Out."
There's only one way the craziness will end, and that is to stop buying the rags. However, without the Oblivions buying the Oblivion magazines, well, pretty soon there would be nothing to Grrr! about because the ripple effect might actually get people in line with common sense.
And we wouldn't want that, now would we?
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