Author Archives: Hiscock John

GREER GRAMMER IS THE NEW MISS GOLDEN GLOBE

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has selected actress Greer Grammer Miss Golden Globe 2015 for the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards set to air live on NBC on January 11, 2015. President Theo Kingma made the announcement on November 20, 2014 from Fig and Olive Resturant in West Hollywood.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association has selected actress Greer Grammer Miss Golden Globe 2015 for the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards set to air live on NBC on January 11, 2015.
President Theo Kingma made the announcement on November 20, 2014 from Fig and Olive Resturant in West Hollywood.

Greer Grammer, the 22-year-old daughter of three-time Golden Globe winner Kelsey Grammer, has been crowned this year’s Miss Golden Globe.

Greer, one of the stars of the MTV series Awkward, takes over from Sosie Bacon, the daughter of Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick.

Her selection was kept a secret until she was announced at the star-studded Miss Golden Globe party at the Fig and Olive Restaurant in West Hollywood.

. HFPA President Theo Kingma made the announcement at the party, the first of the 2015 Golden Globe Awards Season, hosted by the HFPA and InStyle.

“We are delighted to have Greer Grammer continue the tradition and have her as our 2015 Miss Golden Globe,” said Kingma. “She’s following in her father’s footsteps in becoming a standout actress and we can’t wait to see what she does next.”

“I am flattered to have been chosen by the HFPA for this year’s Miss Golden Globe,” said Grammer. “It’s truly an honor to be included in this experience that so many incredible men and women have been a part of.

“I didn’t even tell my dad because I knew he’d tell everybody and it had to be a secret until the party,” she said. “I’m so excited. It’s going to be a wonderful year and so much fun.

“I’m really looking forward to being on stage with Amy Poehler and Tina Fey because I’m such a huge fan of them both. It still hasn’t really hit me that I will be up there will so many amazing people I have looked up to for so long.”

Greer, who was named after the actress Greer Garson, has already carved a considerable niche for herself in show business, having known since the age of five that she wanted to be an actress.

Greer Grammer Miss Golden Globe 2015 for the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards set to air live on NBC on January 11, 2015.

Greer Grammer Miss Golden Globe 2015 for the 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards set to air live on NBC on January 11, 2015.

She entered her first beauty pageant in 2008, winning the Miss Teen Malibu title and went on to reach the top ten of the Miss California Teen competition for four successive years.

She acquired an agent when she was 16, after convincing her parents she wanted to act for the love of it, not merely to be famous, and quickly landed a role on iCarly. She had her first movie role in 2010 in Almost Kings, then went on to appear in Chastity Bites and Life Partners.

She graduated from USC in June as a theater major. Her latest film, An Evergreen Christmas, has just been released

Greer is in for a busy year ahead,  juggling Miss Golden Globe duties with her role as Lissa in the fifth season of Awkward and a recurring role in the new series Melissa and Joy, which starts filming in the New Year.

“It’s all great because I love being busy,” says Greer. “I’m so looking forward to being Miss Golden Globe for a year.”

Previous Miss and Mister Golden Globe honorees include: Sosie Bacon; Francesca Eastwood, daughter of Clint Eastwood and Frances Fisher; Sam Fox, son of Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan; Rainey Qualley, daughter of Andie MacDowell; Gia Mantegna, daughter of Joe Mantegna; Rumer Willis, daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis; Laura Dern, daughter of Diane Ladd and Bruce Dern; Joely Fisher, daughter of Connie Stevens and Eddie Fisher; Melanie Griffith, daughter of Tippi Hedren; Freddie Prinze Jr., son of Freddie Prinze; and Mavis Spencer, daughter of Alfre Woodard.

The 72nd Annual Golden Globe Awards will air LIVE coast-to-coast on NBC with the pre-show from 4:00-5:00 p.m. and main telecast from 5:00-8:00 p.m. from the Beverly Hilton Hotel with hosts Tina Fey and Amy Poehler.

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GOLDEN GLOBE WINNING DIRECTOR MIKE NICHOLS DIES AT 83

mike nicholsGolden Globe-winning director Mike Nichols has died at the age of 83.

Nichols was nominated for six Golden Globes, winning in 1968 for The Graduate and in 1997 for The Birdcage.

Born Michael Igor Peschkowsky in Berlin in 1931, Nichols got his start as a stage performer, and in the 1950s co-founded the Chicago-based comedy troupe Second City, which honed comedians including John Belushi and Bill Murray.

As recounted in the book “Faces of America,” a young Nichols arrived in the United States knowing only two phrases: “I don’t speak English” and “Please, don’t kiss me.” The family changed its last name to Nichols after settling in New York City, where the family patriarch established a medical practice.

His directorial debut was Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? in 1967 which brought him his first Golden Globe nomination. A year later he had another critically acclaimed film The Graduate which catapulted Dustin Hoffman into stardom and earned Nichols his first Golden Globe win.

A string of highly successful movies followed over the decades, from Catch-22 and Carnal Knowledge, Heartburn, Postcards from The Edge  to his final picture Charlie Wilson’s War in 2007. Nichols also staged the TV mini-series Angels in America and theatrical productions of Barefoot in the Park, Luv, The Odd Couple and Spamalot.

Despite his stellar reputation as a director Nichols never forgot his roots in comedy. While paying tribute to Nichols during his 2003 Kennedy Center Honors, Meryl Streep and Candace Bergen read Nichols’ “Five Rules for Filmmaking”: 1: The careful application of terror is an important form of communication. 2: Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting dirty for. 3: There’s absolutely no substitute for genuine lack of preparation. 4: If you think there’s good in everybody, you haven’t met everybody. 5: Friends may come and go, but enemies will certainly become studio heads.

Nichols was ailing in recent years which led to a heart bypass operation in 2008. He died on November 19, 2014 of a heart attack. Nichols who was married four times, is survived by his wife, TV news anchor Diane Sawyers, and his children, Daisy, Max and Jenny Nichols.

 

 

 

 

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HFPA JOIN GORBACHEV CELEBRATIONS IN BERLIN

By Elmar Bieblgorby

On November 9, the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Mikhail Gorbachev was proclaimed “Man of the Century”.

The Berlin-based Cinema for Peace foundation organized a “Heroes” gala in the ballroom of the Hotel Adlon where the 83 year old winner of the Nobel Peace Prize was celebrated with eulogies and repeated standing ovations.  Among the invited guests, mostly politicians and artists, was a representative of the HFPA who congratulated the honoree on behalf of the journalists.

In his opening statement Cinema for Peace founder Jaka Bizilj answered the question: What has cinema to do with politics? “After watching the disaster movie 28 Days After (US President) Ronald Reagan stated the film made him see the nuclear armament in a new light. And Mikhail Gorbachev famously spoke about how deeply impressed he was by movies and news reels showing the liberation movements within the GDR. Moving pictures clearly helped change world history. “

Former Foreign Minister of France, Roland Dumas, called “my friend Mikhail’s cool head” as the reason for a “revolution in which not a single shot was fired”. The former Prime Minister of Hungary, Miklos Nemeth, praised the negotiating skills of the ex-Kremlin chief.

Golden Globe nominee Adrien Brody, who had traveled to Berlin with his father, Elliot Brody, thanked President Gorbachev on behalf of all people benefiting from the wisdom of political leaders such as the guest of honor. Klaus Meine, lead singer of the German heavy metal band Scorpions, sang “Wind of Change”, the hit song that became an unofficial anthem of the reunification of Germany.

The evening was moderated by US journalist Jim Clancy (CNN).

Honored as “silent” heroes were Stanislaw Petrov, who saved mankind from a nuclear war: A false alarm showed US nuclear missiles approaching the Soviet Union. Petrov defied his command by not pressing the red button to activate a nuclear retaliation. Also honored: Harald Jäger, the East German police officer who independently opened the wall and the Hungarian Patrol Officer Arpad Bella, who allowed the first hundreds of East Germans to escape through the Iron Curtain.

In his acceptance speech, Gorbachev warned against a reoccurance of the Cold War: “A true peace in Europe is not possible without a solid trust between the European nations—- and that includes Russia.“

 

 

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STARS JOIN THE HFPA’S LONDON RECEPTION

party2party3hfpa partyRicky Gervais, Frances O’Connor, Salma Hayek and Outlander star Tobias Menzies were among the 100 guests at the HFPA’s annual London reception, held this year at Soho’s Groucho Chub.

The reception, held to give HFPA members a chance to meet and mix with London-based publicists, agents and talent, is becoming a regular part of the film industry’s London social scene.

Ricky Gervais, who was on his way to film the season finale of his TV show Derek, did the rounds of the club’s Soho Bar, shaking hands and joking with HFPA members. “It’s a great event,” he said. “I hope you invite me next year.”

 

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UNFUNNY AND SEXIST: A GERMAN TV SHOW WITH HOLLYWOOD STARS

ELISABETH SEREDA CHRONICLES THE WELCOME END OF WETTEN DASS?

Elisabeth Sereda, HFPA

Elisabeth Sereda

The stars of Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth recently graced the stage of the German speaking live TV-show ‘Wetten, dass…?’ alongside Hugh Grant, One Direction, Herbert Grönemeyer, Eurovision Song Contest winner Conchita Wurst and a local Austrian folksinger with questionable politics called Andreas Gabalier.
I use the word ‘grace’ because that’s what real stars do for this show: add glamour to what is to them a weird interpretation of the term entertainment.
‘Wetten, dass…?’ is the longest running and – until recently – most successful TV show in Europe. It is a collaboration of Germany, Austria and Switzerland and is broadcast by one station each of these three countries. It will end its almost 34 year run in December. And there is good reason.
The show’s gimmick is bets: ordinary citizens perform weird, sometimes dangerous and more often than not downright bizzare tasks. They have ranged from assembling a V8 engine from parts and making it run within 10 minutes to 13 swimmers towing a 312-ton ship over a distance of 25 meters.
There was a nine-year-old boy from Vienna computing the shortest bus and railcar routes throughout the city from memory and a blindfolded farmer recognizing his cows by the sound they made while chewing apples. In addition to these tasks there are celebrities who bet on the outcome of one contestant, and if they lose they have to carry out activities that over the years have included anything from humorous to humiliating (some German celeb running naked through the city) to charitable.
Between the bets there is smalltalk with the stars and musical performances by additional guests that have included Michael Jackson, Madonna, Lady Gaga and anyone else who had a new album to promote.
The same goes for Hollywood stars: hardly a big name hasn’t subjected themselves to this, and we are talking huge names: Tom Cruise, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, David Beckham, Michael Douglas, Cameron Diaz, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Gates, Karl Lagerfeld, Mikhail Gorbachov, etc. The list is endless.
The original inventor of the show, Frank Elstner, hosted 39 episodes. The only other successful host was Thomas Gottschalk, a perpetually youthful German with angelic blonde ringlets and a taste in clothes that reminded 80ties music freaks of the New Romantics. Gottschalk left the show three years ago when a 23 year old contestant ended up a quadriplegic after a stunt he performed went horribly awry. This incident was the beginning of the end for ‘Wetten, dass…?’
The celebrity interviews had been strange for years but the next (and last) host, Markus Lanz, has been upping the ante for the past three years by asking such inane questions that the cringe factor surpassed anything any halfway sensitive viewer thought possible.

Video: Will Arnett talks about the crazy german talkshow

VIDEO: Will Arnett talks about the crazy german talkshow

During last month’s installment the host laughingly suggested that another guest was responsible for Megan Fox’s pregnancy. After it was cleared up that none of the guests including Fox’ co-star Will Arnett had anything to do with it, the conversation switched to how jealous Arnett’s wife must have been when she heard her husband was shooting a film with Megan. She was not. But Fox’s facial expression said it all – get me outta here. (Will Arnett described his experience perfectly during a visit on Jimmy Kimmel Live – see video).
When Diane Keaton later hijacked the evening with boundless enthusiasm and charm it was a definite improvement for the show. But most stars have had the Megan Fox experience.

Gerard Butler pours ice into his crotch and reads german essay

VIDEO: Gerard Butler pours ice into his crotch and reads german essay

There was Gerard Butler whose wager was for a man who claimed he could crack 50 nuts with his backside within a minute. He succeeded. But Butler had to pour ice into his own crotch while reading a German essay (see video). And Tom Hanks, who was forced to wear cats’ ears while assisting a guy hopping around the stage in a sack with a mixture of confusion and horror written all over his face. 50 Cent was asked how it feels to get shot. Stupid questions, boring banter and sexist comments are de rigeur.
A year ago the host called Harrison Ford ‘Indiana Jones’ so many times that the star’s look finally changed from bewildered to murderous. When minutes later Cher went over to the couch after her performance and then said goodbye, Ford took advantage of the situation and fled with her.
Hollywood celebrities have practised more deer-caught-in-the-headlights expressions on that show than they will ever need in their screen work. And it all came naturally.

Video: Tom Hanks wears cats ears and assists a sack hopping contestant

VIDEO: Tom Hanks wears cats ears and assists a sack hopping contestant

Why do they still subject themselves to this circus? Because their  managers, publicists and studios behind their films force them to. Up until a few years ago this was understandable – the ratings were huge, the distributors reach three countries and that kind of exposure and marketing leads to better numbers at the box office. But the ratings have dropped. Only between five and six million watched the last few shows, no more than an 18% market share, down from more than double that.
But back to Saturday night and the appearance of Lawrence and Hemsworth. Promoting a film with a target audience that never watches ‘Wetten, dass…?’ is questionable at best. Promoting it on a dying show is unneccessary. Especially since Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 is a surefire box office hit and does not have to subject its stars to humiliation in the form of Germanic humour (some might say a contractiction in terms).
Saturday’s show took place in Graz, Austria, birthplace of that guy who once terminated, pardon governed California.
The host introduced Hugh Grant with the words “the man with the world’s best Dachshund-eyes and an expert in beautiful women…“ Why Hugh Grant was there in the first place and what he was promoting remains a mystery. Grant lost his bet and had to eat freshly grated horseradish. He cried but whether that was really due to the horseradish or the subsequent questioning about his family planning is anyone’s guess.

Lawrence and Hemsworth were flown in from London where the premiere of their film took place two days later and where they participated in the more sensible part of promotion. Lawrence looked stunning despite a high fever – “I was so sick I thought I’d pass out“ she told the HFPA later – and both stars were greeted with screams by one half of the audience and not recognized by the other, another proof that the demographic didn’t fit.        Lawrence joked about her dog being a One Direction fan and was subjected to questions about kissing scenes, none of them original or funny. Then the host said something about the fact that no one knows that Liam Hemsworth’s mother is a teacher. No one in the audience cared, either. What boring info.
So the conversation turned to venereal disease. I am not kidding. The host talked to Hemsworth about Chlamydia. And this was the moment where sensible viewers prayed that the translater would get creative and save the star from this embarrassment. Lawrence and Hemsworth’s contestant lost the bet, too, and the duo had to decorate some cakes. A much less severe punishment than the preceding talk.
If all this sounds like an obituary to this show, it is. Hollywood’s mega stars won’t miss it. And did I mention host Markus Lanz was wearing Lederhosen? Enough said.

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HUGH JACKMAN TOLD HFPA OF HIS CANCER BATTLE

Hugh Jacjackman cancerkman has undergone treatment for his third bout of basil cell cancer in the past 12 months.

The first time was in November 2013 and the second time was in May this year when he was promoting X-Men: Days of Future Past and talked to the HFPA about it.

“I had a basal cell carcinoma taken out last night which is a skin cancer but it’s the most minor of them,” he said. “Unfortunately, being Australian it happens more often but please if you’re writing about it, tell people who are reading to get check-ups. Thankfully my doctors, made me get check-ups and it’s where they found it. Don’t be like me as a kid—- wear sunscreen.”

And he predicted: “I’m realistic about the future and it’s more than likely that I’ll have at least one more but probably many more bouts with cancerous cells.’

 

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ANNE SMILES THROUGH HER SPACE ORDEAL

Anne Hathawanne hathawayay has grown used to stressful times during her 16 year acting   career.

The Oscar winner has appeared nude on screen, jumped out of buildings, had her head shaved, played drug addicts, hosted the Oscars and won one, as well.

But Chris Nolan ratcheted up her anxiety factor to a new level in his latest film, the space exploration adventure Interstellar.

As one of four astronauts who embark on a mission to find a habitable planet in another galaxy, the 31-year-old actress spent much of the time suspended on harnesses, floating in mid-air, suffering from motion sickness and, in what could have been a life-threatening situation, immersed in frigid water with a serious risk of hypothermia.

But Hathaway, despite her slender frame and fragile appearance, is a robust trouper who has come through the four-month shoot smiling and with plenty of stories to tell.

She shared them with HFPA members when she met them to talk about the problems and pleasures of filming Interstellar in which she plays a scientist-astronaut named Brand.

The $160 million movie, which was directed by Chris Nolan and co-written by him and his brother Jonah, took her and the rest of the cast, which includes Matthew McConaughey, Jessica Chastain, Nolan regular Michael Caine and a giant spaceship, from cornfields in Calgary, Alberta, to a glacier that has been strafed by a volcano in Iceland.

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STARS BRAVE THE RAIN AT LONDON FESTIVAL GALA PREMIERE

keirabfi

Keira Knightly on the red carpet

Hundreds of screaming fans, some of whom had been waiting in the rain for 16 hours, welcomed Benedict Cumberbatch on the red carpet for the European premiere of The Imitation Game  at the gala opening of this year’s BFI London Film Festival.

The Sherlock star plays computer pioneer Alan Turing in the wartime drama..

Co-star Keira Knightley and other members of the cast – including Charles Dance and Mark Strong – also braved the rain on the opening night of the festival. Knightley plays Turing’s close friend and fellow-code breaker, Joan Clarke. Keira, in a dazzling gold gown, struggled to keep her hair under control in the wind and rain.

London Film Festival director Clare Stewart said: “There have been people waiting for the red carpet since 4am – I’m thrilled that Benedict Cumberbatch and Keira Knightley decided not to take a rain check.”

The festival, which is attended by several HFPA members, is screening 248 films at 17 emily blun tvenues across London over 12 days.

Edge of Tomorrow star Emily Blunt, speaking at an eve-of-festival gala dinner, described London as “the new Hollywood,” saying: “I think the locations here are stunning, the crews are astonishing, we have amazing studios and we have a craftsmanship here that has come from people working in this industry for years.

She was joined by Dhjango Unchained star Christoph Waltz who agreed, saying: “There’s more happening in London than anywhere else. All the business happens here.”

 

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GEORGE CLOONEY TO GET CECIL B. DE MILLE AWARD

He has won four Golden Globes during his career and now George Clooney will be honored with the 2015 Cecil B. DeMille Award.

69TH ANNUAL GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDSClooney, an actor, writer, director and producer, who is also known for his humanitarian deeds, will receive the award at the 72nd annual Golden Globe Awards on January 11.

“The HFPA is honored to bestow the Cecil B. DeMille Award to George Clooney to celebrate his outstanding contributions both in front of and behind the camera,” said HFPA president Theo Kingma.

The Cecil B. DeMille Award is given annually to those who have made an incredible impact on the world of entertainment. Recent recipients include Woody Allen (2014), Jodie Foster (2013), Morgan Freeman, (2012), Robert De Niro (2011), Martin Scorsese (2010), Steven Spielberg (2009), Warren Beatty (2007), Anthony Hopkins (2006), Robin Williams (2005), Michael Douglas (2004), Gene Hackman (2003) and Harrison Ford (2002).

Clooney last year appeared in Gravity and through his Smokehouse production company he most recently produced, directed and starred in The Monuments Men . He will soon be seen starring in the upcoming sci-fi film Tomorrowland for Disney.

Clooney’s achievements as a performer and a filmmaker have earned him four Golden Globes, two Academy Awards, four SAG Awards, one BAFTA award, two Critics’ Choice Awards, an Emmy and four National Board of Review Awards.

He is recognized as much for his global humanitarian efforts as he is for his accomplishments in the entertainment industry. In 2006, Clooney and his father, Nick, went to drought-stricken Darfur, Africa, to George Clooney press conference for "The Ides of March". The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, Mexico. July 12, 2011.film the documentary Journey to Darfur and the following year  Clooney, Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Don Cheadle and Jerry Weintraub founded Not On Our Watch, an organization whose mission is to focus global attention and resources to stop and prevent mass atrocities in Darfur.  Among the many honors received as a result of his humanitarian efforts in Darfur, was the 2007 Peace Summit Award, given at the eighth World Summit of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates.

In 2008, Clooney was designated a U.N. Messenger of Peace, one of eight individuals chosen to advocate on behalf of the U.N. and its peacekeeping efforts. Two years later, Clooney, along with Joel Gallen and Tenth Planet Productions, produced the Hope for Haiti Now! telethon, raising more than $66 million. The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences awarded Clooney with the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award and later that year, Clooney received the Robert F. Kennedy Ripple of Hope Award for his dedication to humanitarian efforts in Sudan and Haiti.

ELISABETH SEREDA LOOKS AT THE LIFE AND CAREER OF ‘THE SMARTEST MAN IN HOLLYWOOD.’

George Clooney’s life and career has always been defined by extreme contrasts. Born in Lexington, Kentucky, his first job was cutting tobacco.

But from the age of five he accompanied and watched his father Nick, a news anchor in the vein of Walter Cronkite, who moved the family back and forth between Kentucky and Cincinnati, Ohio, where he had his show. Nick Clooney later inspired his son to write and direct Good Night, And Good Luck about Edward R. Murrow, another newsman who tried to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

George was very active in baseball and basketball and tried out for the Cincinnati Reds but did not get a contract. Showbusiness was not first and foremost on his mind, if anything he saw himself following in his father’s footsteps. But there was the famous aunt, Rosemary, and her husband Jose Ferrer. Young George was an assistant on one of her tours. He also sold women’s shoes and developed a talent for drawing and caricatures. After his cousin Miguel got a small part in a feature film, he, too, pursued acting.

The first break in a major role came in 1984 with a sitcom called – funny enough – E/R. But it took ten years and a lot of cancelled TV-series and supporting parts such as his role as Booker on Roseanne until is big breakthrough in the drama series ER.

He likes to joke about his first feature film Return of the Killer Tomatoes! and while on ER he made Robert Rodriguez’ cult classic From Dusk Til Dawn, the romantic comedy One Fine Day and Batman & Robin.

„See that poster above my desk?“ he once asked during an interview in his production office while pointing at it: „That is there in case I ever get too big for my britches, to remind me how I ruined that franchise!“ he jokes.

It was the  trifecta of Steven Soderbergh’s Out Of Sight, Terrence Malick’s The Thin Red Line and David O.Russell’s Three Kings that cemented his reputation as feature film actor. He won his first Golden Globe for the Coen Bros.’ O Brother, Where Art Though? and proved that he could sell blockbusters with The Perfect Storm and the Ocean’s trilogy.With his directorial debut Confessions of a Dangerous Mind he caught the directing/roducing bug and formed his own company with – at first – Soderbergh and then longtime friend Grant Heslov, whom he met in acting class. With, among others, Syriana, Good Night, And Good Luck, Michael Clayton,Burn After Reading, Up in the Air, The Descendants, The Ides of March and Argo he established himself as film industry powerhouse.

Many in the industry call him „the smartest man in Hollywood“. Unbegrudgingly so. When it comes to his Golden Globe nominations he sets a record that is unprecedented in the history of our awards: so far he has been nominated in nine (!) different categories, including producer, writer, director and every male actor category. At this point he could only top this if he were to write a song or have a sex change.

Along the way he also became famous. He is, in fact, the most famous star of his generation. Or any generation. His level of fame is such that if he never did another film again, he would not become less known. He is famous the world over. With one exception: „When I went to Darfur and at the border to Chad we were held up at gunpoint, no one recognized me. That was the only time where I wouldn’t have minded a little fame! “ he laughs. That was on his first trip to Africa with his father in April of 2006. He is now known for his admirable fight for human rights in Darfur and South Sudan. His Satellite Sentinel Project uses satellite imagery to document Omar al-Bashir’s and Ahmad Harun’s atrocities. He visits The region regularly and lobbies Western governments to provide aid. I remember once visiting him on a film set when he was in his trailer, late for our interview which is very unusual for him. His very good reason? He was on the phone with the French foreign minister, discussing sanctions against the Sudan.

He lobbied Congress and has the ear of President Obama. And when that is not enough, he goes further. In March of 2012 he got himself purposely arrested for civil disobedience while protesting outside the Sudanese Embassy in Washington D.C. The idea for the satellite came to him while watching paparazzi watch him at his villa on Lake Como: „I thought, why not turn this around? Why not turn the cameras on warlords and murderers and beam the footage to news organisations around the world?“

The International Criminal Court in The Hague has being using this imagery to collect evidence for trials. „Our main objective was to keep the attacks from happening in secret.“ Clooney says. „Now we’ve hired a team of forensic accountants to go after the banks that launder their money that helps them buy weapons.“

Besides the Satellite Sentinel Project Clooney also founded Not On Our Watch with colleagues Don Cheadle, Matt Damon, Brad Pitt and Jerry Weintraub and is involved with the Enough Project and various other charities. He organised A Tribute To Heroes to raise money for the families of the victims of 9/11 and another telethon, Hope for Haiti,  after the earthquake.

He credits his parents and the era of his youth for his political and humanitarian involvement: „My mother was the mayor, my father ran for Congress. My parents were involved with the news and I think the news is very intricately tied to politics. There was a guy running for governor of Kentucky and I worked on his campaign when I was 13 or 14 years old. I grew up in an era where you had to be involved. There was the civil rights movement, the Vietnam war, the women’s rights movement. As a young person you had to be involved, there was no other option.“

His political interests inspire his work. Many of his film- and TV-endeavors have been fueled by that passion, from his live-TV-event Fail Safe that he spent a full year preparing, to The Ides Of March. As a writer he is particularly interested in subjects that deal with politics and the media.

And as a Hollywood star he has a better understanding of journalism than most. The HFPA has enjoyed a great relationship with him since we first interviewed him on the set of ER. Many other interviews followed. We have visited him in Gloucester, Massachusetts, on a boat braving The Perfect Storm and flew to the darkest forrests of Germany to see him direct  The Monuments Men.

And since the Cecil B.DeMille is a lifetime achievement award not a retirement award, we are looking forward to many more. He certainly has no plans of slowing down: Tomorrowland, Hail Caesar! and Money Monster are coming out in 2015 and there are more than ten projects in development including Hack Attack, an adaptation of Nick Davies’ book on the UK hacking scandal. Somewhere not so in between he will continue his humanitarian work that will include his new wife Amal Alamuddin, a human rights lawyer.

In short: George Clooney goes effortlessly from the red carpet to war-torn Africa. He does not scare easily. He is one of the genuinely nicest people you will ever meet, famous or not. He is also one of the smartest, well educated and has by far the best sense of humor in Hollywood. He is a great host and a loyal friend.

And he knows how to enjoy the crazy ride that took him from the Kentucky tobacco fields to the Hollywood Hills and the shores of a lake in Italy: „If you get to the position I’m in in life, you’ve really got the brass ring. You got lucky. And I think people who aren’t quite as lucky as me would be very angry if they didn’t think I was enjoying it.“

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WHAT A NIGHT!

HFPA GIVES AWAY  $2 MILLION—AND ANNOUNCES  A $7.5 MILLION CHARITY BONUS

HFPA Grants Banquet

Theo Kingma and Sofia Vergara

The HFPA gave away almost two million dollars to entertainment-related charities during a star-studded night of love, laughter and surprises at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

This year’s donations brought the amount given away by the HFPA over the last 20 years to $20 million—-and president Theo Kingma revealed to applause that another $7.5 million is available thanks to Guggenheim Partners, the new owners of dick clark productions, the HFPA’s Golden Globes producing partners.

” It underscores a new kind of partnership and we are going to make sure it is shared with those that are so deserving in an industry HFPA journalists cover all year,” said Kingma.

The evening featured a performance by actress Kristen Bell, who wowed the guests with the song, Wanna Build a Snowman from the hit movie Frozen.

Before the donations were announced Kingma, saying: “No star wants to hear silence,” called for a round of applause for Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall.

 The many celebrities who were there to accept the checks included Sofia Vergara, Nick Jonas, Jenny Slate, Andy Samberg, Channing Tatum, Kerry Washington, Rob Pattinson,  Minnie Driver, Morgan Freeman, Elle Fanning, Eddie Redmayne, Patricia Arquette,Logan Lerman, Jason Segal, Anne Heche, Franke Potenta, Chris Evans, Gena Rodriguez, Michael Pena, James Marsden and many more.

For the first time the grants were given at an evening banquet instead of at a lunch and marked the latest in ever-increasing amounts of money the organization has given to some 50 diverse entertainment-related and charitable organizations.

Kingma said: “We try every year to give as much as we can to these highly deserving organizations. It is gratifying to know that our efforts are appreciated and we are helping to further the cause of education and film preservation.”

As well as the preservation of film, the donations are for a wide range of projects, including higher education, training and mentoring and the promotion of cultural exchange through film.

Historically the Film Foundation has received the largest single donation and this year received $350,000. So far the HFPA has been responsible for the restoration of 85 films, from Stanley Kubrick‘s Paths of Glory to Federico Fellini’s La Strada and this year’s project, Sergio Leone‘s Fistful of Dollars. In a video message Martin Scorsese congratulated the HFPA on its “incredible contribution to cinema history.”

Morgan Freeman, accepting the check, thanked the HFPA for “a decade of support.”

Among its many additional charities, the HFPA provides scholarships, supports filmmaker training in Kenyan refugee camps and donates money to theater groups, musicians, storytellers’ foundations, film archives and youth projects, as well as many other worthy causes.


Watch the replay of the HFPA Grants Dinner Banquet

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