"Sometimes I just think, Are you serious that I'm saying this right now, that I have to talk about what is going on in America today?" director Lee Daniels told Indiewire earlier this week about his new film The Butler. Indeed, his film's survey of major events in the struggle for black civil rights in America feels simplified, if not dumbed-down—if not outright condescending.
If you see Arianna Huffington today, don't forget to say "xronia polla." The pundit, author and Greek native is 59. Others celebrating today: Beth Ostrosky Stern is turning 37. Actress Diane Kruger is turning 33. Paul Sevigny is 38. Forest Whitaker is 48. Guitar legend Joe Satriani turns 53. David Easton, the prominent interior designer, is turning 73. Club owner Don Hill is 65. Real estate scion Dan Tishman is turning 54. Former wrestler (and governor) Jesse Ventura is 58. Actor Scott Foley is turning 37. Marky Ramone of The Ramones is 56. Brian Austin Green is 36. And Brigitte Nielsen celebrates her 46th birthday today.
♦ Following reports in July that Tory Burch was offering a 30 percent stake in her hugely successful womenswear and accessories label, she now says that the company is not for sale. Also, she says the economy has had an impact on her designs: "I don't think women want to be over-the-top anymore. They want something that's chic and elegant, but not such a big statement." [WWD]
♦ If you've noticed slightly fewer giraffe-like teens with unplaceable accents on the streets of Manhattan, it's because in a sobering indicator of just how bad things are, Elite has slashed 60 models from its roster. [Fashionista]
PrivacyWatch celebrity sightings are submitted by our millions of Defamer operatives. We'd like to remind you that this feature is powered by you, so if you want to see more installments of PrivacyWatch, then all you've got to do is to send us your sightings. Submit yours to tips[AT]defamer.com (please put "sighting" or "PrivacyWatch" in the subject line so we don't lose them) and tell everyone about the time you saw Courtney Love pawing through Benjamin Moore paint samples in Santa Monica.
PrivacyWatch celebrity sightings are submitted by our readers, and are posted several times a week, so send them in often—the fate of the universe relies upon it! Submit yours to tips[AT]defamer.com (please put "sighting" or "PrivacyWatch" in the subject line so we don't lose them) and tell everyone about the time you stumbled upon Woody Harrelson telling a Yoga studio receptionist about a marvelous new contraption that turns poop into drinking water.
· Like Mr. Tumnus having his way with Keira Knightly in a darkened family library, the BAFTAs make sweet, desperate love to Atonement, lavishing 14 nominations on the film; runners-up No Country For Old Men and There Will Be Blood (nine nods each), like adolescents wandering in on the lovers in mid-thrust, stare with a mix of jealousy and immature incomprehension at the act of carnality unfolding in front of them. (We now end this incredibly labored run of Atonement analogies.) [Variety]
· Breakout Juno star Ellen Page entrusts her red-hot career to first-time director Drew Barrymore, with Page taking a role as a roller-derby-playing "alterna-teen" (no need to stretch too far coming off a hit) in Whip It!
·The future of online entertainment is now, and Forest Whitaker is stepping boldly into the brave, new world of selling out interactively: the Oscar winner is teaming with Pepsi for a web-based fantasy game called Dewmocracy, in which players will ultimately help create a new, totally extreme flavor of The Dew . [Variety]
· In belt-tightening measures meant to help them survive the strike, agencies are cutting back on overtime, travel, expenses, and baby consumption. With the vast majority of their revenue tied to TV and film, a prolonged work stoppage could mean that chop-shops like CAA would no longer be able to afford the freshest, straight-from-the-nursery infants they're accustomed to gobbling, and may have to temporarily switch to cheaper, lower-quality frozen toddlers until business returns to normal levels. [Variety]
PrivacyWatch celebrity sightings are submitted by our readers, and are posted several times a week, so send them in often. Submit yours to tips[AT]defamer.com (please put "sighting" or "PrivacyWatch" in the subject line so we don't lose them) and tell everyone about the time you saw Drew Barrymore mackin on the Mac guy.
PrivacyWatch celebrity sightings are submitted by our readers, and are posted several times a week, so send them in often. Submit yours to tips[AT]defamer.com (please put "sighting" or "PrivacyWatch" in the subject line so we don't lose them) and tell everyone about the time Mike Tyson whipped out his own camera at the Farmers Market to request a photograph of you.
· Forest Whitaker will put his Oscar-winning talents to the ultimate test by trying to match acting chops with Monosyllabic Method master Keanu Reeves in The Night Watchman. [Variety]
· Professional badass Ray Winstone reportedly signs up to play Harrison Ford's sidekick in the upcoming Indy 4. [THR]
· Paramount promotes Austin Powers second unit guy Marco Schnabel to full-fledged director on Mike Myers' new funny-talking-guru film, perhaps hoping that a trusted, familiar face will keep the actor from freaking out and abandoning the project after a week of shooting. [Variety]
· Jason Alexander takes a role in one of the roughly 6,000 comedy projects ABC has developed this pilot season. (It's about a wacky police station, if you must know.) [THR]
· Oprah anoints Amazing Race creators Bert Van Munster and Elise Doganieri as showrunners for her upcoming reality project, Oprah Winfrey's The Big Give, in which TV's infinitely generous demigod will hand do-gooders a pile of money and challenge them to use it in a way that properly reflects Her beneficence. [Variety]
PrivacyWatch celebrity sightings are submitted by our readers, and are posted several times a week, so send them often—but please pull over if you plan on Blackberrying them from the road. Submit yours to tips[AT]defamer.com (please put "sighting" or "PrivacyWatch" in the subject line) and let everyone know about the time you saw David "Dookie Drawers" Spade having brunch.
The Defamer Special Correspondent On Oscar Parties Which Began After We Were Already Passed Out And Didn't End By The Time We Regained Consciousness This Morning, after somehow surviving the horrors of a Foxx-Whitaker sandwich, has just filed this report from last night's after-orgy at Soho House's temporary outpost in the Hills, where virtually everyone in Hollywood put in an appearance (Scorsese! Leo! Sober Lohan!) at some time point during the night. The list of names far too numerous to render in boldface follows:
· Winner Forest Whitaker remembers the lean days fondly: "I could live on somebody's couch and live on ramen. My friends and my family were more concerned than I was." Particularly the friends and family on whose couches he was dripping ramen broth for months at a time. [Variety]
· Curl up with Tom O'Neil, whose post-SAG awards video blog post delivered from his bed was only slightly less disturbing than the Carpetbagger's post in which he lamented Dreamgirls' best picture snub while sitting on the toilet. [The Envelope]
· Jonathan Dayton, co-director of Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture winner Little Miss Sunshine, explains his theory of good comedy: "For humor to really work, 25 percent of the people can't really get it. If it's really funny, not everyone will be in on the joke." So if you didn't find the movie hilarious, you now know it's because you're part of the quarter of the population incapable of getting it. [The Carpetbagger]
· Transcripts of some notable acceptance speeches, including Alec Baldwin's win for 30 Rock, in which he makes special mention of focus puller Jonathan, who "shaves six or eight years off my close-ups." [SAG Awards]
· Moments after a cloud of green smoke had dissipated, nominee and amateur illusionist Will Smith wowed red carpet photographers by successfully transforming his flamingo date into spouse Jada Pinkett-Smitt. [The Envelope]
· Asked if there's a chance of a Little Miss Sequel, screenwriter Michael Arndt admitted he "has been thinking of things," but that he wasn't sure audiences would want to go along for the re-animating grandpa ride. [THR]
· The Chicago Film Critics Association decide upon The Departed as this year's best picture, with Helen Mirren and Forest Whitaker taking top acting honors. Congratulations: Through the process of critical concensus repetition alone, you have now been brainwashed into believing those two actors will take home an Oscar. [THR]
· The Florida Film Critics Circle also honor The Departed, Mirren and Whitaker, while the Pauline Kael Breakout Award (sponsored by Clearasil) goes to Jennifer Hudson for Dreamgirls. [Variety]
· The AFI name their "Moments of Significance" for 2006, a sort of Oscars for Hollywood trends, we guess, recognizing such abstract concepts as "Clint Eastwood - A National Treasure," "The Documentary Speaks To The World," and "YouTube Redefines 'The Tube.'" Sadly, "End to Years-Long Battle for Armrest Dominance Over That Guy Sitting Next To You at the Movies" is one Moment of Significance that has yet to see the light of day. [The Envelope]