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Lunch Links, the Hollywood version

For Lunch Links today, I’m taking advantage of this rare opportunity to bring a little celebrity news to Policy Watch. Dedicated readers certainly know that just isn’t our thing.

I could go on and on about how charming Jennifer Lawrence was tripping over a traffic cone and how stunning Lupita Nyong’o and her dress were, but lupitaI know Policy Watch readers are a bit more high-brow than I.

Here’s a thoughtful essay up on MSNBC’s website about what made “12 Years A Slave” stand out from other Hollywood movies about slavery or JimCrow– namely that the film didn’t hold back from giving an unflinching portrayal of the horrors endured by Solomon Northup, a freed black New Yorker kidnapped in 1841 and sold into slavery.

The New York Times also ran a correction today for misspelling Northup’s name, in an article written about him 161 years ago.

The New Yorker has this interesting piece about the Somali actor Barkhad Abdi nominated for his role as a pirate in Tom Hanks’ “Captain Phillips”. Abdi was paid $65,000 two years ago for his role, and is now apparently broke, despite accolades he’s received for the movie that made $218 million at box offices worldwide. Click here to read a recap of the New Yorker piece (only subscribers to the magazine can access the entire article).

Finally you know that “spontaneous” selfie that Ellen DeGeneres took during the Oscars that broke Twitter and became the most retweeted photo of all time? Well, the Wall Street Journal figured out pretty quickly it wasn’t all that spontaneous but more the result of $20 million Samsung paid to market its goods during the Oscars.

From the WSJ:

While the stunt felt spontaneous, it wasn’t entirely unplanned. As part of its sponsorship and ad pact for the Oscars with ABC, the TV network airing the show, Samsung and its media buying firm Starcom MediaVest negotiated to have its Galaxy smartphone integrated into the show, according to two people familiar with the matter. ABC is a unit of Walt Disney Co. DIS +2.72%

Samsung gave ABC smartphones to use during the broadcast and was promised its devices would get airtime, these people said. At least one of the product plugs was planned: during the “red carpet” preshow, ABC ran a clip of six aspiring young filmmakers touring Disney Studios. The group were seen in the video using Samsung devices.

Finally, the origin of the “selfie” shot was a little different. Ms. DeGeneres, in the days leading up to the broadcast, decided she wanted to take “selfies” during the show and ABC suggested she use a Samsung since it was a sponsor, another person familiar with the matter said.

During rehearsals Samsung executives trained Ms. DeGeneres on how to use the Samsung Galaxy, two people familiar with the matter said.

“It was a great plug for the Samsung brand,” said Allen Adamson, managing director at Landor Associates, a branding firm owned by WPP PLC. “Ellen’s selfie is going to be more impactful than their commercials. You can’t buy that magic of going viral,” he added.

I know you’re as shocked as I am at this.

As my colleague Clayton Henkel pointed out in Lunch Links yesterday, you can now insert yourself in the now historic (??) selfie.

Click here to do that, before the 15 minutes of fame on this thing runs out.

If you’re in need of more serious news and rolling your eyes at this celebrity dribble, check out the rest of N.C. Policy Watch and our Progressive Pulse blog today.

We’ve got posts up on coal ash, the Duke Energy-Progress Energy merger and dissatisfied voters – and it’s only noon.

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