Shoshanna Gruss—socialite, designer, ex-girlfriend of Jerry, and wife of Josh—turns 34 today. Former investment banker and U.S. Ambassador to France, Felix Rohatyn, is 81. Time Inc. chief Ann Moore is turning 59. Former News Corp. exec Peter Chernin is 57. Interior designer/Target fave Thomas O'Brien is turning 48. Actress Annette Bening is 51. Melanie Brown ("Scary Spice") is turning 34. Noel Gallagher of Oasis is turning 42. Fellow Brit Rupert Everett is 50. Brazilian model Ana Beatriz Barros turns 27. Lisa Whelchel of Facts of Life fame is 46. And La Toya Jackson is celebrating her 53rd birthday today. Weekend birthdays below.
• Is Madonna's relationship with Jesus Luz purely platonic? The two are "quite close and cuddly, but not exactly romantic," and Jesus was spotted at a Kabbalah service "playing around more with Rocco than paying attention to Madonna," which can't be a good sign. [E!]
• Did marrying Tom Cruise ruin Katie Holmes' chances of ever having a movie career? Is Tom's sister secretly handling his PR even though she pretends to just be his assistant? So many questions! [Fox 411, P6]
• Amy Winehouse's estranged husband Blake Fielder-Civil was released from jail yesterday. [The Sun]
• Martha Stewart's old friend Sam Waksal is now out of a halfway house and "ready to get back to work trying to find a cure for cancer." [NYDN]
Whoopi Goldberg served as emcee at the National Board of Review's annual awards ceremony at Cipriani 42nd Street on Wednesday night. Attendees at the Bulgari-sponsored event included Alec Baldwin, Meryl Streep, Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber (left), Clint and Dina Eastwood, Ed Norton, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Salma Hayek, Anne Hathaway, Julian Schnabel, Diane Lane and Josh Brolin, Sir Howard Stringer, John Patrick Shanley, Eva Amurri, Tim Robbins, Joy and Regis Philbin, Meredith Vieira, Heather Graham, Amy Adams, Debbie Bancroft, Veronica Webb, Bethenny Frankel, CNN's Alina Cho, Slumdog Millionaire star Dev Patel, director Danny Boyle, along with a smattering of Bulgaris, including Ilaria, Veronica, Nicola, Natalia, and Beatrice. [PMc, Wireimage, The Daily]
It's another day to keep your head down around Scott Rudin's office: was snubbed once again in the latest fiery belch from Awards-Season Hell. This time, it was the Broadcast Film Critics Association Critics' Choice Awards issuing the diss among its 2008 nominees, a list where seemingly anything even casually mentioned as Oscar bait in the last three months was recognized — with not just one Revolutionary exception.
Oohh, a new trend is emerging! One in which grizzled old movie stars like Ed Harris and Clint Eastwood not only act in, direct, and write their own movies, but where they gravelly-voice their way through closing credits songs! Above are snippets from Ed Harris's "You'll Never Leave My Heart" from his blink-and-you-missed-it Western Apaloosia, and Clint Eastwood's lilting, my-god-he-sounds-old ditty "Gran Torino," from the eponymous upcoming film. They sound, um... Well they sound like Ed Harris and Clint Eastwood bein' windblown dudes. Who will be next?? We're hoping for a fabulously gristly Ian McKellan disco ballad.
Every movie star everywhere is quitting! In today's case of old Clint Eastwood it makes sense, because he's, y'know, old and his directing career has been a lot more illustrious than his acting career has for the past decade or so. But the once-promising, now-squandered Joaquin Phoenix? Baby mill Angelina Jolie? Nicole Kidman?? If they leave, then what are we to do? Find new movie stars, I guess. Trouble is, there aren't really any good, young understudies waiting in the wings. But there might be some! We'll take a look at who could replace these four retiring (or maybe semi-retiring) actors after the jump.
· DreamWorks is in talks with Clint Eastwood to direct ghost movie Hereafter, which Spike Lee will later decry as featuring only white ghosts. ("Where are the black spirits?! You mean to tell me sheets don't come in brown? Another chapter of African-American afterlife history whitewashed by The Man.") [Variety] · The 18th Environmental Media awards (first we're hearing of them, but we're usually tied up this time of year at the Tire Fire Honors) singled out Into the Wild and 30 Rock, the latter commended for "its great strides in recycling older, less-overhyped sitcoms." [Variety] · Because there's no better way to kick off the weekend than a gloomy economic prospectus, enjoy this collection of downward trends and projected fat-trimmings sure to make 2009 your liquor-store-robbingest best! [THR] After the jump: What surely-no-longer-virginal Disney Channel star is about to get her own show on a tanking network?· Hilary Duff has signed a talent and development deal with NBC. They plan on building a new series around the star, tentatively titled, Law & Order: Hilary Duff Unit. [THR] · HD consumers prefer Blu-ray 10-to-1 over other -ray Colorz. [THR]
Here's your first look at what is expected to be Clint Eastwood's last performance, as a grizzled racist widower taking on an Asian gang in his forthcoming drama Gran Torino. The catch: He's defending an Asian family along with the rest of his quiet, diversifying neighborhood. At first rumored to be the capstone of the Dirty Harry franchise, Gran Torino's trailer instead hints at a kinder, gentler vigilante — a surly old coot whose prostate enlargement defers only to the growth of his chosen weapon from finger-pistol to rifle to the titular automobile itself, a washed-and-waxed piece of vintage American steel not so unlike the growling icon behind its wheel. Which isn't to say Gran Torino looks like it will make anyone forget the rogue San Francisco cop (though after 37 years, "Get off my lawn" is a clever enough permutation of "Do you feel lucky, punk?"), but it may provide just enough nostalgia to bring bullet-riddled closure you didn't even know you wanted. Check all the feel-good fascism after the jump. [YouTube]
Clint Eastwood took himself and his new film Changeling to its US premiere last weekend at the New York Film Festival. Just like we had for our audience with Mickey Rourke, we sneaked in via a film canister to check out the scene and lob a question his way; still, as lovely and reliably austere as Changeling is, we had more pressing issues on our mind than how little Eastwood rehearsed with Angelina Jolie (answer: hardly at all). To wit: How is a long-time conservative, former elected official and John McCain supporter like Eastwood getting his head around the Celebrity Election of '08 — Sarah Palin's candidacy in particular? Was this a circus anyone could have foreseen 57 years ago when he joined the GOP? He wasn't really going there, we soon learned (he was only slightly more candid at the recent New Yorker Festival, vaguely alluding to Palin's truthfulness in her debate with Joe Biden). But as reformed Republicans go, Eastwood still packs a robust skepticism alongside his tux when he travels."My mortgage is in the toilet, too," he replied. "I haven't been very active in politics. Yes, I started out as a Republican in 1951; I was a young 21-year-old in the Army, and I wanted to vote for Dwight Eisenhower. He, like all politicians, was always promising something, and he promised he would go to Korea and end the Korean War. But the Republican Party, as has the Democratic Party, has changed dramatically in the 50-some years that I've been involved with it, so I've sort of drifted to a more Libertarian point of view. The Libertarian Party never got going as a party — just leave everybody alone. It was very appealing to a guy like myself who came up in the '30s and watched my parents struggle through the Depression and [who] nowadays is wanting for nothing. "Now, of course, everybody is promising everything," Eastwood continued. "That's the only way to get elected: You have to promise to give people all kinds of stuff. You have to give away new cars like on Oprah or something. We'll give you anything to go down and vote. It's kind of perverted politics as far as I'm concerned. Whether Mr. McCain or Mr. Obama... Whatever happens there, who knows? There are a lot of promises going on there, too. It's a very confusing era." We couldn't agree more — we'll be so much happier when no one has to worry any longer about distinguishing Palin from Tina Fey. [Photo: Getty Images]
♦ David Duchovny has left the rehab facility where he's spent the last few weeks receiving treatment for sex addiction. He's now in NYC with wife Tea Leoni. [Us]
♦ Brangelina has left town. The family was spotted walking around New Orleans yesterday. [E!]
♦ Madonna made fun of Sarah Palin at her concert at the Meadowlands on Saturday night. [P6]
♦ Clint Eastwood might think Sarah Palin would make a good VP, although he didn't actually say it in so many words. [P6]
♦ Break out the tissues: Holly Madison says she and Hugh Hefner are no longer together. [TMZ]