Viola Davis’ tour de force performance – in a supporting role – in the film Doubt (2008) took movie audiences and the film industry by storm and resulted in her getting an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination, Golden Globe and SAG nominations. The 2011 box-office hit The Help further cemented her position as an outstanding talent and brought her not only numerous award nominations (Academy Award for Best Actress, BAFTA and Golden Globe) but the prestigious SAG award.
The television drama How to Get Away with Murder gave Viola Davis the stage on which to showcase a fuller range of her talent. Her portrayal of the lawyer, Annalise Keating, led to not just nominations but awards. In 2015 she became the first black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. In 2015 and 2016 she won Screen Actors Guild Awards for the role.
She’s currently amazing moviegoers as Rose Maxson (Denzel Washington character’s wife) in August Wilson’s drama “Fences” in a film produced by Washington. Her performance in the film takes acting on the big screen to another level: she is raw, multidimensional and profound.
This may be as good time as any to mention that Davis is a graduate of the famous Juilliard School and is as accomplished on stage as on screen. The role of Rose Maxson isn’t new to her, she played her before, in front of live audiences on Broadway. Her theatre performance earned a Tony Award in 2010. Her big screen performance is likely to earn her an Oscar.
Viola Davis isn’t a celebrity famous for being famous. She isn’t a starlet that’s risen to fame suddenly, only to fade soon after. Viola Davis built her career on a sound foundation of incredible talent, consistently high quality work, hard work and patience. She is here to stay.
During the ceremony for Viola Davis on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood Chamber President and CEO, Leron Gubler and Walk of Fame producer, Ana Martinez helped the actress unveil her star.
It’s no coincidence that the greatest actress of our time, Meryl Streep (also a Walk Of Famer) spoke during the ceremony honoring Davis. Talent can’t be measured or compared. Streep and Davis are very different. Each has unconventional beauty and unparalleled depth as an artist. They are too different to ever be compared or in competition. But they have something in common, too: both, are extra-ordinary artists: each, a star in her own right.
Viola Davis is quoted as saying: “The happily ever after comes after you’ve done the work.” She’s certainly done much of hers.
Congratulations to Ms. Viola Davis on her Star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame, her professional and personal success. We are not only her fans but have plenty of respect for Ms. Davis as a person and a survivor.
Viola Davis’ star in the Motion Picture category (Star #2,596 on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame) is located in front of Marshalls Department Store at 7013 Hollywood Boulevard across the street from the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.
UPDATE: Viola Davis has been nominated for the 2017 Academy Award (Oscar) in the Supporting Actress category for her performance in “Fences”. With this nomination Viola Davis breaks a record as the first African American actress to have been nominated for an Oscar THREE times! (For the first time in 2009 for “Doubt” and then in 2012 for “The Help”.) The odds are in her favor and she certainly deserves it!
Natalie Portman (Natalie Portman born Natalie Hershlag; Hebrew: June 9, 1981) is an actress with dual American and Israeli citizenship. Her first role was as an orphan taken in by a hitman in the 1994 action film Léon: The Professional, but mainstream success came when she was cast as Padmé Amidala in the Star Wars prequel trilogy (released in 1999, 2002 and 2005). In 1999, she enrolled at Harvard University to study psychology while still working as an actress. She completed her bachelor’s degree in 2003. In 2001, Portman opened in New York City’s Public Theater production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull. In 2005, Portman won a Golden Globe Award and received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in the drama Closer. She won a Constellation Award for Best Female Performance and a Saturn Award for Best Actress for her starring role in V for Vendetta (2006). She played leading roles in the historical dramas Goya’s Ghosts (2006) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008). In May 2008, she served as the youngest member of the 61st Annual Cannes Film Festival jury. Portman’s directorial debut, Eve, opened the 65th Venice International Film Festival’s shorts competition in 2008. Portman directed a segment of the collective film New York, I Love You. Portman is also known for her portrayal as Jane Foster, the love interest of Marvel superhero Thor, in the film adaptation Thor (2011), and its sequel, Thor: The Dark World (2013). In 2010, Portman starred in the psychological thriller Black Swan. Her performance received critical praise and earned her a second Golden Globe Award, the Screen Actors Guild Award, the BAFTA Award, the Broadcast Film Critics Association Award and the Academy Award for Best Actress in 2011.
Portman, who is an advocate for animal rights, has been a vegetarian since childhood. She became a vegan in 2009 after reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals. She does not eat animal products or wear fur, feathers, or leather. “All of my shoes are from Target and Stella McCartney,” she has said. In 2007, she launched her own brand of vegan footwear. During her pregnancy in 2011, Portman went off her vegan diet and returned to vegetarianism.
In 2007, Portman traveled to Rwanda with Jack Hanna, to film the documentary Gorillas on the Brink. Later, at a naming ceremony, Portman christened a baby gorilla Gukina, which means “to play.” Portman has been an advocate of environmental causes since childhood, when she joined an environmental song and dance troupe known as World Patrol Kids. She is also a member of the One Voice movement.
Portman has also supported antipoverty activities. In 2004 and 2005, she traveled to Uganda, Guatemala, and Ecuador as the Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International, an organization that promotes micro-lending to help finance women-owned businesses in developing countries. In an interview conducted backstage at the Live 8 concert in Philadelphia and appearing on the PBS program Foreign Exchange with Fareed Zakaria, she discussed microfinance. Host Fareed Zakaria said that he was “generally wary of celebrities with fashionable causes,” but included the segment with Portman because “she really knew her stuff. In the “Voices” segment of the April 29, 2007, episode of the ABC Sunday morning program This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Portman discussed her work with FINCA and how it can benefit women and children in Third World countries. In fall 2007, she visited several university campuses, including Harvard, USC, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Stanford, Princeton, New York University, and Columbia, to inspire students with the power of microfinance and to encourage them to join the Village Banking Campaign to help families and communities lift themselves out of poverty. Portman is a supporter of the Democratic Party, and in the 2004 presidential race she campaigned for the Democratic nominee, Senator John Kerry. In the 2008 presidential election, Portman supported Senator Hillary Clinton of New York in the Democratic primaries. She later campaigned for the eventual Democratic nominee, Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, during the general election. In a 2008 interview, she also stated: “I even like John McCain. I disagree with his war stance—which is a really big deal—but I think he’s a very moral person.”
In 2010, Portman’s activist work and popularity with young people earned her a nomination for VH1’s Do Something Awards, which is dedicated to honoring individuals who do good. In 2011, Portman and her then fiancé Benjamin Millepied were among the signers of a petition to President Obama in support of same-sex marriage. Portman supported Obama’s re-election campaign. In January 2011, Portman became an ambassador of Free The Children, an international charity and educational partner, spearheading their Power of a Girl campaign. She hosted a contest challenging girls in North America to fundraise for one of Free The Children’s all-girls schools in Kenya. As incentives for the contest winner, she offered her designer Rodarte dress, worn at the red carpet premier of Black Swan, along with tickets to her next premier.
Free The Children’s all-girls school was also the beneficiary of proceeds from sales of Nude Grege #169, the lipstick Portman designed for Christian Dior. It was announced in May 2012 that Portman would be working with watch designer Richard Mille to develop a limited-edition timepiece with proceeds supporting Free The Children.
Steven Allan Spielberg (born December 18, 1946) is an American film director, screenwriter, producer, and business magnate. In a career of more than four decades, Spielberg’s films have covered many themes and genres. Spielberg’s early science-fiction and adventure films were seen as archetypes of modern Hollywood blockbuster filmmaking. In later years, his films began addressing humanistic issues such as the Holocaust, the transatlantic slave trade, war, and terrorism.
He is considered one of the most popular and influential filmmakers in the history of cinema. He is also one of the co-founders of DreamWorks movie studio. Spielberg won the Academy Award for Best Director for Schindler’s List (1993) and Saving Private Ryan (1998). Three of Spielberg’s films: Jaws (1975), E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), and Jurassic Park (1993) achieved box office records, each becoming the highest-grossing film made at the time. To date, the unadjusted gross of all Spielberg-directed films exceeds $8.5 billion worldwide. Forbes puts Spielberg’s wealth at $3.3 billion.
Spielberg receiving a public service award presented by United States Secretary of Defense William Cohen, 1999 Steven Spielberg’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Footprints and handprints of Steven Spielberg in front of the Grauman’s Chinese Theatre Former President Clinton with Spielberg as he accepts the 2009 Liberty Award Spielberg has won three Academy Awards.
He has been nominated for seven Academy Awards for the category of Best Director, winning two of them (Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan), and nine of the films he directed were up for the Best Picture Oscar (Schindler’s List won). In 1987 he was awarded the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award for his work as a creative producer.
Drawing from his own experiences in Scouting, Spielberg helped the Boy Scouts of America develop a merit badge in cinematography. The badge was launched at the 1989 National Scout Jamboree, which Spielberg attended, and where he personally counseled many boys in their work on requirements.
That same year, 1989, saw the release of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. The opening scene shows a teenage Indiana Jones in scout uniform bearing the rank of a Life Scout. Spielberg stated he made Indiana Jones a Boy Scout in honor of his experience in Scouting. For his career accomplishments and service to others, Spielberg was awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.
Steven Spielberg received the AFI Life Achievement Award in 1995.
In 1998 he was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit with Ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Award was presented to him by President Roman Herzog in recognition of his film Schindler’s List and his Shoa Foundation.
In 1999, Spielberg received an honorary degree from Brown University. Spielberg was also awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service by Secretary of Defense William Cohen at the Pentagon on August 11, 1999; Cohen presented the award in recognition of Spielberg’s film Saving Private Ryan.
In 2001, he was honored as an honorary Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) by Queen Elizabeth II. In 2004 he was admitted as knight of the Légion d’honneur by president Jacques Chirac. On July 15, 2006, Spielberg was also awarded the Gold Hugo Lifetime Achievement Award at the Summer Gala of the Chicago International Film Festival, and also was awarded a Kennedy Center honour on December 3. The tribute to Spielberg featured a short, filmed biography narrated by Tom Hanks and included thank-yous from World War II veterans for Saving Private Ryan, as well as a performance of the finale to Leonard Bernstein’s Candide, conducted by John Williams (Spielberg’s frequent composer).
The Science Fiction Hall of Fame inducted Spielberg in 2005, the first year it considered non-literary contributors. In November 2007, he was chosen for a Lifetime Achievement Award to be presented at the sixth annual Visual Effects Society Awards in February 2009. He was set to be honored with the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the January 2008 Golden Globes; however, the new, watered-down format of the ceremony resulting from conflicts in the 2007–08 writers strike, the HFPA postponed his honor to the 2009 ceremony. In 2008, Spielberg was awarded the Légion d’honneur.
In June 2008, Spielberg received Arizona State University’s Hugh Downs Award for Communication Excellence. Spielberg received an honorary degree at Boston University’s 136th Annual Commencement on May 17, 2009. In October 2009 Steven Spielberg received the Philadelphia Liberty Medal; presenting him with the medal was former US president and Liberty Medal recipient Bill Clinton. Special guests included Whoopi Goldberg, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
On October 22, 2011 he was admitted as a Commander of the Belgian Order of the Crown. He was given the badge on a red neck ribbon by the Belgian Federal Minister of Finance Didier Reynders. The Commander is the third highest rank of the Order of the Crown. He was the president of the jury for the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
On November 19, 2013, Spielberg was honored by the National Archives and Records Administration with its Records of Achievement Award. Spielberg was given two facsimiles of the 13th Amendment to the United States Constitution, one passed but not ratified in 1861, as well as a facsimile of the actual 1865 amendment signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. The amendment and the process of passing it were the subject of his film Lincoln.
Angelina Jolie was born on June 4th 1975 in Los Angeles to an Oscar-winning father (Jon Voight) and an actress mother, Marcheline Bertrand. (Not surprisingly, she appeared in her first film at the age of 5.)
Angelina Jolie: This image is a work of a United States Department of State employee, taken or made during the course of an employee’s official duties. As a work of the U.S. federal government, the image is in the public domain per 17 U.S.C. § 101 and § 105 and the Department Copyright Information.
As a teen she tried modeling, appeared in music videos and studied at the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute. Later, she attended also New York University.
She began her career as an actress in earnest in the 90s. Her first huge achievement was in the role of Gia for which she’s won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. For her dramatic performance in 1999 Girl, Interrupted Angelina Jolie was awarded Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Jolie took interest in different genres as well and took on the role of Lara Croft in the successful Lara Croft franchise and starred in other action-adventure films including Taking Lives (2004), Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005), and The Good Shepherd (2006).
In 2007, Angelina Jolie returned to drama in A Mighty Heart, the film about the abduction and murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl. She’s gifted us with a tour-de-force portrayal of the pregnant during the crisis Mariane Pearl, Danny’s wife.
It seems that Angelina’s equally suited for roles as an action hero as for demanding dramatic roles. In the first case, our focus is on her beauty; in the second, her acting talent shines. (Since then Jolie appeared in several films and has produced and directed one as well.)
This much: now you know where she comes from and that she’s a successful actress. The rest of the story takes place in the context of her roots and career. She was born into an entertainment business family and continues her family’s tradition. As a working actress she didn’t grow up away from the limelight but in it. As an entertainer, she was surrounded by eccentricity and experimented with it. She didn’t date Bob who works at a fast food restaurant but her costars. That’s why her romances were better known than ours.
In the words of Angelina Jolie: “I grew up in front of everybody, really. The big years of exploration. There was a certain madness I was going through. I learned a lot about myself. People tend to sum up times in your life and simplify. I would say there’s a way of being bold when you’re young that seems very brave… What’s perceived as tough is a very funny thing. I think to be a parent is one of the scariest, boldest things to do, as opposed to, um, getting a tattoo… Much more than jumping into a pool when you’re 20.”
She married her coworkers. At 19, she married Jonny Lee Miller (her costar in Hackers). The marriage lasted 4 years. In 2000 she married another actor, Billy Bob Thornton; they stayed together for 3 years. It appears that the marriage broke up over Angelina’s decision to adopt a child. She adopted Cambodian orphan (Maddox) and gave up on a husband unwilling to shoulder responsibilities of fatherhood. (As we all know she added another two adopted children to her single mother family.)
While filming Mr. and Mrs. Smith in 2004, Jolie met Bratt Pit. The rest is history, it appears that the two are compatible: both have strong values and personalities, they raise the adopted children together and have added three of their own to the brood. (Steeling a husband? Please! Have you ever heard of a happy husband abandoning his spouse? Neither have I.)
Here you have it: a girl looked for love and found her true calling as a humanitarian in the misery of after-war Cambodia. It is there that she saved a child and found herself. It seems that Angelina Jolie has found her contentment with the right partner and with the family she created.
Here is another aspect of Angelina: after over a 7 year battle with cancer, Angelina’s mother passed away. Angelina was very close to her mother, the loss hit her very hard and further affirmed her commitment to her own family.
To quote Angelina: “I’d like to believe that the people that have supported me in my work or identified with me in films, the people that feel they know me, they do and they don’t have misconceptions – they understand. I believe that.”
Angelina Jolie and Condoleezza Rice during the World Refugee Day at the National Geographic Society on 15 June 2005. Photo: public domain
Angelina Jolie is as famous for her tireless humanitarian efforts as for being a movie star. Her dedication and compassion have been recognized: she’s been appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador for the UN Refugee Agency in 2001. She fought hard for the rights of refugees and victims worldwide; she raised funds to end suffering and continually pours 30% of her income to relieve human suffering be it in Pakistan, Darfur, Cambodia or elsewhere. The United Nations Association of the USA bestowed on her the Global Humanitarian Action Award in 2005.
Angelina Jolie’s Journey to Cambodia (Angelina Jolie is the latest celebrity to pose for Louis Vuitton’s popular “Core Values” campaign.)
This is Angelina Jolie’s brief insight on her confrontation with refugees’ suffering:
“[on Cambodia and her humanitarian work] – One of the first camps I went to had 400,000 people. It was a sea of human misery. In Sierra Leone, I saw tens of thousands with their arms and legs cut off [by rebels], orphaned children. I felt completely overwhelmed. I cried constantly. I felt guilty for everything that I had. Then I realized I wasn’t doing these people any favors by crying. I kept getting angry at the injustices until I couldn’t think straight. I took a deep breath and focused on how I could help. I discovered that I was useful as a person. When I met suffering people, it put my life into perspective. It slammed me into a bigger picture of the world.”
This post has been written in the aftermath of Prince Harry’s nude romp in Las Vegas. For a while the spotlight of worldwide media focused on his nudity. Beats me. (Anybody who didn’t have a nude romp at some point, please stand up!) I don’t see why a picture or a video of Prince Harry in the buff is more attention-worthy than all aspects of his life combined. (Did you even know that he’s actively involved in many of the same charitable causes his mother was supporting?)
Why this departure from Angelina Jolie? Because the same seems to be true in her case. The tabloids feed on her every tattoo, every relationship, every eccentricity. Angelina Jolie is stunning, interesting, charitable, active and successful so the interest in her is certainly justified. The focus however is off.
Angelina Jolie is amazing because:
she’s an independent and powerful woman
she’s is an accomplished actress
she’s a very successful business woman
she’s dedicated to humanitarian causes (she makes a great deal of money and gives 30% of it to charity!)
she’s a licensed pilot
she leads an independent life true to her convictions
last but not least, she’s very beautiful: outside and INSIDE
If I were to say right now – following all of the above – that she’s just gotten a new tattoo and you’d run to get a similar one as opposed to supporting humanitarian causes, earning a pilot license or starting lucrative business, the problem lies with you. When all is said and done, it’s easier to lie on a tattoo table and spend a few bucks than stand up and fight for one’s beliefs or work hard to accomplish something of significance…. (You don’t have to be rich to be like Angelina, but it takes guts: volunteer to teach English as a second language or to help feed the homeless. Side effect? Beauty attracts people and the true beauty is HEART!)
A girl had to experiment to get things right. Angelina’s experiments may have been more extreme than our own but they paid off, the conclusions she arrived at are also above the average. The final product of her many experiments is a spectacular self birth, she’s an independent woman with guts and many achievements to her credit. A gorgeous woman and a beautiful human being.
Looking for inspiration? Angelina Jolie said: “Love one person, take care of them until you die. You know, raise kids. Have a good life. Be a good friend. And try to be completely who you are. And figure out what you personally love. And like go after it with everything you’ve got no matter how much it takes.”
Forget the tattoo, try to become just ONE aspect of Angelina Jolie!