According to the Washington Post, Former President Barack Obama was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award during the foundation’s gala in midtown Manhattan last evening.
“I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but I’ve been on this hope kick for a while now. Even ran a couple of campaigns on it. Thank you for officially validating my hope credentials,” Obama said during his acceptance speech.
Kerry Kennedy, RFK’s daughter and the organization’s president, presented Obama with the award, which celebrates leaders “who have demonstrated a commitment to social change.” Past recipients include Bono, George Clooney, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore, and Robert De Niro.
“If we summon our best selves, we can inspire others to do the same. It’s easy to succumb to cynicism, the notion that hope is a fool’s game,” Obama said.
“When our leaders are content on making up whatever facts they want, a lot of people have begun to doubt the notion of common ground,” Obama said. “Bobby Kennedy’s life reminds us to reject such cynicism.”
Also honored with Ripple of Hope Awards this year were New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, Discovery President and CEO David Zaslav and Humana CEO Bruce Broussard. Speakers last night included actors Keegan-Michael Key, Alfre Woodard, Alec Baldwin, and journalist Tom Brokaw.
Sony Pictures Entertainment is offering NFL players and their families free admission at Cinemark Theaters to Will Smith’s “Concussion,” which opens on Christmas Day.
The studio said it has already reached out to current and former NFL players by holding private screenings in each team’s city in advance of its opening.
“This is a movie for the players, so we wanted to give them a chance to see it before its nationwide release and free admission during its run in theaters,” producers Ridley Scott and Giannina Scott said. “The movie is so inspiring. Will Smith gives one of the best performances of his career as Dr. Bennet Omalu, a man who shined a light on the truth.”
Players will receive complimentary admission for themselves and one guest by presenting their NFLPA membership card at any Cinemark theater. Cinemark has almost 500 theaters with about 4,500 screens in the U.S.
Omalu is a forensic pathologist who fought against the NFL’s efforts to suppress his research on the brain damage suffered by professional football players. The film was directed and written by Peter Landesman, based on Jeanne Marie Laskas’ 2009 GQ article “Game Brain.”
“Concussion” also stars Alec Baldwin, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Albert Brooks. It’s a Columbia Pictures presentation in association with LStar Capital and Village Roadshow Pictures.
If by chance you missed it, last night (10-17-15) – for the first time since a multi-vehicle crash left him in a coma – funny man Tracy Morgan returned to “Saturday Night Live” to host the long-running show.
“I’m back. It feels so good to be here. You may have seen on the news I was in a terrible car accident a year ago. It was awful. But it also showed me how much love and support I have in this world,” Morgan said during the show.
Morgan’s return to “SNL” also lifted ratings for the latenight show, which, according to Variety.com, was up week-to-week and matched its top overnight demo score since last winter. Compared to its October 2014 average, “SNL” was up 8% in overnight household rating (from 3.9) and even in adults 18-49. The show hasn’t done a higher 18-49 overnight rating since the Jan. 31 show hosted by J.K. Simmons.
In his opening monologue, the comedian observed that some folks have been wondering if he has full mental capacity after his June 2014 crash on the New Jersey Turnpike. Well, he just used that as fodder and cracked this response:
“People were wondering, ‘Can he speak? Does he have 100-percent mental capacity?’ But the truth is I never did. I may even be a few [IQ] points higher now.”
He was joined in one sketch by “30 Rock” co-stars Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Jane Krakowski and Jack McBrayer. Fey broke character to inject a serious note: “We’re so happy you’re OK. We’re even happier you’re ready to make people laugh again.”
During the show Morgan also brought back two of his familiar characters — Astronaut Jones and animal expert Brian Fellow. To see his opening monologue, click below:
Lost star Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is tackling another role in a Sony film, this time joining Will Smith in the studio’s untitled NFL concussion drama directed by Parkland‘s Peter Landesman. Akinnuoye-Agbaje starred recently in disaster period pic Pompeii and the upcoming Annie remake for Sony.
He’ll play real-life NFL safety Dave Duerson, a three-time Pro Bowl pick who died in 2011 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the chest. At his request, Duerson’s brain was sent to researchers, who determined that the athlete had suffered from the debilitating symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) caused by his football injuries.Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Alec Baldwin, Bitsie Tulloch, and Albert Brooks also star in the film whichcenters on Smith’s forensic neuropathologist Dr. Bennett Omalu, whose studies on CTE prompt the NFL to take brain-related injuries seriously. Ridley Scott, Giannina Facio, David Wolthoff, Larry Shuman, and Elizabeth Cantillon are producing. Michael Schaefer and David Crockett are executive producers.
Akinnuoye-Agbaje recently filmed a role in Jay Roach’s Trumbo opposite Bryan Cranston, Helen Mirren and Diane Lane. On the small screen, the erstwhile Mr. Eko turned up on Season 5 of HBO’s Game Of Thrones and soon will return to NBC’s Odyssey as series regular. Other recent films include Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World and The Inevitable Defeat Of Mister And Pete. He is repped by APA, Circle of Confusion, the Artists Partnership in the UK, and Felker Toczek Suddleson.