Tag: Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday

President Obama to Host “Selma” Screening at White House

Selma Trailer


The movie “Selma” may have scored only two Oscar nominations, but today it will attain  a special distinction as it is screened at the White House in an event hosted by President Obama.

“Selma” will become the latest in a line of Oscar contenders such as last year’s “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom” and 2012’s “Lincoln” and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” to be shown in the White House.

Cast and crew from the movie “Selma” are expected to attend.

On Thursday, “Selma” was nominated for picture and for song, but the failure of the movie to draw nominations in other categories generated strong reactions on Twitter, where critics blasted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for an all-white list of acting nominees.

A White House screening can add a certain prestige value to a movie, perhaps even elevating its attention in the eyes of Academy voters, but the decision rests with Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama on whether to publicly reveal their film choices.

They have tended to do so when the projects have strong social or historical themes, as will be the case with the “Selma” screening just before the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday on Monday. In cases with movies like “Lincoln,” the White House has released photos from the event, and “Beasts of the Southern Wild” was screened to high school students at the White House, followed by a film workshop featuring cast and crew.

Many of the Obamas’ movie choices, however, are not disclosed, as the 40-seat White House Family Theater is considered part of their private family quarters.

Presidential movie choices through the years have been tinged with controversy and curiosity. The first movie screened at the White House was in 1915, when Woodrow Wilson hosted a showing of “Birth of a Nation.” Richard Nixon was so obsessed with “Patton” that he had to deny years later that the movie affected his decisionmaking. An X-rated movie has even screened there — “Midnight Cowboy,” screened by Jimmy Carter.

The Obamas also have screened “Slumdog Millionaire,” “Julie & Julia” and “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

article by Ted Johnson via Variety.com

Happy 64th Birthday, Music Legend Stevie Wonder (VIDEO)

stevieAccording to Wikipedia.org, Stevie Wonder was born May 13, 1950 in Saginaw, Michgan, and has spent over fifty years as a revered, award-winning musician, singer-songwriter, record producer, and multi-instrumentalist. A child prodigy, he has become one of the most creative and loved musical performers of the late 20th and early 21st century.  Wonder signed with the Motown label at the age of eleven and continues to perform and record for Motown as of the early 2010s. He has been blind since shortly after birth.

Among Wonder’s works are singles such as “Superstition”, “Sir Duke”, “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You”; and albums such as Talking BookInnervisions and Songs in the Key of Life. He has recorded more than thirty U.S. top ten hits and received twenty-two Grammy Awards, the most ever awarded to a male solo artist, and has sold over 100 million albums and singles, making him one of the top 60 best-selling music artists. Wonder is also noted for his work as an activist for political causes, including his 1980 campaign to make Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday a holiday in the United States.

In 2009, Wonder was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace. In 2008, Billboard magazine released a list of the Hot 100 All-Time Top Artists to celebrate the US singles chart’s 50th anniversary, with Wonder at number five.

To learn more about Wonder’s life and music, click here.  To hear him do a live version of “As” with a moving speech towards the end, click below:

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson).