TIME Television

Obama Needles Ellen for ‘Cheap Stunt’ Selfie

The president cracked wise about the selfie that beat his election night record for the most retweeted Twitter post ever

President Barack Obama is giving Ellen DeGeneres some playful flack for her selfie-seen-round-the world.

“I heard about that. I thought it was a pretty cheap stunt, myself,” Obama joked during an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show airing Thursday, referring to the massive group selfie she sent when she hosted the Oscars earlier this month. “Getting a bunch of celebrities in the background, you feeding them pizza.”

The selfie beat Obama’s 2012 election-night victory Twitter posting for the most retweets ever, with more than 3.4 million retweets to date.

Obama’s interview came amid a last-minute publicity push to encourage Americans to sign up for health insurance under the new health care reform law, ahead of a critical March 31 enrollment deadline.

TIME Theater

Theater Is Much Less Sexist Than Film

Variety Screening Series: "The Producers"
Director Susan Stroman participates in a Q&A session at the Variety Screening Series of "The Producers" at the Arclight Theaters on December 13, 2005 in Hollywood, California. Amanda Edwards—Getty Images

If the Olivier Awards are any indication, that is

In the acting world, the stage versus screen debate is an established one — and there may never be one true winner. But when it comes to recognizing women directors, the West End is kicking Hollywood’s ass.

Just this week, the Olivier Award nominees were announced, with three women earning nominations in the Best Director category — a first in the awards/ history. The nominees are all enormously worthy, but it was Lyndsey Turner (Chimerica), Maria Friedman (Merrily We Roll Along) and Susan Stroman (The Scottsboro Boys), snagging three out of the category’s four nominations that served as the proverbial cherry on the sundae. (Richard Eyre was also nominated for Ghosts.)

This feat comes on the heels of last summer’s Tony Awards, where women snapped up not one but two of the direction prizes available: Pam MacKinnon won Best Direction of a Play with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, while Diane Paulus won Best Direction of a Musical with Pippin.

What’s more, women have been awarded for their direction in theater for years now. MacKinnon and Paulus’ 2013 coup didn’t even mark the first time two women swept the Tonys directing category. That milestone occurred in 1998, when Julie Taymor and Garry Hynes won the musical and play direction awards for The Lion King and The Beauty Queen of Leenane. And the first time a woman won the Olivier Award for Best Director was way back in 1988, when Deborah Warner snagged the statue for Titus Andronicus.

Not that the theater industry is perfect — men have far more nominations and wins under their belts than women, certainly — but at least the theater has been making steady strides towards recognizing its female talent in recent years. Compare that progress to the film industry’s track record and things don’t look too good for Hollywood.

In the history of the Academy Awards, only four women have ever been nominated in the Best Director category — Kathryn Bigelow, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola and Lina Wertmüller. In 2009, Bigelow made history as the first woman to actually win that award when she scooped the statue for her suspenseful war drama, The Hurt Locker — but no woman has won since. In fact, no woman has even been nominated since and it’s not for a lack of worthy contenders. Just looking at films that were otherwise recognized by the Academy, Bigelow was passed over for 2012’s Zero Dark Thirty, which earned a Best Picture nod, but didn’t make the director cut. Same goes for Debra Granik, who directed 2010’s Winter’s Bone; that film had a slew of nominations, including Best Picture, but saw no love from the directing category.

It’s hard to nail down what exactly will lead to a change in the numbers when it comes to the Academy. After all, it’s not as if the disparity hasn’t been publicly called out again and again. But in the theater world, at least, it seems that women don’t have to wait for their due recognition any longer.

TIME movies

VIDEO: An Exclusive Look at Très Cute Ernest and Celestine

The Oscar-nominated animated film opens across the country starting Mar. 14

The family-friendly animated film Ernest & Celestine has been available for French audiences for years, but its English version, which was nominated for an Oscar at this year’s awards, is just beginning to make its way across the U.S. Here, check out a TIME-only clip from the movie, which features the voice of Forest Whitaker (he’s the bear, Ernest), before the film’s nationwide roll-out begins Mar. 14.

It’s the story of a mouse and a bear who bond over art, based on the classic children’s books of the same name by Gabrielle Vincent — and it’s easy to see why parents won’t be too sad if their kids drag them to this one. Other voices in the film include Lauren Bacall, Paul Giamatti, William H. Macy, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally.

TIME celebrities

VIDEO: Matthew McConaughey a Dork in High School? Not Even Close

Here's what McConaughey was really like back in high school

It sounds like Matthew McConaughey, named the sexiest man alive by People in 2005, has always been good-looking. While an ugly-duckling situation might have made for a more comforting story to the rest of us mere mortals, the truth is, McConaughey was already turning heads, even in high school.

“He was always so good looking and he was always a standout,” former high school classmate Adrian Harris Forman told People.

McConaughey played golf, charmed the ladies at Cotillion, and was voted “Most Handsome” — so it’s no wonder McConaughey sees his future self as his own hero.

TIME movies

Writer: Matthew McConaughey No Christian Hero for Thanking God in Speech

Matthew McConaughey accepts the Best Actor award at the 2014 Oscars
Matthew McConaughey accepts the Best Actor award at the 2014 Oscars Adam Taylor—ABC via Getty Images

The predictable backlash to the praise for the Dallas Buyers Club actor's Oscars acceptance speech has finally arrived

In all likelihood, you didn’t notice that Matthew McConaughey thanked god first when he accepted his Best Actor award for Dallas Buyers Club at the Oscars on Mar 2. After nearly three-and-a-half hours, you could hardly be blamed. And even if you did notice, odds are you didn’t care. But there were some people who did care. They cared very, very much.

Part of the reason people care is that award winners thanking god is far from common at the Oscars. According to the Daily Caller, god has been thanked just 14 times in 100 speeches over the last 30 years. In the last decade, according to Slate, god has been mentioned fewer times than Meryl Streep.

So when McConaughey mentioned god right away, Christians were understandably excited. “First off I want to thank God, because that’s who I look up to. He’s graced my life with opportunities that I know are not of my hand or any other human hand,” McConaughey said after receiving his award. “He has shown me that it’s a scientific fact that gratitude reciprocates. In the words of the late (British actor) Charlie Laughton, who said, ‘When you got God you got a friend and that friend is you.'”

But it seems that there’s at least one writer who is not on board with the idea of McConaughey, a 44-year-old Texas native, being crowned the savior of Christianity in Hollywood. Melissa Edgington, author of “Your Mom Has a Blog,” has declared that the Magic Mike star is not her hero:

But, there’s one tiny issue with setting Matthew McConaughey up as our next great Christian idol. And, the problem is the movie he won the Oscar for. And pretty much every other movie he’s ever made. (Anyone remember a little film called Magic Mike?) According to pluggedin.com, Dallas Buyer’s Club opens with McConaughey’s character having sex with two girls at the same time in a rodeo stall. That’s only the beginning of the explicit sexual content in the movie. In addition to the nudity, masturbation, and pornography, the film contains over 100 f-words and God’s name is used as a curse word over 20 times.

Matthew McConaughey made this movie, which he was rewarded by Hollywood for making, which goes out into our society and poisons the hearts and minds of our men, women, and young people. And then he gets up to accept his award for making filth that turns hearts away from God, and he thanks God for the opportunity, and Christians applaud him as if he has done something incredible.

This backlash has, predictably, spawned backlash of its own—bad enough that Edgington has had to shut down the comments for her posts on the subject (yes, there was a follow-up). None of this should come us a surprise. McConaughey’s speech was bound to stir up some excitement (and not just for fans of Dazed and Confused), just as it was inevitable that there would be those eager to downplay and reject that enthusiasm. Blameless in all of this, however, is McConaughey himself. Though he did call a future version of himself ‘my hero’ in his acceptance speech, he never declared himself “the next great Christian idol.” And it can be a little bit difficult to seriously trust the opinion of a writer who hasn’t seen the films she’s calling “filth.” Maybe the thing to do in situations like these is take McConaughey’s own advice and just keep livin’.

[via Film Drunk]

TIME celebrities

10 Things We Learned about the Oscars From Jennifer Lawrence’s BFF

86th Annual Academy Awards - Backstage
Actress Jennifer Lawrence and friend Laura Simpson backstage during the Oscars held at Dolby Theatre on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. Christopher Polk—Getty Images

Best friend writes a funny blog post about her experiences as a non-famous person backstage at the Oscars

The latest chapter in the chronicle of the most amazing woman in the world—Jennifer Lawrence—was penned not by Lawrence herself but by her best friend, Laura Simpson. Simpson (who is not famous, though she might be by the end of the week) was Lawrence’s date to the Oscars. She chronicled the highlights of the night in a hilarious MySpace post—because of course Lawrence’s BFF would be funny.

Here are the highlights.

1. Picking a dress is super stressful, even when you’re not famous

“I had a complete meltdown. Somehow the night before the Oscars I managed to get into an argument with my best friend, my mom and my boyfriend. I think I cried more in the 12 hours before the Oscars than I have in 10 years—I was really getting into the drama of the evening. I somehow managed to make an entire event having nothing to do with me all about me and my precious feelings.”

2. Jennifer Lawrence loves Chandler Bing

Okay, that’s not a fact about the Oscars, just the most beloved person at the Oscars.

3. There are men in camouflage with big guns guarding the red carpet

“Highland (between Sunset and Hollywood) is filled with barricades with different entry points so no crazy person can plow their car through, killing everyone on the red carpet. Guarding each entry point through the barricades are men in head to toe camouflage with gigantic automatic weapons (rifles? I don’t know guns).”

4. People were standing outside the Oscars with signs that showed Paul Walker and Philip Seymour Hoffman burning in hell

“Completely lining the sidewalks of Highland are the Jesus freaks. I am not talking a few—I am talking every inch of the sidewalk is full of God-fearing picket signs and psalms…Right before you get to the red carpet, you get to Westboro Baptists with huge yellow signs of pictures of Phillip [sic] Seymour Hoffman and Paul Walker saying ‘BURNING IN HELL’ and other despicable things.”

5. She was the girl Jennifer Lawrence grabbed onto as she tanked on the red carpet

6. Nobody can see anything during most of the Oscars

“They mount two maybe 32″ TVs on either side of the auditorium which are near impossible to see so basically everyone in the theater is just sitting in complete darkness during the categories.”

7. People get really drunk and really hungry during the awards

“It’s around this time that you realize you are STARVING and haven’t had any food since breakfast at 9 a.m. It’s hot and you feel like you’re going to pass out. After waiting for my date’s category, her dad and I decide to hit the bar and just watch from the monitor behind the bar and slam a few drinks to make this tolerable. The Academy really needs to spring for more hors d’oeuvres options because now everyone is hammered.”

8. Kerry Washington likes Slim Jims

“The lovely pregnant Kerry Washington asks me if she could have the Slim Jim in my purse.”

“I didn’t have an opinion about her until I met her and I wish she were having my baby. Slim Jims forever, Kerry!”

9. Brad Pitt smells amazing

“Eventually we ask what cologne he’s wearing and he tells us, “I don’t wear cologne, it’s just my musk I guess.” I have to choose not to believe him because it would just be unfair to mankind.”

10. Harvey Weinstein is as much of a jerk as you think he is

“Harvey Weinstein at the bar shaking my hand and saying, ‘you know who I am.'”

TIME celebrities

VIDEO: Oprah Gives Away Essence Cover Dress To Twitter Follower

Sometimes, all you need to do is ask

Oprah Winfrey is renowned for surprising her fans with cars, trips and gift bags, but this week the former talk-show queen gifted one of her Twitter followers with a designer dress she wore on a magazine cover.

When Atlanta resident Brandi saw Oprah Winfrey on the cover of Essence Magazine’s March issue, she fell in love with O’s over-the-top gown. She Tweeted the media mogul asking if she could have it.

And it turns out, ask and you shall receive.

On Feb. 21, exactly one week after she first tweeted Winfrey, Brandi tweeted that the star’s dress was now in her hands.

TIME Oscars 2014

Why The Oscars Snubbed Batkid And How Spider-Man Saved The Day

Sony and Screen Gems Panels - Comic-Con International 2013
Andrew Garfield attends The Sony and Screen Gems Panelsl as part of Comic-Con International 2013 held at San Diego Convention Center on Friday July 19, 2012 in San Diego, California. Albert L. Ortega—Getty Images

Andrew Garfield went with "Batkid" Miles Scott to Disneyland the day after they were snubbed at the Academy Awards

When the Academy bumped five-year-old Miles Scott, aka “Batkid,” from his appearance at the Oscars last week, his family was understandably disappointed.

Miles, who has leukemia, made headlines across the U.S. in November when the Make-A-Wish Foundation and hordes of volunteers transformed San Francisco into Gotham City for a day—complete with bad guys who needed to be conquered—so he could have the chance to be a superhero. Little Miles became an insta-celebrity so it seemed a natural fit to have him appear along with The Amazing Spider-Man star Andrew Garfield at the Oscars, which this year had a “Heroes” theme. One problem: the segment never aired.

When news of the axed segment leaked, people were angry. And when gossip columns reported that the appearance was cut because Garfield stormed out of rehearsals after disapproving of the segment’s script, people were even angrier. But Variety reports that the decision had nothing to do with the actor at all. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released a statement on Thursday that explained, “Due to the nature of a live show, hard decisions sometimes must be made which require the Academy to cut segments due to the logistics of production.”

Further clarifying the situation, Garfield’s publicist released a statement to Vanity Fair that said when the Academy cancelled the segment, “Andrew and Miles were equally upset.” Yet there is a happy ending as the statement revealed that “the producers arranged for Miles and his family to visit Disneyland [the next day] and Andrew drove down to visit them and to bring Miles a personal gift.”

So instead of appearing in front of millions of strangers, Batkid got to spend the day with Spider-Man at Disneyland, which sounds like a far better deal anyway. Even cuter, however, is that Garfield and Miles actually held their own mini-Oscars ceremony in a hotel room, tuxes and all.

TIME Oscars

‘Adele Dazeem’ Takes Broadway

Idina Menzel Replaced on Playbill

John Travolta’s Oscar flub just keeps on giving. Even Idina Menzel herself is getting in on the act, extending the gag to Broadway. Mark Halperin explains why we can’t just ‘Let It Go.’

TIME Oscars

Homer Simpson Shoved Out of Ellen’s Oscar Selfie

Apparently got the shaft from most re-tweeted photo of all time

Midway through the Oscars on Sunday night, host Ellen DeGeneres staged perhaps the most star-studded selfie in history:

The photo shattered the record for most re-tweets, and as of Wednesday morning had been re-tweeted more than 3.2 million times. But take a closer look, and you can see that Bradley Cooper wasn’t the only star on the bottom row:

Despite Homer’s call to break Twitter again, the photo has gotten only about 60,000 re-tweets from The Simpsons‘ official account and from Homer’s own feed. But one of those re-tweets came from Oscar winner Jared Leto, who took home his first golden statue and is now part of the legendary cartoon’s universe:

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