Ramin Setoodeh

Stories by Ramin Setoodeh

  • 8 Reasons Why the Oscars Bombed This Year

    Was it just me, or were the Oscars like the longest episode of "American Idol" ever? First, Ryan Seacrest interviewed all the contestants—oops, make that nominees—on the red carpet. Then, the stage was suspiciously similar to the circular "Idol" platform, and the live show began with a musical number from host Hugh Jackman. The first winner was announced by a panel, though unfortunately Paula Abdul wasn't on it. And at some point in the evening, Jackman appeared with Beyonce, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens to cover a strange assortment of Broadway tunes....
  • Harvey Weinstein: Back on Top

    It looked like Harvey Weinstein had been 'aufed,' as they say on 'Project Runway.' Then came 'The Reader.'
  • Joaquin Phoenix: Before the Letterman Fiasco, There Was THIS.

    Some actors travel everywhere with an entourage. Then there's Joaquin Phoenix. He arrived at a press junket in New York on Wednesday for his new movie, "Two Lovers," with an entire camera crew. They were filming Phoenix—who says he's giving up acting for a new career as a rap star—for a documentary about his new life, and they taped all his interviews. It's strange enough to talk to a movie star with five cameras on you. It's stranger still when you walk into the room and see that the lead cameraman is Casey Affleck (who is married to Joaquin's sister Summer). ...
  • 7 Things You Don't Know About Me: Chris Evans

    Chris Evans, the Human Torch in "Fantastic Four," is back to playing with fire. This time, he dodges explosions in the superhero epic "Push," which stars him as a telekinetic drifter living in Hong Kong. One afternoon, he's mysteriously contacted by a teenage girl (Dakota Fanning) who can peer into the future and needs his help.  With the movie opening today, Evans, 27, opens up about his life as an actor in the new Newsweek video feature "7 Things You Don't Know About Me." Click to find out which movie inspired Evans to be an actor, the first time he saw himself on the big screen and who is girlfriend is right now.
  • The Gold Digger: Watch Viola Davis in 'Doubt' -- Without Leaving Your Couch

    The most curious thing about this year's Oscars won't be if "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button" upsets for Best Picture (nah, it doesn't have a shot). It'll be who will take home the gold in the Best Supporting Actress race. The Golden Globe went to Kate Winslet for "The Reader." The SAG went to Kate Winslet for "The Reader." And the Oscar won't go to Kate Winslet for "The Reader," since she's nominated in the lead, not supporting, category. That means the Academy will have to choose from five unpracticed-at-giving-a-speech-at-the-podium names. ...
  • Gold Digger Reacts to the Oscar Nominations: Surprises, Snubs and Snores

     OK it's the crack of dawn--like 8:25 a.m.--and we're up to watch the Oscar nominations announced live! I hope hope hope Brad Pitt is nominated for either "Benjamin Button" or "Burn After Reading," and not just because we invited him to Newsweek's Oscar roundtable, on stands Monday. I'm also excited for Anne Hathaway, who I followed--as a journalist!--at Toronto, where "Rachel Getting Married" premiered, and the crowds yelled "Oscar! Oscar!" at her as she left the theater. Here's the president of the Academy Sid Ganis, and Forrest Whitaker: (1) Amy Adams get in for best supporting actress over Kate Winslet for "The Reader." So much for Winslet's chances of winning two Oscars in the same year. (2) No Dev Patel in "Slumdog Millionaire." Does that mean he could land in lead? (No.) When was the last time a movie won best picture with no acting nominations? Was it "Crash"? Michael Shannon gets in instead for "Revolutionary Road" (3) Best actress, the big whoa category. They snub K...
  • Gold Digger Returns! NEWSWEEK Movie Guru Ramin Setoodeh Predicts the Oscar Slate

    The Gold Digger, aka NEWSWEEK's Oscar blogger Ramin Setoodeh, is back to handicap who will win the world's second most important campaign (after the presidential election, naturally). Below, his predictions for who Academy will love -- and snub -- when it announces its nominations tomorrow-morning-at-8:30-a.m.-EST-not-that-we're-counting-down-the-hours-or-anything:...
  • "Slumdog Millionaire": The Oscar Doesn't Go To...

    "Slumdog Millionaire," the effervescent, rags-to-riches fable set in India, is the best-picture front runner at this year's Oscars, and if it wins, it'll be a marvelous story. The movie was made for just $15 million, contains long stretches of Hindi dialogue and features a cast of all-Indian (or British-Indian) actors. But if "Slumdog" wins big, this global Cinderella story could get an awkward dose of reality. Onscreen, "Slumdog" is filled with brown faces—but onstage at the Oscars, virtually all of the people collecting trophies for it will have white ones.Despite appearances, "Slumdog" is a British production. It was produced by Christian Colson, directed by Danny Boyle ("Trainspotting") and, though based on Indian author Vikas Swarup's novel "Q&A," scripted by Simon Beaufoy—all of whom are white and sure bets for Oscar nominations. Meanwhile, out of the sprawling cast, only Dev Patel has a shot. "Storytelling has no boundaries," says a spokesperson for the film's studio, Fox...
  • Cherry Jones Q&A

    Another season, another administration takes over on "24." This time the president is played by Cherry Jones. She spoke with Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Emma Thompson Talks

    Emma Thompson plays an airport worker who falls for Dustin Hoffman in "Last Chance Harvey." She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Q&A: Cloris Leachman

    Cloris Leachman— At 82, the oldest (and spunkiest) contestant ever on "Dancing With the Stars"—was voted off the show last week. She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Kevin Smith Plays Dirty

    Kevin Smith directs the new comedy "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." He spoke to Ramin Setoodeh.
  • Kenny Chesney's Heartbreaking Album

    Country singers need heartbreak like pastrami needs mustard, but Kenny Chesney's new album, "Lucky Old Sun," is extra spicy: he wrote it after his marriage to Renée Zellweger was annulled in 2005. Chesney spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Movies: A Sluggish Start to the Oscar Race

    It happens pretty much every year, usually right about now: Hollywood insiders grumble that they haven't seen any Oscar-worthy movies yet and fret that there might not be any to come. The last two best-picture winners—"No Country for Old Men" and "The Departed"—both opened in this pre-Thanksgiving period, but those in the know knew all about those movies long before they hit theaters. This year? Based on an informal NEWSWEEK poll of Hollywood experts, the consensus so far is that the field is barren.One reason for the sluggish start to the Oscar season, insiders say, is the presidential election. Not wanting their films to get overshadowed by a blockbuster vote, some studios pushed their prestige movies into later release dates, creating a December logjam. (One exception is the indie "Slumdog Millionaire," a quiz-show fable that debuted at the Toronto film festival.) By some counts, as many as a dozen Oscar aspirants will be released between Thanksgiving and Christmas, including...
  • Anne Hathaway Grows Up

    She was a Hollywood princess, and then her real-life prince turned into a frog. Now the actress hopes a dark new film will make us all forget her past.
  • Keira’s Royal Pain in the Neck

    Keira Knightley plays 18th-century Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire, in "The Duchess." She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...