Ramin Setoodeh

Stories by Ramin Setoodeh

  • 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. ...
  • That’s Mister Tilda Swinton To You

    Tilda Swinton, who won an Oscar this year for "Michael Clayton," stars in the Coen brothers comedy "Burn After Reading." She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Ellen’s Big Gay Wedding

    What did you do on your summer vacation? Ellen DeGeneres got married to girlfriend Portia de Rossi in California. Her talk show returns this week, but first she spoke to Ramin Setoodeh about all things Ellen. ...
  • Katharine McPhee Heads for Hollywood

    The "American Idol" star makes her movie debut in "The House Bunny" as a pregnant sorority girl. She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Ms. Hilton Goes to Washington

    Hillary Clinton, watch out: there might be a woman in the White House after all. Paris Hilton is now running for president of the United States of America. OK, not really. But after John McCain released an ad that compared Barack Obama to celebrities like Britney Spears and Ms. Hilton, Paris threw her hat into the ring, too. She put out her own political ad—it went viral so quickly that it's been watched by more than 5 million people. "I want America to know that I'm, like, totally ready to lead," the heiress says. That got us thinking: what would a Paris Hilton administration actually look like? Adam McKay, founder of the site FunnyOrDie.com, which put together the Paris video and is working on a followup, shared some of his ideas with NEWSWEEK's Ramin Setoodeh: ...
  • Fast Chat with Penelope Cruz

    Penelope Cruz stars in two new movies: "Elegy," where she falls in love with Ben Kingsley, and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," where she kisses Scarlett Johansson. She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. ...
  • Q&A: Penelope Cruz

    Penelope Cruz stars in two new movies: "Elegy," where she falls in love with Ben Kingsley, and "Vicky Cristina Barcelona," where she kisses Scarlett Johansson. She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh.Should we do this interview in English or Spanish?I would ask you in which language are you going to write it. And depending on that, we'll do it in that language.I should tell you that I don't speak Spanish.Well, that's it!Let's get this out of the way. What was it like kissing Scarlett?Really, Scarlett and I have run out of lines to say about that. We're calling Woody to give us some material. People love that subject. The only thing which is honest, the set was very crowded that day. But I don't have anything else to tell you about it.Did you have to do any research?Very funny.Aren't you a funny person?In interviews, I completely lose my sense of humor. I lose at least 50 percent, if not more.Why is that?It's unfortunate, but I think you're obligated to do that in a way. I try to do what feels...
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    Young, Gay, and Murdered in Junior High

    Kids are coming out younger, but are schools ready to handle the complex issues of identity and sexuality? For Larry King, the question had tragic implications.
  • What Does a Publicist Really Do?

    Howard Bragman is a Hollywood publicist whose clients include Isaiah Washington and Ed McMahon. He spoke to Ramin Setoodeh. What is a publicist? A liaison between a high-profile person and the media. Who was the first publicist?Do you know how far publicity goes back? The Bible. God said, "Here are the Ten Commandments." Moses said, "I'm not that articulate." God said, "Your brother Aaron is. He'll tell everyone and we'll be cool." Who was the next publicist after that? Edward Bernays is known as the father of public relations. He was Sigmund Freud's nephew. Is the idea of crisis publicity new? It's not new, but the intensity is greater. We live in a world where the wall between public and private has come down. Is there a rule for commenting? It depends on the nature of the crisis. Some will be over in a day, like this week's Don Imus problem. What's the biggest crisis of the year? Does the presidency count?