Sunday, May 19, 2024

Is Oprah As Big as the Beatles Now? Kennedy Center Will Honor McCartney, Winfrey


Is Oprah as big as the Beatles? The Kennedy Center seems to think so. They’ve just announced their awards for this December, and the two big names are Paul McCartney and Oprah Winfrey.

Oprah, of course, gets this as part of her year long winner’s lap. Her show ends its run in May.

McCartney’s award is a long time coming. None of the Beatles are in the Kennedy Center. Obviously, John Lennon and George Harrison, sadly cannot be inducted. McCartney’s award represents his work and the work of the group, frankly. And this is his year for big honors. He was at the White House last spring to pick up the Gershwin Prize.

The other awardees this year are country legend Merle Haggard, choreographer Bill T. Jones, and, at long last, “Hello Dolly!” Broadway composer Jerry Herman.

Ironically, it was Herman’s hit song, “Hello Dolly!”–as recorded by Louis Armstrong–that fought the Beatles for the number 1 spot on the charts in 1964.  It would be very funny if producer George Stevens, Jr. got McCartney to sing “Hello Dolly!” at the show.

The Kennedy Center opted for no Hollywood names this year. Among some that were bandied about were Meryl Streep and George Lucas. Michael Douglas might have been a cool choice considering his illness, and that he’s having a banner year with “Wall Street 2” and “Solitary Man.”

In music, some fans were hopeful of an award for Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the legendary songwriting team. This is their 60 th anniversary. But there’s always next year.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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