Wednesday, April 17, 2024

White House Correspondents Dinner: Helen Mirren, Aretha Franklin and Will Smith Make Up for a Lot of D List Celebrities


Thank goodness for Helen Mirren. If she and Taylor Hackford hadn’t gone to the White House Correspondents Dinner, the night would have been pretty lame.

They were the biggest stars of the night, along with Aretha Franklin, Will and Jada Smith, Bryan Cranston, and Kerry Washington. The latter came with a phalanx from Shondaland, TV shows made by Shonda Rhimes, including Tony Goldwyn (who is actual Hollywood royalty). Goldwyn got a selfie with Aretha Franklin and posted it to Instagram: “Okay now I can die and go to heaven.”

But my has this thing devolved. You know things are bad when Arianna Huffington brings a horror of a “celebrity” who calls himself the Fat Jewish and wears a spike of hair standing straight up on his head. Pathetic.

So many reality stars, models, and low level TV stars clogged the red carpet it was a little jaw dropping. And sad. What happened to Oprah? All the Hollywood heavyweights who backed Barack Obama? Most of the ballroom at the Washington Hilton looks like a casting call for “Hollywood Squares.”

It’s almost more interesting who ISN’T there: Sting was in Washington for a Jazz at White House show. He didn’t stay. Bono is on the East Coast– I saw his amazing performance Friday night for Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation.

Granted, the Boston Globe reporters brought their corresponding actors from “Spotlight.” That was a nice touch. But mostly is the presence of people like Omarosa from Donald Trump’s “The Apprentice” who kind of summarized the climate.

You know, Tom Brokaw boycotts the WHCD. He doesn’t think journalists should mix and mingle with people they cover. He has a point.

Stay tuned to see what Larry Wilmore has to say about all of this…

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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