By Tony Rizzo
HOLLYWOOD — The recent Oscar controversy that caused many industry people of color to threaten to boycott this year’s awards was, as usual, fueled by headline-hungry media members. The Academy of Arts and Sciences is not responsible for the industry NOT casting more nonwhite actors in major roles that would be Oscar-worthy. Thank heavens Whoopi Goldberg made that clear on “The View” by explaining, “We have this conversation every year, and it pisses me off. There’s not a lot of support for little companies that make movies that may be more diverse than anything else, but you can’t bitch about it just at Oscar time. “It’s not that the Academy members are deciding whether or not to vote for something based on whether they feel like it’s a white movie or a black movie, the issue is that there aren’t enough movies with diverse casts getting financed and made.” She concluded, “The Oscars will continue to have a diversity problem until there are more movies made with people of color!” Whoopi, an Oscar winner herself, has said there is no way she will boycott the Oscars.
*** “Hello Dolly” was originally planned to star Ethel Merman on Broadway in 1964, but Merman passed on it, not wanting to be tied to a show for more than six months. It then was offered to Broadway legend Mary Martin, who also turned it down. Carol Channing accepted the role and played Dolly Levi for more than 3,000 performances, winning a Tony Award in the process. When she left, Ginger Rogers, Martha Raye, Betty Grable, Pearl Bailey and Ethel Merman followed her. Mary Martin played Dolly for 794 performances in London, and Barbra Streisand starred in the film version in 1969. We’re telling you this because the show will now be revived on Broadway in 2017 starring none other than Bette Midler. If anything can revive her career, being the toast of Broadway will do it.
*** Oscar-winner Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables” in 2012), went on to star in “Interstellar” with Matthew McConaughey (which grossed $675 million) and “The Intern” with Robert DeNiro (which grossed $194 million) and the sequel “Alice Through the Looking Glass,” coming out May 27. She’s just completed, “Colossal” with “Downton Abbey” alum Dan Stevens and Jason Sudeikis, about a woman who discovers severe catastrophic events are connected to her mental breakdown. She and husband Adam Shulman are producing her next film, a sci-fi spoof of “Bridesmaids” called “The Shower.” It’s about a baby shower that gets upstaged by blood-sucking aliens from outer space that crash the party during a meteor shower. What next, “The Blob’s Hangover”? (c) 2016 King Features Synd., Inc.