In today’s political celebrity news: while Mitt Romney cancelled a planned appearance on The View, a show he previously described as “high-risk because of the five women on it, only one is conservative, and four are sharp-tongued and not conservative”, the ladies of Hollywood have been busy making endorsement videos for Barack Obama.
It’s good for us to remember that actors are people too. And if they care about our country enough to call hair and makeup and recite a few lines in front of a camera, we say go for it, good citizens of Los Angeles.
The videos, most of which can be seen on the Barack Obama YouTube channel, range in quality from the sappy, highly produced and musically scored to a couple that I could have shot if I’d hit record on my iPhone.
Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria and Scarlett Johansson
VOTE! That’s what Kerry Washington, Eva Longoria and Scarlett Johansson tell us in a Rob Reiner/Moveon.org release that hit YouTube on Monday. The gist of it is that Mitt Romney is no friend to women. It’s a simple spot: 30 seconds, no music, white background, and any directing advice seems to have been limited to “be yourself”. For Kerry Washington that means coming across as Olivia Pope in Scandal as she says: “He said he’d overturn Roe v Wade,” as if she’s talking to the president himself. Scarlett Johansson does natural by wearing jeans and a plaid shirt while Eva Longoria is dressed for the Desperate Housewives reunion. Longoria gets the highest marks for getting out the line, “trying to force women to undergo invasive ultrasounds” with primetime passion in her voice.
Rating: two stars
This would have been my favorite if it hadn’t been 1.17 minutes long, which can be an eternity on YouTube. Everything about it is amateur and its lack of pretension makes it appealing. Olivia Munn, or Sloan Sabbith in The Newsroom as we currently know her, went to Virginia to make this video to remind Virginians that voter registration ends today. Not sure how effective it’ll be as the spot was only put up on Friday, and so far it’s only been viewed 3,569 times – four of those by me. But worth watching for the hand-drawn picture of the unicorn.
Rating: four stars
Olivia Wilde, Julianna Margulies, Jennifer Lopez, Beyoncé and others
Women’s Voices: Join Women for Obama
This is the awards-show video. Theme of President Obama being the only choice for us, he loves women, he’s the man. Lots of stars, sappy music, soft focus, and clever production tricks done on someone’s Mac. Olivia Wilde, Julianna Margulies, Julianne Moore, J Lo, Gloria Steinem (just to prove we mean business), Beyoncé – yes, Beyoncé. And Padma Lakshmi. Jane Lynch is in there. Everyone wearing just enough makeup to look natural in high def. Enough sincerity to make your laptop explode.
Rating: one star
Ohio is a swing state and Natalie’s mom grew up in Cincinnati. Her grandma still lives there, which means you should vote for Obama. I liked this video because it had nice shots of Portman backstage and onstage speaking at pro-Obama events. So it felt “real”. Also short.
Rating: three stars
Maya Angelou and Lynn Whitfield
Every Vote Counts
“Black people… went still every year back again and again to try to vote,” says Maya Angelou. “Imagine one vote – your vote might make the difference. Don’t hesitate, don’t sit on the sidelines and don’t regret.” OK Angelou is not an actress, but she is the coolest.
Rating: four stars
We are a Powerful Force
No, YOU are a powerful force, Alicia. Keys goes to Philly to get out the vote wearing a cool brown trilby. The video shows her tweeting (and her tweets) from the road. She is friendly and relaxed to the voters she meets and everywhere she is surrounded by fans. Not sure if this is a Barack Obama or an Alicia Keys promo, but who cares? “He definitely gets it,” she tells a packed auditorium who roar as if she’s just belted out Fallin’.
Rating: five stars
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Image via YouTube (screenshot)