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Tom O'Neil has the inside track on Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and all the award shows.

Category: Barack Obama

Hey, Jon Stewart: Give back this Emmy for 'The Daily Show'!

August 30, 2010 | 12:10 pm

Pssst! Do you want to know what secret weapon Jon Stewart used to claim Emmy victory for "The Daily Show" as best variety series for an unprecedented eighth time in a row? Roland Martin's ascot. Yes, the neckwear donned by CNN pundit Roland Martin.

Jon Stewart Daily Show Emmy ascot

That was the focus of the episode of "The Daily Show" submitted to Emmy judges: No. 15065, telecast on May 10, 2010. In it, Stewart strenuously ridicules Martin's ascot. The rest of the segment submission is equally lame stuff: "Senior British Person" John Oliver rants about results of the British election, Jon Stewart rants about recent shenanigans on Wall Street and all viewers doze off while Stewart fawns over historian Jack Rakove as they coo over Rakove's new book about America's founding fathers titled "Revolutionaries."

That's it. That is what so wowed Emmy voters to choose "The Daily Show" over "The Tonight Show With Conan O'Brien" (which submitted his historic, heart-tugging farewell episode), "Saturday Night Live" (the Betty White spectacular) and "The Colbert Report" (Stephen Colbert gets a visit via satellite from Barack Obama while Colbert entertains troops in Iraq).

Obviously, if such a tepid "Daily Show" entry can beat all that, then it's destined to continue winning its Emmy category … forever.

Why does "The Daily Show" keep winning? My theory: Stewart is so good at whipping up a lynch mob among TV viewers that Emmy judges (read shallow Hollywooders) can't resist his cry to arms even if it's ridiculous — or, worse, not funny. Many of his shows are brilliant and they deserve their accolades. But at his worst, his performance can be a mix of pop-eyed evangelist and playground bully (sometimes even whining "Nyah, nyah, nyah!" like a sneering child while wagging an angry finger at the screen) as he demonizes the targets of his rage. Granted, that often makes for great TV worthy of Emmys and I think he's deserved all the ones he's won to date, but, sorry, not this time. Stewart should give this Emmy back and Emmy judges should feel ashamed of themselves for being so easily recruited into a lynch mob to string up — not political monsters or economic threats — but Roland Martin's ascot. Heck, Stewart was so uninterested in receiving this Emmy that he didn't even bother to show up to accept it.

Note: There is a false rumor circulating the web claiming that "Daily Show" won thanks to an episode in which Stewart skewers Glenn Beck. Not true. That rumor is probably the result of this post at "The Daily Show" website referring to the show's "nomination reel." That was the DVD sent to all 14,000 academy members by Comedy Central months ago as part of the network's awards campaign. I have the actual DVDs that were weighed by the 200 judges in this variety category in recent weeks and can attest that they saw the ascot episode.

Photo: Comedy Central

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Gold Derby nuggets: Sasha Stone on state of best actress Oscar race | Guy Lodge: No complaints about Venice lineup

July 29, 2010 |  1:53 pm

Annette Bening Julianne Moore • Longtime Oscarologist Sasha Stone has produced a list of 17 women who could vie for the best actress prizes in the awards derby. For Sasha, "the field is already half-filled with Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Jennifer Lawrence. But out of Cannes, came three great performances. I saw two of them, Michelle Williams and Lesley Manville. I missed Naomi Watts in 'Fair Game,' but word has it she won’t BE IGNORED, Dan. And then Tilda Swinton received her usual acclaim for 'I Am Love,' which puts her in the running." Beyond this, Sasha says, "there are more to come this year. The question is, how well will these early names hold as the festival season kicks into high gear? What names will rise to the top of the pile? Will it be a newcomer? Or will a veteran finally get her due?" AWARDS DAILY

Ray Richmond delivers an insightful report into the continuing controversy surrounding which producers are deemed eligible to contend for the best series Emmy Awards. As Ray writes, "the academy has aggressively cracked down on the producer lists submitted by nominated series contenders since about 2000, with the joint goals of weeding out the undeserving and capping the producing team’s size." The academy's awards exec John Leverence, "stresses that, over the past year, there has been a 'generalized embrace' from the Academy of the writer-producer’s role with regard to comedy and drama series in particular. The dialogue that’s been conducted between ATAS members and showrunners over the past numbers of years 'has finally resulted in white smoke coming up at the PGA and WGA and the Academy during the last year. And it points to the fact there’s an understanding of the general eligibility of writer-producers.'" DEADLINE

Barack Obama chose ABC's long-running "The View" as the first daytime talker to receive a visit from a sitting president. Had he waited till this fall, he would have been faced with a quandary as "The Talk," another female-friendly gabfest, is set to debut on CBS. On Tuesday, the sextet of sassy ladies who will gather daily to dish met the TV press. Among those joining show creator Sara Gilbert on the panel is, "Julie Chen, who will remain a contributor to 'Early Show' and host of CBS' 'Big Brother,' and said the show will be a discussion of motherhood and more. All the hosts, including Sharon Osbourne and actresses Holly Robinson Peete and Marissa Jaret Winokur, are parents. 'This show should feel like you're watching six women talking about what everybody's talking about, whether it's Mel Gibson or the Arizona immigration law,' Chen said. 'But we don't have an edit button.' " AP

• While "The Talk" replaces the canceled soap "Another World," another daytime drama -- "All My Children" -- is still going strong thanks in no small part to Susan Lucci, who has starred on the show for four decades. Now comes the news that the reigning diva of daytime is finally penning her autobiography. The press release promises that "in addition to providing readers with an exciting and satisfying behind the scenes look at her career, Lucci will devote much of the book to her personal life off-camera. Lucci will reveal information on her devastating car accident, her miscarriage, and the joy that came with finally winning an Emmy in 1999 after eighteen previous nominations."

Screen shot 2010-07-29 at 4.12.19 PM • For Guy Lodge, Wednesday's announcement of 22 films in competition in Venice "looks much as we expected -- we'd effectively been promised Sofia Coppola' s 'Somewhere' and Julian Schnabel's 'Miral' since they failed to show up at Cannes, while Tuesday’s Toronto announcement tipped us off to the presence of Francois Ozon's 'Potiche,' the Dustin Hoffman starrer 'Barney’s Version' and the Haruki Murakami adaptation 'Norwegian Wood.'" And as Guy notes, "the list is no less appetizing for its lack of real surprises. Topping my 'can’t wait' list is another film that had widely been expected to play the Lido: Kelly Reichardt’s 'Meek’s Cutoff,' a period western starring Michelle Williams and Paul Dano." IN CONTENTION

• The international version of the Emmy Awards sent out a glossy reminder to save the date of Nov. 22 for the 37th annual edition of these kudos. The ceremony at the New York Hilton is slated to include salutes to Brit bad boy Simon Cowell and Canuck comedy maestro Lorne Michaels, who have changed the face of U.S. television with "American Idol" and "Saturday Night Live," respectively. The weekend prior will see the unspooling of the international television festival highlighting many of the contenders.

Amy Poehler has a busy few weeks ahead of her as she and hubby Will Arnett prepare for the arrival of a second child to join son Archie and both prepare to attend the Emmy Awards. She is contending for lead actress in a comedy series for "Parks and Recreation" while he is up for best guest actor in "30 Rock" which was created by their good pal -- and Amy's category rival -- Tina Fey. Amy dishes with Leslie Bruce about the nomination, her dream role and her plans to get post-baby red-carpet ready. HOLLYWOOD REPORTER

Photos, from top: Annette Bening and Julianne Moore in "The Kids Are All Right." Credit: Focus Features. Venice Film Festival logo. Credit: La Biennale.

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Gold Derby nuggets: Kathy Griffin's naked ambition | Paul McCartney serenades Michelle Obama | George Clooney just one of the guys

June 3, 2010 |  2:39 pm

Kathy Griffin Emmy Awards Consideration Ad • Two-time Emmy champ Kathy Griffin is a savvy campaigner for TV's top honor. In Thursday's print edition of the Hollywood Reporter, she displays her considerable talents in a "For Your Consideration" ad. Griffin poses in a cheesecake shot reminiscent of 1950s pin-up Bettie Page. The copy touts her three Emmy hopes -- best reality program ("My Life on the D-List"), best variety music or comedy special ("Balls of Steel") and guest actress in a drama series ("Law & Order: SVU"). She also heralds her work in a category that has yet to get Emmy recognition -- a YouTube sex video -- and in the ad copy says, "They don't give out an Emmy for best airbrushing but if they did, I'd totally win." Griffin has won two of her four bids for best reality show (2007, 2008) but lost both of her races for best variety special. "SVU" has proven to be a gold mine for guest actresses with four of them winning the Emmy and another 10 contending.

• "The New Adventures of Old Christine" was canceled by CBS on May 18, and Mike Ausiello delivers the scoop that ABC will not be picking up the series after all. The alphabet net was said to be interested in the laffer in years past when it was on the bubble for renewal. Julia Louis-Dreyfus won the Emmy for lead actress in a comedy series for the show's 13-episode first season run in 2006 and has contended for each of the following three full seasons. ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY

Erik Pipenburg has crafted an interactive report on the four Tony Awards nominees for best sound design of a play -- Adam Cork ("Enron," "Red"), Acme Sound Partners ("Fences") and Scott Lehrer ("A View From the Bridge") -- including interviews and audio excerpts of their work. ARTS BEAT

Paul McCartney Barack Obama Gershwin PrizeSir Paul McCartney wowed at the White House Wednesday during the presentation to him of the Gershwin Prize for Popular Song. As Nancy Benac reports, "Stevie Wonder had the Obamas clapping to 'We Can Work It Out.' The Jonas Brothers did 'Baby You Can Drive My Car.' Corinne Bailey Rae slowed things down with 'Blackbird.' And Faith Hill stroked 'Long and Winding Road.'" However, "it was McCartney himself who brought down the house by belting out 'Michelle,' aiming his words straight at a first lady named Michelle. He said he'd been 'itching' to perform it at the White House, and asked the president's forgiveness in advance. The first lady was soon mouthing the words along with McCartney and the president was swaying in his seat." The evening will air on PBS July 28 as part of the "In Performance at the White House" series. AP

• Tony-winning writer-director Arthur Laurents ("La Cage aux Folles") has honored his late partner of 52 years Tom Hatcher by creating a new award for emerging playwrights in both their names. The prize will be given annually with $50,000 going to the creator of a full-length play of social relevance and an additional $100,000 to the non-profit theater that stages its premiere. PLAYBILL

Guys Choice Awards 2010John Consoli has an extensive rundown of the bold-faced names appearing on the fourth annual Guys Choice Awards airing on Spike TV on Father's Day (June 20). Among those attending the June 5 taping in L.A. are nominees George ClooneyLeBron James, Kiefer Sutherland and  Scarlett Johansson. Winners of the 14 awards will be decided by an online vote. THE WRAP

Upper photo: Kathy Griffin "For Your Consideration" ad. Credit: THR

Middle photo: Paul McCartney and President Obama at the White House. Credit: Andrew Harrer/EPA/Pool.

Lower photo: Guys Choice Awards logo. Credit: Spike TV.

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Stevie Wonder awarded Gershwin Prize by first fan Barack Obama

February 26, 2009 | 12:32 pm

President Barack Obama says he won Michelle Obama over with their shared love of the music of Stevie Wonder. During Wednesday's White House presentation to Wonder of the Gershwin Prize — an honor bestowed by the Library of Congress — the president said, "I think it's fair to say that had I not been a Stevie Wonder fan, Michelle might not have dated me, we might not have married. The fact that we agreed on Stevie was part of the essence of our courtship."


And Michelle Obama reminisced about listening to Stevie Wonder's albums with her grandfather: "He'd blast music throughout the house and that's where he and I would sit and listen to Stevie's music together — songs about life, love, romance, heartache, despair." The Obamas chose Stevie Wonder's "You and I" from his breakthrough 1972 album "Talking Book" as the first song at their 1992 wedding.

The Library of Congress established the Gershwin Prize two years ago to "celebrate the work of an artist whose career reflects lifetime achievement in promoting song as a vehicle of musical expression and cultural understanding." The first recipient was Paul Simon while Stevie Wonder is the second. During the White House ceremony,  Wonder performed for the first couple and an invited audience. That concert will air tonight on most PBS stations.

Stevie Wonder has won a record 22 Grammy Awards, tying him with U2, and he was given the lifetime achievement Grammy in 1996. He has been inducted into both the songwriters (1983) and rock and roll (1989) halls of fame.  Wonder won best song at the 1994 Oscars for "I Just Called to Say I Love You" from "The Woman in Red" and in 1999 he was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors.


U2 could set Grammys record with 'No Line on the Horizon'

U2 bringing Spider-Man musical to Broadway — Can this superhero conquer the Tonys?

'Billy Elliot' trio to compete as one at Tony Awards

'Billy Elliot' — Early front-runner at next year's Tonys

Photo: Motown

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The Envelope is blogging live from Sundance Film Festival!

January 17, 2009 |  6:08 pm

Check out our new blog offering instant coverage of whazzup at the Sundance Film Festival. Bookmark the main page and hit refresh often for the latest reports, which include dozens of exclusive video Sundance_mariah_carey_news_39274 chats with top stars and filmmakers plus pix and in-depth text reports. Also, explore our main Sundance page, which includes feature articles, film reviews, plus even more video, and a special photo gallery.

Among our videos: Ben Affleck chats about the documentary he exec-produced, "Reporter," which spotlights coverage of war-torn Congo by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Nicholas Kristof. Amy Poehler, in Park City to ballyhoo her new movie, "Spring Breakdown," tells us who she most wants to meet among the glitterati at the fest. Sam Rockwell dishes his new pic, "Moon."

Other interviews include Ashton Kutcher discussing his new pic, "Spread," and telling us about his promo work on behalf of President-elect Barack Obama.

In our photo gallery are lively shots of the "Rudo y Cursi" team — director Carlos Cuaron, producer Guillermo del Toro, actor Gael García Bernal. See Christie Brinkley (is she snow dancing at Sundance?), DJ AM spinning records at the parties, Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon at the screening of "Push: Based on the Novel By Sapphire" and Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon attending the premiere of Bacon's "Taking Chances."

Photos of Christie Brinkley and Mariah Carey courtesy of Getty Images

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Will Barack Obama celebration win over Emmy Awards voters too?

January 16, 2009 |  1:52 pm

This Sunday afternoon's concert in celebration of the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama will air live on HBO at 2:30 p.m. from the Lincoln Memorial and be repeated twice that evening. The special — "We Are One" — will feature a roster of Grammy Award-winning talent drawn from all genres of music as well as Oscar winners and nominees and could well figure in many Emmy Awards races this fall.

Barack_obama_18253, who created the YouTube video sensation "Yes We Can," will represent hip hop. There will be rock music by Bruce Springsteen, who was one of Obama's most vocal backers, as well as Bono, Sheryl Crow, Jon Bon Jovi and John Mellencamp.

The R&B camp has Beyonce, Mary J Blige, Usher and Stevie Wonder with country represented by Garth Brooks and Sugarland. Other musical genres in the mix include classical by Renee Fleming and Josh Groban, folk from Pete Seeger, jazz by Herbie Hancock and Latin pop sung by Shakira.

In among all this music, three Oscar winners — Jamie Foxx, Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington — as well as two Oscar nominees — Queen Latifah and Laura Linney — will be among those handling intros and reciting historical passages.

The paycaster is unscrambling its signal so the show will be available to all cable and satellite viewers as well as online. George Stevens,Jr., who earned five of his 11 Emmys for shepherding the star-studded tributes of the "Kennedy Center Honors," is exec producing this special. As for past presidential inaugurations, Ian Fraser won an Emmy for his musical direction at the first Clinton gala and was a nominee for the second while John Rook took home the lighting direction Emmy for the 1993 show.

Photo of Barack Obama by L.A. Times

Continue reading »

Can Barack Obama win '60 Minutes' another Emmy?

November 14, 2008 | 10:39 am

Last week was a very good one for TV newsmagazine "60 Minutes" — it was the No. 1 show and it scored five nominations for the Business and Financial Reporting Emmys. Now Barack_obama2 comes the news that veteran reporter Steve Kroft is sitting down today with president-elect Barack Obama for his first post-victory interview. This exclusive will air Sunday night on CBS.

The pioneering show, now in its 41st season, won three more News and Documentary Emmys in September, including kudos for its trademark investigative journalism as well as for the continuing coverage of a news story. And most certainly the newsmagazine's ongoing reporting on the presidential election qualifies as continuing coverage. Indeed, last week, Steve Kroft sat down with the winning team that ran the Obama campaign. Now, with this interview with the man himself, Kroft is spoiled for choice when it comes time to deciding what to submit for Emmy consideration next year.

Obama may also become a factor at the prime-time Emmys or the Oscars, depending on the release fate of the new documentary about his presidential campaign being produced by Edward Norton and HBO. If it gets a theatrical release before being aired on TV, it'll only qualify for an Oscar run. Otherwise, its first airing will be on TV, which makes it Emmy eligible. At this point HBO execs are not sure of its distribution plans. READ MORE.

Photo: Emmanuel Dunand /AFP/Getty Images

Barack Obama documentary may sweep the Emmy elections

November 10, 2008 |  9:09 am


The news that HBO just got behind the new documentary about Barack Obama's run for the White House has major Emmy implications. For the past two years HBO has won the Emmy category for nonfiction specials with "Autism: The Musical" and "The Ghosts of Abu Ghraib" and was a major player before that.

The awards prospects of the Obama docu are bolstered even more by the fact that it's co-produced by Edward Norton's shingle, Class 5 Films, which has been tracking the presidential rise of Obama — with his cooperation — since 2006 after teaming up with filmmakers Amy Rice and Alicia Sams. "The production has had close access to Obama as well as his family, friends, campaign staff and volunteers," reports Variety.

Emmy voters love big TV productions packaged by superstars. Think of Tom Hanks' past involvement in several winners of best mini-series: "John Adams" (2008), "Band of Brothers" (2002) and "From the Earth to the Moon" (1998).

However, the new Obama docu isn't an Emmy shoo-in. In 2003, HBO's docu about the presidential campaign of George W. Bush, "Journeys with George," lost the Emmy election for best nonfiction special to PBS' bio of Ben Franklin.

At this point it's unclear if the docu will be eligible for next year's Emmys. A network rep tells Gold Derby, "It is a bit too early to know if we will schedule this for sure before May 31" — the cutoff for Emmy eligibility.

Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/ AFP/Getty Images

Stephen Colbert: Barack Obama wants to steal my Emmy!

November 3, 2008 |  6:00 pm

"I've already been robbed three times, folks!" Stephen Colbert fumed about his Emmy losses on Comedy Central recently. "Manilow! Bennett! Rickles!"

Whom he fears next: "Barack Obama!"

Stephen Colbert did win an Emmy this year for writing, but he's referring to his string of losses in the category for best performance in a variety show and his dread that "the world's biggest celebrity" might upstage him next year for appearing in his political infomercial last week. Watch his rant below — it's a scream. Actually, lots of screams.

But as James Hibbert points out at his Hollywood Reporter blog The Live Feed, Barack Obama's show will not really be eligible. Just to make sure, Hibbert checked with awards chief John Leverence at the TV academy, who said, "I don't have a specific reference in the rules that would make it ineligible, but telethons are eligible only if they are not political. Though the ad was not specifically for raising money, it would be close enough to the spirit of that rule to be ineligible."

(Comedy Central)

'The West Wing' president advises Barack Obama

September 23, 2008 | 11:20 am


Aaron Sorkin, who created "The West Wing" — winner of four consecutive Emmys   as best drama series (2000–03) — imagines a conversation between his fictional president, Jed Bartlet, and Democratic hopeful Barack Obama.

Appropriately enough, the piece ran in Maureen Dowd's New York Times column on Emmy weekend.

"The West Wing" holds several Emmy records including most awards won by a series in a single season (nine for 1999-2000), most drama series wins (four — tied with "Hill Street Blues" and "L.A. Law"), and most acting nominations in a single season (12 in 2001–02). Tying the record of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Cheers," six of the series regulars won Emmys for their work: Alison Janney (supporting 2000, 2001; lead 2002, 2004); Richard Schiff (supporting 2000); Bradley Whitford (supporting 2001); Stockard Channing (supporting 2002); John Spencer (supporting 2002); and Alan Alda (supporting 2006).

However, Martin Sheen, who played Bartlet, never won an Emmy for his work on "The West Wing" despite seven consecutive nominations. He referenced this in his appearance on the Emmy Awards on Sunday night when, from the set of the Oval Office, he urged American citizens to vote in the upcoming presidential election.


Gold Derby nuggets: Barack Obama got Grammy No. 1, but not No. 2 . . . yet | Divine reviews for 'Religulous' | Emmys may stage inexplicable reunion with 'Melrose Place'

August 22, 2008 |  9:22 am


• The Grammys saw our article about Barack Obama's previous two award victories, and they want us to know that, even though Obama wasn't present at the ceremony to accept his first trophy for best spoken word recording of 2005, "Dreams From My Father," academy President Neil Portnow gave Barack Obama the statuette in September 2006 at the Grammy Recording Arts Day on Capitol Hill.  "It’s an event that seeks to educate policy makers and members of Congress about the importance of music education, preservation, and rights," notes a NARAS rep. "We may even do an event in the near future to give Barack his second Grammy since he wasn't able to pick it up at the ceremony this past year." Barack Obama's most recent win was in the same category, for the audiobook recording of "The Audacity of Hope."


• The Emmycast will probably include cast reunions of "Melrose Place" and "Happy Days," reports Marc Malkin of E! Online. However, these aren't reunions with the Emmys themselves. The Emmys can't reunite with shows they didn't embrace years ago, which leads me to ask: Why are they doing this? Is it just a mere coincidence that these shows happen to be Nielsen-friendly? What's wrong with saluting the big Emmy champs of yore? Here's the top 10 list of biggest winners: Academy Awards telecast (40), "Frasier" (37), "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" (29), "Cheers" (28), "Hill Street Blues" (26), "The West Wing" (26), "The Carol Burnett Show" (25), "Saturday Night Live" (23), "The Simpsons" (23), "All in the Family" (22).

• First reviews of Bill Maher's "Religulous" are out, with Variety hailing it as "brilliant, incendiary," adding, "By providing an example to other non-believers, Maher is, um, hell-bent on launching an even more aggressive conversation on the legitimacy of religion than he has on HBO’s 'Real Time With Bill Maher.'" Over at, Devin Faraci says "Religulous" "stacks up really well" as a film. Our take on its Oscar prospects, click here.

• A digitally remastered print of 'Rashomon' will screen at the Academy as part of an Akira Kurosawa showcase," notes Variety about the tribute beginning Sept. 18.


• At, Guy Lodge offers a sneak peek at the Oscar race for best foreign film, noting the news that Denmark has chosen to submit "Worlds Apart," adding, "Italy looks like the country to watch this year -- they’ll have a tough time selecting a single candidate from a renaissance year for their industry that includes the heavily buzzed 'Gomorrah' and fellow Cannes champ 'Il Divo.' " READ MORE

• Nominations for the World Soundtrack Awards were unveiled earlier this week and gave us a jarring return to the last derby. Due to a different eligibility period for the awards to be bestowed at the Ghent International Film Festival on Oct. 18, contenders are mostly films up for Oscars last February like "Atonement," "The Kite Runner" and "There Will Be Blood," but at least "WALL-E" made the list! Check out the Hollywood Reporter's rundown.

Photos: NARAS, Fox, Cannes Film Festival

Could his two Grammy wins be lucky charms for Barack Obama?

August 17, 2008 | 12:14 pm

Could Grammys be tea leaves or otherwise reflective of political success?

Failed presidential aspirant Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has won only once ("It Takes a Village," best spoken word, 1996), while her hubby, former U.S. Prez Bill Clinton, has two Grammy statuettes ("My Life," best spoken word, 2004; "Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf/Beintus: Wolf Tracks"; best spoken word for children, 2003). I'm tempted to think that two Grammys = U.S. president, but alas, former White House occupant Jimmy Carter has only one ("Our Endangered Values: America's Moral Crisis," best spoken word, 2006).

Sizing up the current U.S. presidential contest by this measurement, the Grammy vote count is Sen. Barack Obama two, Sen. John McCain zero. At the Grammys, in fact, Barack Obama is undefeated, going two for two. A good omen?


Barack Obama won his first Grammy in 2005 for the audio version of his memoir "Dreams from My Father," which claimed the prize for best spoken word over "The Adventures of Guy Noir: Radio Private Eye" (Garrison Keillor), "The Al Franken Show Party" (Al Franken), "Chronicles: Volume One" (Bob Dylan) and "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" (George Carlin).

"Dreams from My Father" was originally published in book form in 1995, but it was re-released in print with audio spinoff after he delivered the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

In 2007, as Barack Obama geared up to claim the nomination at the next Democratic National Convention, he won another Grammy for the audio version of his book "The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream," this time beating two former U.S. presidents: Bill Clinton ("Giving: How Each of Us Can Change the World") and Jimmy Carter ("Sunday Mornings in Plains: Bringing Peace to a Changing World"). The other contenders: Maya Angelou ("Celebrations") and Alan Alda ("Things I Overhead While Talking to Myself").

Obama was not present at the Grammys to accept either victory. When he won the first time, he had to be in Virginia that day to give a previously scheduled speech. I don't know why he missed the second ceremony. He didn't miss much, though, since both awards are bestowed off air early Grammy day before the prime-time telecast.

No Republican politician has won one of the spoken word categories since Illinois Sen. Everett Dirksen prevailed in 1967 for "Gallant Men."


(L.A. Times photo by Franchine Orr)



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