The Shmooze

Ranking 'Pantheon' of 6,000 Years of Jews

By Michael Kaplan

Well, rankings of the world’s most famous people from the past 6,000 years are in.

Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman has beat out Ariel Sharon, Moses has an ever-so-slight lead over Muhammad and Jesus Christ is apparently the world’s number one Jew.

The project, an endeavor of the Macro Connections group at MIT’s media lab, includes more than 11,000 of the world’s most popular individuals.

Aptly titled Pantheon, the website includes lists breaking down icons by locale and profession, but also allows users to manipulate the parameters and disregard time, profession and place. So American porn-star Jenna Jameson, Portuguese soccer player Christiano Ronaldo and the late Greek philosopher Aristotle go head-to-head on the same 11,334 famous persons list, which spans from the years 4,000 BCE to 2010.

Martin Luther King Jr. tops the list of Americans and film director Stanley Kubrick, the top Jew on the list, places in at 23rd. Film director Steven Spielberg and linguist Noam Chomsky, both Jewish, also make the top 100 of the famous Americans list.

The project assigns figures to the modern national borders of their birthplace.

The MIT project’s methodology page admits the inevitable shortcomings and incompleteness of their endeavor, which largely relies on Wikipedia entries. Creators included individuals whose biographies have been translated into more than 25 languages and says the project measures “historical cultural popularity and production.”

Here are some findings using their lists.

World’s top 5 Jews:
-Jesus Christ, Palestine (4 BCE)
-Moses, Egypt (1394 BCE)
-Abraham, Unknown (3500 BCE)
-Albert Einstein, Germany (1879)
-Karl Marx, Germany (1818)

America’s top 5 Jews:
-Stanley Kubrick (1928)
-Isaac Asimov (1920)
-Steven Spielberg (1946)
-Noam Chomsky (1928)
-Zac Efron (1987)

Israel’s top 5 (4000 BCE – 2010):
-Solomon (1000 BCE)
-Mary (100 BCE)
-John the Baptist (5 BCE)
-Mary Magdalene (1)
-Isaac (3500 BCE)

Palestine’s top 5 (4000 BCE – 2010):
-Jesus Christ (4 BCE)
-David (1040 BCE)
-Saint George (280)
-Herod the Great (73 BCE)
-Saint Joseph (90 BCE)

The Modern State of Israel’s top 5 (those born in Israel included):
-Natalie Portman (1981)
-Ariel Sharon (1928)
-Yitzhak Rabin (1922
-Moshe Dayan (1915)
-Benjamin Natanyahu (1949)

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: steven spielberg, stanley kubrik, noam chomsky, moses, jewish, jesus, albert einstein, abraham, MIT

Steven Spielberg Calls for Action on Holocaust Remembrance Day

By Anne Cohen

Steven Spielberg called on the world to act on the lessons of the Holocaust during a keynote address to a special UN General Assembly marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Mass graves don’t have to open up before we act,” he said. “It is a great accomplishment of our species that the testimonies [of survivors] can be heard in the high chambers of society.”

“Genocide is an evil. But, the greatest evil is when people who have been spared the horrors commit themselves to despair,” Spielberg continued. “We know despair and remembering are a choice. But we need to confront and act on what we learned.”

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Steven Spielberg is Making a Halo TV Show

By Chavie Lieber

Getty Images

Techies rejoice: Steven Spielberg, the master of techie movies, is making a techie TV show.

At today’s Microsoft XBox event in Washington, the company launched their new product, XBox one, before announcing they were teaming up with the Jewish filmmakers to create a television series based on the Xbox-exclusive, first-person shooting game, “Halo.”

The show, titled “World of Halo,” will be an Xbox Live exclusive, following suite to companies which create original content for their products, like Netflix’s move with the “House of Cards” series.

Spielberg took the stage, digitally, after the announcement, to address the crowd of the new project, NBC reports.

“For me, the Halo universe is an amazing opportunity to be at that intersection where technology and myth-making meet to create something really groundbreaking,” Spielberg said.

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It's Schindler, not Himmler!

By Anne Cohen

A contestant on Wednesday night’s “College Jeopardy” is probably hiding in a cave somewhere to keep from being hunted down by Steven Spielberg, after she giving an alarming answer to the following question: “Spielberg made a great film about this man’s list.”

Oops.

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Barbara Walters Interviews The Tribe

By Anne Cohen

Getty Images
Barbara Walters

TV journalism matriarch Barbara Walters will be hanging up her mic in May 2014.

Over her 52-year career, she’s interviewed every US President and First Lady since Richard and Pat Nixon, Hollywood icons, world leaders, dictators, Justin Bieber, and even a member of the tribe or two.

Here’s a look back at some of her top interviews.

1. Menachem Begin and Anwar Sadat

In 1977, Walters convinced Begin and Sadat to sit down together for their first joint interview ever. Watch her talk about how she managed it.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: victoria beckham, retiring, steven spielberg, monica lewinsky, jewish, menachem begin, elizabeth taylor, david beckham, barbra streisand, anwar sadat, barbara walters

Steven Spielberg's 'Lincoln' Tops Oscars List

By Reuters

getty images

Presidential drama “Lincoln” led the pack of Oscar nominees on Thursday with 12 nominations including a nod for best picture, in the race for the world’s top film honors.

Joining “Lincoln” in the competition for the best movie Oscar were eight films - shipwreck tale “Life of Pi” with 11 nods, musical “Les Miserables,” Iran hostage drama “Argo,” French language drama “Amour,” Osama bin Laden thriller “Zero Dark Thirty,” comedy “Silver Linings Playbook,” Quentin Tarantino’s “Django Unchained,” and mythological film “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

The Oscars are given out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and this year’s winners will be named at a ceremony in Hollywood on Feb. 24.

Best acting nominations went to Daniel Day-Lewis for his performance as U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Hugh Jackman for “Les Miserables,” Jessica Chastain for her role as a CIA agent in “Zero Dark Thirty” and Jennifer Lawrence for playing a young widow in “Silver Linings Playbook.”

In a list with few major surprises, “Lincoln” also picked up nods for director Steven Spielberg, and supporting actors Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones, as well as best adapted screenplay and costumes.

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Steven Spielberg Scores Directors Guild Nod

By Reuters

Filmmakers Steven Spielberg, Kathryn Bigelow, Ben Affleck, Tom Hooper and Ang Lee received nominations from the Directors Guild of America (DGA) on Tuesday, ahead of the Oscar nominations this week.

Affleck, 40, landed his first Directors Guild film award nomination for Iran hostage thriller “Argo,” alongside Oscar-winning U.S. directors Bigelow and Spielberg, Taiwanese director Lee and British filmmaker Hooper.

The DGA nominations are often a key indicator of Oscar nominees and winners, and the Academy Award for best picture also often goes to the winner of the best director award.

The winner of the DGA feature film category will be revealed at a dinner ceremony hosted by Kelsey Grammer on Feb. 2 in Los Angeles, three weeks before the Academy Awards.

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Friday's Shmooze Celebrity Roundup

By Renee Ghert-Zand

There’s lots to report for those who just can’t get enough news about Natalie Portman. Fans who take a keen interest in the actress’s choice of scripts learned that producer Tom Hanks is eyeing her for a starring role in his movie version of Erik Larson’s bestselling “In The Garden of the Beasts.” Those who appreciate Portman for the political stands she takes noticed that she was sporting a “Women’s Rights” hand stamp as she got off a flight on Wednesday at LAX. She was returning home from New York, where she attended a fundraising event for President Obama. Finally, mommy Natalie was spotted spending quality time yesterday with little Aleph.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg told an audience at the University of Colorado Law School that she predicted that gay marriage would come before the Supreme Court this term.

You may already know that Jon Stewart and Bill O’Reilly are getting ready to rumble, but did you know that Eliot Spitzer is planning to square off with Glenn Beck in a debate next month, as well?

American history buffs will be excited to know that Steven Spielberg has been invited to speak at Soldier’s National Cemetery as part of Dedication Day, an annual event honoring President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. It is no mere coincidence that Spielberg’s appearance at Gettysburg on November 19 falls in the same week that his new film, “Lincoln” is to be released nationwide.

Readers of yesterday’s Shmooze Celebrity Roundup know of the trouble Amanda Bynes is in. She, however, maintains she’s “doing amazing.” She denies drinking and driving and says she’s had it with acting in LA and is heading to New York to start a fashion design career. In the meantime, Bynes was kicked out of an exercise class on Tuesday night for exhibiting bizarre behavior.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel reportedly recently held a secret meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak. It is unclear whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was aware of the meeting before it took place. And all this time we thought Emanuel was dealing with nothing but the recently ended teacher’s strike in his city…

It looks like Ralph Lauren is finally acknowledging that plus-size women also deserve to buy into his fashion fantasy world. Robyn Lawley announced on “Good Morning America” that she has been chosen as the first plus-size model for Lauren’s brand and will star in its new campaign. We should note, however, that the plus-size Lawley is all of a size 12.

Mandy Patinkin talks about his new and old television roles in a new profile in New York Magazine.

Andy Samberg’s new 6-part BBC comedy series, “CUCKOO,” premieres next week. You can watch a sneak peek here.

Hot on the heels of news that Tori Spelling was rushed to hospital for surgery for emergency post-cesarean section complications came word that she has sold her Malibu home for $2.3 million. She and her husband Dean McDermott have been living on the 1.73 acre property, which has a chicken coop, horse corral and organic garden and orchard, with their three children. It seems that with the arrival of their fourth in August, they need more room.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Ralph Lauren, Rahm Emanuel, Natalie Portman, Mandy Patinkin, Jon Stewart, Jewish, Ehud Barak, Bill O'Reilly, Andy Samberg, Amanda Bynes, Steven Spielberg, Tom Hanks, Tori Spelling

Top Jews on Forbes Celeb 100 List

By Renee Ghert-Zand

Getty Images

Steven Spielberg is the top Jew on Forbes’s list of The World’s Most Powerful Celebrities. The director/writer/producer/studio owner came in at number 10 on the list of 100. Ahead of him were Jennifer Lopez, Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Kim Kardashian, Katy Perry and Tom Cruise. But coming in behind Spielberg were another 90 celebs, among them a fair number of other Jews.

Among them is former Beatle Paul McCartney (who was reported to be converting to Judaism, so he’s kosher enough for the purposes of our Jewish tally) in the 21st spot. Radio shock jock Howard Stern was ranked at number 30, with film and TV producer Jerry Bruckheimer coming in at 39th. Further down the list are MOT funnymen Adam Sandler, Jerry Seinfeld, and Ben Stiller. Actress Sarah Jessica Parker and reality TV personality Bethenny Frankel pull up the rear in 86th place and 97th place, respectively.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Sarah Jessica Parker, Paul McCartney, Jerry Seinfeld, Howard Stern, Bethenny Frankel, Ben Stiller, Adam Sandler, Steven Spielberg

Oscar Night Highlights

By Eileen Reynolds

Getty Images

Oscar night has come and gone, and now the real fun begins. With the glitzy spectacle fresh in our minds, this is the time to dissect, analyze, and discuss. Best and worst dressed? Start with our red-carpet photo slideshow. Which victories were well deserved? Who should’ve won but went home empty handed? Check out our list of historic wins to see how this year’s nominees measure up against the greatest Oscar winners of all time.

Best speech? Worst joke? Sweetest red-carpet couple? Read on to see how this year’s crop of Jewish nominees, presenters and guests — from Steven Spielberg to Natalie Portman to Sacha Baron Cohen — fared at the 84th Annual Academy Awards.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Seth Rogen, Sacha Baron Cohen, Oscars, Natalie Portman, Michel Hazanavicius, Jason Segel, Gwyneth Paltrow, Billy Crystal, Ben Stiller, Barbra Streisand, Adam Sandler, Steven Spielberg, Woody Allen

Too Convenient? Megan Fox Joins ‘The Dictator’ Film Cast

By Nathan Burstein

Though skeptical about conspiracy theories, The Shmooze can’t help but raise an eyebrow at the timing of Megan Fox’s latest career news.

Two days after director Michael Bay claimed that Steven Spielberg ordered the actress fired from “Transformers 3” because of a rather unfortunate comparison she made between Bay and Hitler, Fox has joined the cast of a movie called “The Dictator.”

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: The Dictator, Steven Spielberg, Sacha Baron Cohen, Michael Bay, Megan Fox, Borat, Transformers

Megan Fox Fired From 'Transformers' for Comparing Director to Hitler

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

It’s never a good idea to compare your boss to Hitler — even more so when his boss is Steven Spielberg.

Actress Megan Fox apparently learned this lesson the hard way, getting fired from one of Hollywood’s most popular film franchises after likening the series’ director, Michael Bay, to the Nazi dictator.

In an interview with England’s Daily Mail, Bay — currently ramping up publicity for the third “Transformers” movie — claims that Spielberg reacted furiously to Fox’s comments, in which she said, “[Bay] wants to be like Hitler on his sets, and he is.”

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The Jewish Dream Team Behind New Abe Lincoln Flick

By Nathan Burstein

Getty Images

If they could get Natalie Portman involved, it truly would be a Jewish dream team behind “Team of Rivals,” an upcoming Hollywood drama about the presidency of Abraham Lincoln.

Instead, they’ll have to make do with “just” the directing talents of Steven Spielberg and the writing gifts of Tony Kushner, who are collaborating for a second time to adapt Doris Kearns Goodwin’s best-selling 2005 book of the same name. The film will star Daniel Day-Lewis as Lincoln and Sally Field as his wife.

The movie marks a reunion for Spielberg and Kushner, who worked together on 2005’s “Munich.” Both received Oscar nominations for their work — Kushner shared his with co-writer Eric Roth — but also generated controversy with the film’s depiction of Israeli counterterrorism efforts in the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics massacre.

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Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tony Kushner, Team of Rivals, Steven Spielberg, Sally Field, Natalie Portman, Munich, Doris Kearns Goodwin, Eric Roth, Daniel Day Lewish, Abraham Lincoln




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