What Should Red Carpet Coverage Look Like?

Posted on January 8, 2018 at 9:10 pm


The New York Times, which broke the story about the abuse by Harvey Weinstein, is changing the way it reports on the red carpet at awards shows.

Red carpets have always been a clash of fame, sponsored content and super-cute shoes. The red carpet is where huge, powerful industries — celebrity, fashion, Hollywood, media, beauty, publicity — meet. Now that the curtain is finally being lifted on some of the grimy underbelly of Hollywood, we feel it’s more important than ever to not treat awards shows as silly things for silly people.

Given the enormity of our cultural reckoning in the last year with how women are treated in the workplace, on the internet and in Hollywood, we want to take a fresh look at how we cover this stuff. We have some plans about how to recognize the cultural moment — and would love to hear from readers about what you would like to see (and not see).

I’ll be very interested to see where this goes.  I don’t watch red carpet coverage (and won’t do it anymore myself) because it is so vapid.  I hope they ask people on the red carpet about why the projects were so important to them and what they hope people will think about what they see.  And that they give credit to the hard work of the designers they are wearing, too.

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Understanding Media and Pop Culture

Emmy Red Carpet Interviews #AskHerMore

Posted on September 22, 2015 at 10:40 am

Those “who are you wearing” questions on the red carpet are so tiresome and annoying, aren’t they? Especially now that it is so commercial and orchestrated. Everyone knows that stylists are paid a fortune and fashion houses lend their clothes and accessories in an elaborate product placement. So I endorse with enthusiasm the #askhermore campaign to ask the women who are attending awards events because of the quality of their work about that work instead of looking at their hair, clothes, and (why why why why) fingernails. Buzzfeed has a great counterpoint to red carpet insipidity with the #askhermore questions from this year’s Emmy telecast, featuring the questions from Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls project. They wanted to know: How did you start believing in yourself? Who would be a great female talk nighttime talk show host? What is your most meaningful project? I vote for putting them on the red carpet next year.

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Watch for#Askhermore Questions on the Red Carpet

Posted on February 22, 2015 at 6:11 pm

The Representation Project, using the hashtag #askhermore, is urging reporters on the red carpet to ask women about more than their clothes, jewelry, and manicures. They’ll be live-tweeting tonight, and encourage everyone to tweet the questions we want to hear answers from about what women who make films do other than wear pretty clothes.

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Awards Gender and Diversity

Red Carpet: The Theory of Everything with Eddie Redmayne and Screenwriter Anthony McCarten

Posted on November 6, 2014 at 10:16 pm

Copyright 2014 Nell Minow
Copyright 2014 Nell Minow

Tonight was a special screening of “The Theory of Everything” and I was very lucky to be at the red carpet, with star Eddie Redmayne, who plays physicist Stephen Hawking, and screenwriter Anthony McCarten. Redmayne told me about the meticulous chart he created to keep track of exactly which stage of the motor neuron disease Hawking was in for each scene. He also spoke about how inspired he is by Hawking’s passion for learning in all categories. He said that Hawking has now created a Facebook page, where he wrote:

I have always wondered what makes the universe exist. Time and space may forever be a mystery, but that has not stopped my pursuit. Our connections to one another have grown infinitely and now that I have the chance, I’m eager to share this journey with you. Be curious, I know I will forever be.

Screenwriter Anthony McCarten spoke to me about Jane Hawking, whose book inspired the film.  “Just as much as I was in awe of Stephen and his ideas, the man, the concepts he was revealing for us about the universe, when I read Jane’s book, that was the catalyst for me, that was when I knew I wanted to make this film.  This young woman who had only just begun to fall in love with this guy who was diagnosed with ALS and given two years to live.  Most people would walk away.  Her internal conviction, her love for him, made her decide to fight this thing with him and not allow him to be silenced.  He credits her with taking him out of his depression and allowing him to work.  We have to be truly grateful.  Without her, we might not have his ideas.  But also, Jane was a forerunner herself.  She was a woman of the 50’s, but he had her own ambitions.  She raised three children, supported Stephen through all his travails, and somehow managed to get her own work done and go on for her PhD.”

I asked what he had learned from the cosmology he studied to write the film.  “How very small we are.  We believe that our galaxy is one of 170 billion galaxies.  A recent simulation by a German team suggested there might be 500 billion galaxies.  That would mean for every star in our galaxy, there’s a corresponding galaxy.  Our problems may seem very huge, but as Einstein would say, it’s relative.”

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Behind the Scenes

World Premiere of ‘Wimpy Kid’ at Alexandria’s Riverside School

Posted on March 19, 2010 at 7:17 am

Alexandria, Virginia’s Riverside Elementary School hosted the World Premiere of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid,” thanks to a winning entry selected out of 5000 competing schools in a competition to host the premiere for their students.

The school safety patrols lined up on the playground to yell “I am a Wimpy Kid!”

The premiere event was held after school yesterday in conjunction with the National Education Association’s (NEA) “Read Across America” program, which focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources; the NEA has designated March as National Reading Month. NEA also sponsored the contest, along with 20th Century Fox, School Library Journal, and publisher Harry N. Abrams Inc. The School Library Journal hosted and facilitated the promotion, and Promethean presented the school with its ActivClassroom technology.

There was a full Hollywood-style red carpet with the school patrol kids providing security. I spoke to April Cage, the instructional coach who wrote the winning entry.

Author Jeff Kinney told me that the question he gets asked most often by kids is “What does ploopy mean?” It’s just a made-up word that his sister used to call him.

I asked Robert Capron about playing Rowley (note the Zooey Mama t-shirt!):

Director Thor Freudenthal talked about how happy he was to bring the movie to the Riverside school.


Zachary Gordon told me how lucky he felt to play Wimpy Kid Greg Heffley — and to go to a school that is the opposite of the one in the movie because it’s the kind of place where “if you fall everyone comes over to make sure you’re all right.”

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Tweens Understanding Media and Pop Culture
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