Monday, February 19, 2007


It has occurred to the Weekly Green that along with lauding efforts of celebrities and newsmakers who promote a healthy globe for all species, there may be a need to point out the shortcomings and, in some cases, even to publicly pillory deliberate bad actors. (Two future columns here will investigate 'debt vultures' and 'climate change' skeptics in the pay of big oil.)

But for now the subject is Hollywood and, in the spirit of Oscar generosity, the list below stresses the good deeds, whether environmental or simply charitable, (the Green and the Gold) of those nominated in the male acting categories. (I will happily correct omissions. Please email:

In the category of Best Supporting Actor, the nominees are...

Alan Arkin, Little Miss Sunshine – Arkin is a legend. A founding member of Second City, he’s supported an organic lifestyle and preservation of the environment for many, many years. His father, David Arkin, was an artist/writer who, as a teacher, lost his job refusing to answer questions about political affiliation in the 50's. Though his father prevailed against his politically-based dismissal, Alan Arkin has long shunned celebrity for celebrity’s sake. Perhaps in the present urgent "climate" he’ll rethink his stance and take a more high profile and active role in the issues of concern to him.

Jackie Earle Haley, Little Children – After 13 years of virtual anonymity, the child and young adult actor first seen in BAD NEWS BEARS and BREAKING AWAY, has no resume of environmental or charity work we could find. So far.
Djimon Hounsou, Blood Diamond – Hounsou participates in the ONE Campaign and he appears on behalf of Oxfam. His production company, Belly Serpent, actively seeks projects that "tell African stories through the eyes of Africans." From Benin, he’s a former runway model who was briefly homeless in Paris, but he’s been living in L.A. 18 years now and starred in AMISTAD in 1997.
Eddie Murphy, Dreamgirls – Murphy started the Yeah! Foundation which helps the homeless and provides scholarships for schools. He also supports the Martin Luther King, Jr., Center for Nonviolent Social Change as well as the AIDS Foundation and cancer charities.
Mark Wahlberg, The Departed – He established the Mark Walberg Youth Foundation to raise and distribute funds to youth service and enrichment programs and is involved with the L.A. Free Clinic.

In the category of BEST ACTOR, the nominees are as follows..

WILL SMITH, The Pursuit of Happyness - The Will and Jada Smith Family Foundation benefits inner-city community development, youth educational projects and under-privileged children. Smith hosted the Nelson Mandela AIDS benefit concert in George, South Africa, has worked with the Dream Foundation to enhance the lives of individuals and families battling terminal illnesses. He also worked with PACT, a charity for children with special needs and Youth Health Empowerment, a pilot project that targeted youth in Philadelphia to reduce the spread of HIV.

FOREST WHITAKER, The Last King of Scotland - The role is a statement in itself. Whitaker, however, only recently joined with PETA to promote his vegetarianism in a new TV spot for their website talking about his meat-free diet. Long a favorite for sympathetic and powerful performances in films like BIRD; GHOST DOG; GOOD MORNING, VIETNAM; THE COLOR OF MONEY and THE CRYING GAME, this year’s Oscar-favorite might be pushed, hopefully, to do more now that his star is shining so brightly.

LEONARDO DICAPRIO, The Departed - DiCaprio is simply Hollywood’s hardest-working ‘do-gooder’. He has a website full of links to charitable efforts in service to the planet and the creatures living on it. His largely selfless contributions, listed in part elsewhere at this site, are best seen at:

RYAN GOSLING, Half Nelson - Gosling is involved with ONE (see November archive, "So Much Good To Do, So Little Time" re Running The Sahara), a campaign working to help the poor overcome AIDS and poverty. He’s also worked for animal-rights, writing a letter to Kentucky Fried Chicken on behalf of PETA, urging the company to improve its treatment of animals, and has traveled to Darfur and Katrina-devastated areas to assist in relief efforts.

PETER O’TOOLE, Venus - What to say about Peter. This is a man who generously donated his pancreas, a large portion of his stomach and a good deal of his liver to alcoholism. At 74, with an Oscar win, or, at the very least, high visibility again, one hopes Sir Peter will be granted the time to put it to beneficent use. His performance as Henry the 2nd in BECKETT remains, to this viewer, a thing of lasting human value in itself.

Coming soon, the Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress Nominees...

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