What’s in a Headline?

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Quick: Name this week’s single event which has and will continue to send some of the most powerfully seismic ripples throughout the Hollywood community: the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, or Justin Bieber’s Haircut? I’d like to say it’s the former, but in terms of straight landmark-event-style news, Bieber’s cut really was a lop heard round the world.  And my favorite headline concerning the removal of said locks? Why, it comes from The Hollywood Reporter, the esteemed industry trade magazine. While this is not a gossip rag by any stretch of the imagination, they did something very clever when they ran the following headline:

Justin Bieber’s Haircut Was ‘Calculated Move’

Why is this so genius? Because even this most venerated of publications – known for its genuinely sober coverage of all things film and TV- related —  actually found a way to bring up the fluffiest of stories in the context of someone’s professional career trajectory. It’s rare that a serious publication could justify coverage of someone’s trip to the barber, but The Reporter pulled it off. In fact, the minute you Google Justin Bieber, The Hollywood Reporter story pops right up, immediately. Plain as day. And it’s got a hook, see – the phrase ‘calculated move’. We read on and basically the article explains that the reason he opted for the trim was for the publicity; i.e. his handlers knew that changing such a beloved trademark look would have enormous, pan-global ramifications. Bottom line, the article isn’t really saying anything we don’t already know because of course everything the teen sensation does is a calculated move. Therein lies the genius. By calling our attention to someone’s behavior and suggesting that it was a publicity maneuver (tell us anything Justin Bieber does/wears/says that doesn’t generate publicity), The Hollywood Reporter managed to run a story that every Justin Bieber fan will automatically peruse – thereby bringing zillions of new readers to a traditionally trade-only publication. Way to go, THR – that’s some very smart marketing indeed.

Now let’s get back to Oscar. Specifically, today let’s discuss Best Actresses. Who do you think will win and who do you think should win? Are they the same person? Personally, as much as I love Natalie Portman, I believe that the year’s best acting job in this category belongs to Annette Bening. I wish she would win, but I am not particularly confident. I think that Portman will walk away with it, as evidenced by prior awards shows this year. Nor is there any question in my mind about what a great job Portman did – I just happen to think Bening did a better one. What do you think? As we did yesterday, let’s take a look at some of the most recent winners in this category. Voice your choice in today’s featured poll and tell us which of these past Best Actress Oscar winners is your favorite:

1)   Sandra Bullock

2)   Marion Cotillard

3)   Helen Mirren

4)   Kate Winslet

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