Access Pollywood: Hollywood on the Potomac

by Editorial

The Week honors Peggy Noonan with columnist of the year award, Woody Harrelson makes an appearance at The Last Mountain premiere, and more…
By Janet Donovan

Columnist of the year award winner Peggy Noonan (Photo by Janet Donovan)

If former head of the MPAA Jack Valenti were alive today, he would have added the media to his famous quote: “Celebrities and politicians spring from the same DNA.”

The Week celebrated its 10th Anniversary and Opinion Awards Dinner at the W Hotel with a lineup of media heavyweights who share that DNA.

Peggy Noonan, who was named columnist of the year for her work at the Wall Street Journal, was among the award winners.“She’s treated the Obama Administration, the economic meltdown, stimulus, and the budget overhaul with such wisdom and with such lyrical writing that we all unanimously agreed that this would be her year,” said The Week’s editor Margaret Carlson.

“I write a weekly column in the Saturday newspaper and that is the single most professionally important thing I do,” Noonan said.

The longtime columnist and author of several books didn’t seem alarmed at the speed of the digital age and whether facts were getting lost along the way. “Politics is constant change,” she explained. “In the ’80s we were very excited about the facts and now the facts is an antique in the Smithsonian. But life should move on; it is full of action and movement, as it should be.”

The Week’s Editor-at-Large Sir Harold Evans added that “any fool can produce a magazine of strong opinion. The Week has strong opinion but it is moderated, it has balance and that is very unusual today.”

Other award winners included John Sides & The Monkey Cage, Blogger of the Year; and Tom Toles of the Washington Post for Editorial Cartoonist of the Year.


Bobby Kennedy Jr. and Woody Harrelson

When the audio equipment fizzled out at the Q and A following the Washington premiere of The Last Mountain at the E Street Cinema, Bobby Kennedy Jr. didn’t hesitate to blame the coal industry, the subject of the documentary.

A steadfast defender of the environment, Kennedy lent both his name and presence to the grassroots movement dedicated to defending the last mountain in Appalachia against the destructive power of Big Coal. “This is an industry that is destroying the environment of West Virginia,” he said. “Over the past 10 years, they have leveled a region the size of Delaware.”

Actor and environmental activist Woody Harrelson was an unexpected guest at the screening and the after-party at Coco Sala where he held court with director Bill Haney, producer Clara Bingham,

Kimball Stroud and Sens. Dennis Kucinich, Nicole Boxer and Sheldon Whitehouse.

Q&A Quickie

Carol Joynt

John Howard Joynt III wasn’t meant to live life like the rest of us. His widow Carol describes it best: “He was many things I was not: a child of money and privilege, casual about work but serious about living well.” That last part led to owing the IRS back taxes of over $3 million when he died.

“The book starts with the death of my husband and ends with my being freed from a Taliban prison. I equate it sometimes in the way that it affected my life with a Taliban prison or a summer in Gitmo, not to make light of those places.” The book came out May 14. All’s well that ends well.


Fran Drescher
Actress, author and founder of Cancer Schmancer

At the Labels for Love fundraiser to benefit Cancer Schmancer on her own diagnosis: “I got in the stirrups more times than Roy Rogers.”

H.T. Narea

On his debut thriller The Fund, launched at Georgetown University: “I have to call it a novel or I will have to get it classified.”

John Barry
Reporter for Newsweek

On getting Osama bin Laden: “The big surprise about the Bin Laden operation was that it demonstrated that Washington could keep a secret.”

Chris Dodd
New MPAA head

Here at his WHCA party on stealing intellectual property: “It’s called looting in some cases.”

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