The Daily Agenda for Monday, December 24

Jim Burroway

December 24th, 2012

Lee Daniels: 1959. The actor, producer and director became the first African-American to solo produce an Academy Award winning film with 1992’s Monster’s Ball, which earned a Best Actress accolade for Halle Berry. Daniel’s directorial debut came in 2006, with Shadowboxer, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr., Stephen Dorff, Vanessa Ferlito, Mo’Nique, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and R&B singer Macy Gray. In 2009, he scored another major success with Precious: Based on the Novel “Push” by Sapphire. Featuring Gabourey Sidibe in the title role of Claireece “Precious” Jones and Mo’Nuque as her mother, the film told the difficult story of an obese and illiterate teen growing up in the projects of Harlem who suffered physical, mental and sexual abuse from her mother (played by No’Nique) and was impregnated twice by her father. It was Sidibe’s first professional acting job, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Daniels himself was also nominated for Best Director.

His latest film, 2012’s The Paperboy, a 1960s erotic thriller starring Matthew McConaughy, Zac Efron, Nicole Kidman, John Cusack, David Oyelowo, Macy Gray and Scott Glenn, opened to decidedly mixed reviews. The strong cast appears to have saved the film from ignominy. The Village Voice Film Poll sprinkled best actor/actress nominations for jsut about about the entire cast, but nominated Lee Daniels for Worst Film.

Ricky Martin: 1971. Born Enrique Martín Morales, the Puerto Rican singer first achieved fame as a member of boy band Menudo before embarking on a solo career in 1991. His early popularity in Latin markets was boosted by his appearance in the second season of a Mexican telenovela, Alcanzar Una Estrella (“Reach for a Star”) in which he played the part of a member of a boy band which achieves fame and fortune. In 1999, Martin found crossover appeal with “Livin’ la Vida Loca” and “She’s All I Ever Had,” form his first English language album. That was followed with “She Bangs” in 2000. In 2007, he took a break from his career, but returned again with a new album in 2010, along with his autobiography, Me. Shortly before the book came out, Martin acknowledged the truth behind the worst-kept secret of the decade, the fact that he’s gay. Last year, Martin became a Spanish citizen (his grandmother is Spanish) in what was seen as a possible prelude to an upcoming marriage with his partner, economist Carlos Gonzales, although that marriage has yet to take place. Martin is the father of twin boys, Matteo and Valentino.

If you know of something that belongs on the agenda, please send it here. Don’t forget to include the basics: who, what, when, where, and URL (if available).

And feel free to consider this your open thread for the day. What’s happening in your world?

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