Oscar’s political gold: Nominees give to campaigns

Democrats big beneficiaries of Hollywood largesse

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The nominees for the 86th Academy Awards announced Thursday are not just known for their artistic and technical skills — finance reports reveal that many of the stars up for Oscar gold have contributed heavily to political campaigns and causes.

And the vast bulk of the stars’ largesse has gone to Democrats.

 

Of the 60 screenwriters, actors, directors and producers nominated this year, 23 have contributed to a federal political candidate or committee since 1989, mostly to Democratic candidates and party organizations according to the Center for Responsive Politics (CRP).

Donors from the film “American Hustle,” which took home the Golden Globe award for best picture, contributed a total of $11,550 to Democratic candidates. Producers Charles Roven and Richard Suckle gave a combined $10,300 to New York Democratic Senator Kristen Gillibrand. Star Bradley Cooper gave $750 to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign, records indicate.

Leonardo DiCaprio, who is up for best actor in “The Wolf of Wall Street,” gave a total of $387,500 in 2008 —  26,000 to the Democratic National Committee and the rest to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and President Obama’s campaign. The A-list star gave $2,500 to Mr. Obama in 2012 and $5,200 to Democrat Alison Grimes’ campaign to oust Republican Senator Mitch McConnell in Kentucky.

“Wolf of Wall Street” director Martin Scorsese has been contributing to Democrats since 1992, according to CRP. He has given to the Directors Guild of America PAC since 2004 and has so far contributed $750 in the 2014 cycle. In 2012 Mr. Scorsese gave a total of $14,500, with $4,000 going to Mr. Obama.

Two other big-time Oscar donors are “Captain Phillips” writer Billy Phillips, who has given $93,955 since 2004, including a $26,200 donation to the DNC, and “August: Osage County” star Meryl Streep, who gave $39,832 to Democrats in 2012.

Other A-list celebrities who made Democratic donations include Jared Leto ($1,905) up for best supporting actor for “Dallas Buyers’ Club;” Julia Roberts ($3,500), nominated for best supporting actress for “August: Osage County,” and “Blue Jasmine” director Woody Allen ($500).

There have been some donations to Republican candidates from the Hollywood elite.

“Nebraska” director Alexander Payne gave $1,000 to Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel’s 2008 campaign but also gave $2,300 to Mr. Obama’s presidential campaign in the same cycle. “Nebraska” producer Albert Berger donated $1,0000 to Republican Rep. Tom Campbell of California during his 1992 campaign, but has consistently given to Democrats in 2004, 2008, and 2012.

Michael De Luca, up for best producer for “Captain Phillips,” donated to the National Republican Senatorial Committee in 2004, however his only contribution so far this cycle has been $500 to Alaska Democratic Sen. Mark Begich.

 

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About the Author
Kellan Howell

Kellan Howell

Kellan Howell, an investigative reporter for The Washington Times, covers campaign finance and government accountability. Originally from Williamsburg, Va., Kellan graduated from James Madison University where she received bachelor’s degrees in media arts and design and international affairs with a concentration in western European politics.

During her time at JMU, she interned for British technology and business news website “ITPro” ...

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