Scarlett Johansson confirmed for DNC, Natalie Portman, Kerry Washington expected: 7 facts
The Democrats see the Republicans' Clint Eastwood and raise them three of Hollywood's hottest actresses - a Black Widow a "Star Wars" queen and the star of ABC's breakout political drama, "Scandal."
Scarlett Johansson, Natalie Portman and Kerry Washington are set to speak at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, September 6, the day President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will accept the party's nominations, CNN says, quoting a source. Johansson's spokesperson confirmed the actress' participation to OTRC.com.
UPDATE: Kerry Washington confirmed via Twitter: "Uh... Yep. It's true :) I'm ridiculously excited and HONORED to be speaking at the #DNC2012."
Portman's rep had no immediate comment. The convention kicked off on Wednesday in Charlotte, North Carolina, a week after the Republican Party gathered in Tampa, Florida to support candidate Mitt Romney. That event featured Oscar winner Clint Eastwood, 82, as its celebrity speaker. Videos of his speech, which saw him address an empty chair that he insinuated was occupied by an invisible Obama, went viral and he also spurred spurred online memes mocking his stunt.
"Desperate Housewives" star Eva Longoria, a Texas-born Mexican-American who is a national co-chair of Obama's reelection campaign, has already been confirmed as a celebrity speaker at the Democratic National Convention and said on NBC's "Today" show on Thursday: "My narrative tonight with my speech and what I'm going to tell the American people is very different than what Clint did. No empty chairs."
"Harold & Kumar" actor Kal Penn, who is also a co-chair with Longoria, spoke at the convention on Tuesday. The actor left his role on the FOX show "House" to serve as the associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement from 2009 to 2011.
CNN quoted its source as saying that the hope is to have Johansson, Portman and Washington together on stage at the Democratic National Convention on Thursday, adding that the rock band The Foo Fighers are scheduled to perform before their appearance.
Here are 7 facts about Portman, Johansson and Washington that may appeal to potential Democratic voters:
1. The three actresses are young.
Johansson, 27, is the youngest of the trio. Portman is 31 and Washington is 35.The U.S. Census Bureau says that in the 2008 presidential election, citizens between ages 18 and 24 had the lowest voting rate - 49 percent - while citizens who were 45 years or older had the highest voting rates - at about 70 percent.
The government-run group said voters between the ages of 18 to 24 were the only age group to "show a statistically significant increase in turnout, reaching 49 percent in 2008 compared with 47 percent in 2004."
2. The three actresses showcase diversity - Kerry Washington is black, Scarlett Johansson is white and Natalie Portman is white and also Jewish.
The U.S. Census Bureau says that in the 2008 election, "Blacks had the highest turnout rate among 18- to 24-year-old voters -- 55 percent, an 8 percent increase from 2004."
The group adds that the 2008 election attracted 2 million more black voters and 2 million more Hispanic voters than the 2004 ballot.
Portman was born to an Israeli father and American mother in the Jewish state, Israel. She speaks Hebrew and even studied for her master's degree at Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and potential nuclear threat by Iran are hot political topics in the U.S. election.
In his speech at the Republican National Convention, Romney said: "We're still talking, and Iran's centrifuges are still spinning. President Obama has thrown allies like Israel under the bus, even as he has relaxed sanctions on Castro's Cuba."
Obama said in March: "Our commitment to the security of Israel is rock solid. And as I've said to the Prime Minister in every single one of our meetings, the United States will always have Israel's back when it comes to Israel's security." He also maintains that the U.S. is "determined to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons."
3. The actresses have won prestigious acting awards and are among Hollywood's elite.
Natalie Portman won an Oscar for the 2010 movie "Black Swan." She was also nominated for one for the 2005 film "Closer."
Johansson starred in the 2003 film "Lost in Translation," which won an Academy Award for Sofia Coppola's screenplay. The actress was nominated for a Golden Globes for her performance in the film and also received nods for three other movies -"Girl with a Pearl Earring," "A Love Song for Bobby Long" and "Match Point."
Washington starred in the 2004 movie "Ray," which was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and won two Oscars - for main star Jamie Foxx and for sound mixing. Washington herself has won an NAACP Image Award, presented by the American National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, for her performance in the film.
Washington was also nominated for three other Image Awards - for her roles on the show "Boston Legal," the movie "Night Catches Us" and the film "The Last King of Scotland," whose main star Forest Whitaker won an Oscar for his leading role. Washington was also praised for her performance in the 2010 movie "For Colored Girls."
4. The actresses are considered by many to be sex symbols.
People magazine has featured Johansson, Portman and Washington on its Most Beautiful lists. In its 2012 Hot 100 Women list, men's magazine Maxim ranked Johansson No. 17. Portman and Kerry did not make the cut, but the former actress was No. 8 on the outlet's 2011 list.
5. Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson starred in multi-million dollar movie franchises with cult followings.
Portman played Padme / Queen Amidala in the new "Star Wars" movies and also portrayed Jane Foster in Disney and Marvel's "Thor" film. Johansson also appears in the comic book franchise's films - she played The Black Widow / Natasha Romanoff in "Iron Man 2" and in "The Avengers."
6. Kerry Washington stars in a popular TV show - "Scandal," which actually centers around a U.S. president.
In the new ABC political drama "Scandal," which debuted earlier this year, Washington plays Olivia Pope, a White House communications director-turned crisis manager ... who had an affair with the president.
7. The actresses have expressed support for Obama and the Democratic party before.
Portman, who donated at least $2,000 to Obama's 2008 election campaign, took part in the Nevada Women Vote 2012 Summit in April to voice her support for the president. The event was part of the "Romney-Ryan: Wrong for Women" Tour, named after Romney and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan.
When asked about the Republican party, Portman told The Las Vegas Review-Journal: "I think the thing that is most upsetting in the past four years is how partisan they've been in blocking Obama's reforms. All of us should be putting our country first. Nevada is a battleground state, and the women are really going to decide this election."
She also praised Obama's health care reform law, which offers women free preventive care with no insurance deductibles, the outlet said.
Johansson donated $14,000 to the president's 2012 re-election campaign and also co-hosted a fashion-themed fundraiser for it with Vogue magazine Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour in February. In 2008, she donated more than $2,000 to Obama and the two also corresponded via email. She has also expressed support for First Lady Michelle Obama's anti-childhood obesity program, via a public letter sent to a congressman.
Washington appeared at pro-Obama group Obama for America in Miami's Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebrations earlier this year to encourage people to vote in the election. The actress also serves on the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities.
In 2008, Washington donated $1,000 to the campaign of Al Franken, an "SNL" alum and Democratic candidate who won his bid to become a senator in Minnesota.