In a presidential election year, the Oscar statuettes are not the only gold-plated figures at Hollywood’s annual Academy Awards ceremony. The audience on Sunday will be sprinkled with big political donors — at least to Democrats.
Jeffrey Katzenberg, head of DreamWorks Animation, which has three films up for awards, is a top bundler for President Obama who has donated $4 million in national and state-level races, according to The Sunlight Foundation, which analyzed data about filmdom donations. Katzenberg gave half that total – $2 million – to Priorities USA Action, a pro-Obama Super PAC.
Steven Spielberg, who produced the best picture nominee “War Horse,” has spent $1.6 million in donations to Democratic state and federal candidates and committees, including Obama, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and California Governor Jerry Brown, Sunlight said.
Among other big names, George Clooney, a best actor nominee for “The Descendants,” has given $178,000 to Democratic candidates and committees including Obama and the Democratic National Committee. Brad Pitt, a Best Actor nominee for “Moneyball,” donated $100,000 against California’s Proposition 8, the effort to ban same-sex marriage. Glenn Close, a best actress nominee for “Albert Nobbs,” has donated $47,900 to recipients including Obama and the DNC. And director Martin Scorsese, up for best director for “Hugo,” has made donations totaling $27,600, to recipients including Obama, the DNC and New York’s two senators, both Democrats, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.
“The results of our inquiry do absolutely nothing to dispel the notion that the Hollywood hills are a Democratic stronghold,” Sunlight said.