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When' Obamania' gripped Hollywood

world Updated: Dec 28, 2008 14:20 IST

There was a time especially during the Cold War when Hollywood and politics were far removed from each other.

If someone tried mixing them the result might mean spending some time behind bars like the legendary Hollywood Ten, the scriptwriters who were jailed on suspicion of being Communists.

But this year changed it all, the year that will go down in history as the year when America voted Barack Obama, a black American as President and political affiliations became a must have accessory, to be flaunted in the tinsel town.

2008 could be termed the year Hollywood met politics and fell in love with it.

Obama's win gave the world many a 'Kodak moments' but the best picture award would go to none other than the talk show queen Oprah Winfrey. Weeping on the shoulder of a stranger at Obama's victory rally, and gushing uncontrollably on her post election show, the host can surely claim a little credit for the triumph of her "favourite guy".

Oprah was one of the first celebrities to have openly come out in support of the now President-elect, Obama.

And just like the rest of the world, even Hollywood was broken up into camps, each with a favourite candidate. And the Democratic side outnumbered the Republican camp by a good number.

At the beginning of the year when Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were still battling it out for the Democratic ticket both sides made sure that they had enough celebrity endorsement to back up their political agendas.

And it was not just the presidential hopefuls that people expected to see and hear when they went to a rally, but there were also chances that they would get a sneak peek of their favorite star.

Voters in many of the Super Tuesday states, particularly on college campuses saw celebrities such as Robert De Niro, who appeared with Obama at a New Jersey rally, Usher, Chris Rock, Indian origin star Kal Penn, Tate Donovan,

Will Smith and Stevie Wonder attended Obama's speeches.

If Obama had Robert De Niro, Hillary Clinton stepped up the game by roping in celebrity supporter Desperate Housewives star Eva Longoria to open her rallies.

Other high profile supporters of the former first lady included Barbara Streisand, Martha Stewart, Ivanka Trump, Jenna Jameson and surprisingly trash talking rapper 50 Cent.

Hillary Clinton's cavalcade of famous friends was decidedly less extensive although, she has the support of her former president husband and the power of her own celebrity, which even Obama has publicly acknowledged as being of tremendous significance.

But the American public voted for Obama in the primaries winning him the Democratic ticket and ousting Hillary from the presidential race. Analysts are still debating the role played by Obama's famous supporters in this win.

The past year was a good example of how politics seeps into pop culture and then pop culture seeped in right back.

Writers at The Saturday Night Live Show got enough inspiration from none other than Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

Tina Fey, Palin impersonator on the show along with the original Sarah Palin, walked by each other at a fake news conference on Saturday Night Live, indistinguishable from each other in matching red blazers and Palin hairdos.

The Internet was bombarded with videos of supporters of both the candidates, John McCain and Barrack Obama, numerous spoofs and videos and even a completely new dictionary of slang with words including 'Obamania'.

The Obama slogan "Yes We Can" ricocheted across the Web in rapper and songwriter WILLIAM's viral video hit, starring a host of his celebrity supporters.

Even celebrities like Britney Spears and Paris Hilton found mention in the Presidential debate. Britney and Paris made their unwitting entrance into the campaign, fodder for McCain's commercial mocking Obama as "the biggest celebrity in the world."

Now with his win and a gala swearing in ceremony in January where all the A-listers would be in attendance Barack Obama has just proved the mocking adage right.

The Time magazine's person of the year, Obama, has truly eclipsed Hollywood stars to emerge as the top celebrity of the year.