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Oscar Watch: Waiting for Superman Meets Zuckerberg on Oprah

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood September 25, 2010 at 11:00AM

Paramount has sent out "for Your Consideration" six-city screening invites for Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island and Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman, which got serious Oprah Winfrey love this week, with two shows devoted to the controversial American education expose. The second show also featured Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who didn't say much as Winfrey explained that he was reluctant to appear and had wanted to make his contribution to the Newark city schools anonymously.
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Thompson on Hollywood

Paramount has sent out "for Your Consideration" six-city screening invites for Martin Scorsese's Shutter Island and Davis Guggenheim's Waiting for Superman, which got serious Oprah Winfrey love this week, with two shows devoted to the controversial American education expose. The second show also featured Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, who didn't say much as Winfrey explained that he was reluctant to appear and had wanted to make his contribution to the Newark city schools anonymously.

Needless to say Zuckerberg was talked out of it, clearly recognizing the wisdom of a counter-Social Network PR campaign. "I've committed to starting the Start-Up Education Foundation," he said, launching it with a $100-million challenge grant. "Every child deserves a good education and right now that is not happening. I’ve had a lot of opportunities in my life, and a lot of that comes from having gone to really good schools."

Winfrey did ask him about The Social Network (which hit big at the NYFF opener Friday night). “It’s a movie, it’s fun," Zuckerberg replied. "I can promise you, this is my life so I know it’s not that dramatic. The last six years have been a lot of coding and focus and hard work, but maybe it would be fun to remember it as partying and all this crazy drama.”

Zuckerberg appears superficially different from Jesse Eisenberg's fast-talking shark in The Social Network. He's a youthful 26, and clearly not comfortable in the public eye. He was awkward in front of both Diane Sawyer and Winfrey. But when her crew shot him with his girlfriend at home in Palo Alto, just like the opening scene of The Social Network, he stepped all over the girl's lines. Clearly, he is in his element in front of a computer screen.

This article is related to: Awards, Headliners, Web/Tech, Video, TV, Oscars, Facebook, Interviews


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.