Pop Culture

Pitt passes on millions to trick-or-treat

With so many celebrities willing to attend the opening of an envelope if a paycheck is involved, a recent decision by Brad Pitt is especially impressive.

Pitt declined an invitation to the Oct. 31 Grand Prix Ball Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and the $5 million payday that came with it, according to Life & Style magazine. Instead, Pitt was photographed trick-or-treating with his kids in L.A.

“He’s spending more time with the family and doing less of these appearances, even though it’s a huge sum of cash,” according to a source who spoke to the magazine.

James Magee, a rep for Global Event Management, confirms that the actor was expected at the affair.

“We were told he would be attending as the guest of the Tourism Development & Investment Company,” Magee told Life & Style. “But he was a no-show, and nobody seemed to know why.”

The ball, which helped raise money for the clean-water charity Fresh2o, was the culmination of a three-day event celebrating Formula 1 racing. Beyoncé, Aerosmith (sans Steve Tyler) and Timbaland all performed.

Palin gives Oprah a ratings joltFormer Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s book, "Going Rogue," was a best-seller before it even came out, so it did stand to reason that interest in the former vice presidential candidate would spill over into her appearance on Monday's "The Oprah Winfrey Show." 

It did more than that: Winfrey’s sit-down with Palin was the highest rated “Oprah” show in two years, since the entire Osmond family appeared in 2007.

And it’s a good thing Palin delivered: by the looks of it, she’ll have to suffice as Oprah’s favorite thing this year. According to reps for the show, there are “no plans this season” for “Oprah’s Favorite Things,” the much-loved holiday gifting episode.

Keeping tabs on TomKatPeople magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” franchise is unbeatable on the newsstands, regardless of the choice the editors make. (But quick question: Aren’t there sexier-looking photos of out there? The one chosen for the cover doesn’t exactly drive home the decision.)

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So really, the fight for your celebrity magazine dollars this week is about what the other publications thought was newsworthy. The most popular choice: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. The two celebrated their third anniversary on Wednesday; in a slow news week, they’re the obvious hook.

But happy stories don’t really sell, so despite the many sources who insist the couple is happy and boring, two mags, Star and Us Weekly, come up with the opposite. Star claims on the cover that Holmes has a $15 million tell-all in the works, and Us runs the headline: “Her secret deal: Katie’s regrets.” Given the fact that from the outside looking in, this celebrity relationship still seems confounding, the stories are just believable enough — both ought to do well.

Quick Oscar programming noteThe 2010 Academy Awards ceremony has a director now, Hamish Hamilton, who most recently directed the MTV Video Music Awards.

Why should you care about the director of an awards show? During the event, there are a number of cameras shooting from different angles simultaneously. The director is in the control room, making decisions about which shot to take. Some of them are scripted: obviously, when a presenter is listing the nominees in a category, you take the camera focused on the presenter, not one panning the audience for reactions.

Some are unscripted, split-second decisions. When someone rushes the stage and takes the microphone from the person accepting an award, you cut to the camera capturing that moment. Which is exactly what did not happen at the VMAs. The Oscars are shaping up to be an interesting production.

Courtney Hazlett delivers the Scoop Monday through Friday on msnbc.com. Follow Scoop on Twitter @courtneyatmsnbc

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