What we've come to learn over the past few years is that if something exists, James Franco must be the leading authority on it. This isn't simply a mindset perpetrated by Franco himself, but by some of America’s premiere institutions: NYU, where the actor teaches a film class (about his own movies, no less); the Yahoo! corporation, which enlisted Franco to craft a free-verse poem about the inauguration of President Barack Obama; and the Daytona 500, which has named Franco as the Grand Marshal of the 55th Annual motor race, set to take place on Feb. 24.
A natural choice for the celebrated NASCAR event, Franco will be delivering the ceremonial first command: "Drivers, start your engines!" It hardly takes an automofiliac to handle such a feat. But still, curiosity surrounds the selection of Franco as the 2013 Grand Marshal. What, exactly, made the minds behind NASCAR think, "He's the guy we need!"?
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And sure, it's not as though each of the past Grand Marshals have been their respective generations' Henry Fords (I'll be honest with you, that's as car-friendly a reference as I'm capable of — but I'm not claiming right to Daytona Grand Marshalry...), but they at least had somewhat of an athletic vehicular background.
Last year, we (or whoever watches these things) saw Kate Upton and Jane Lynch take on the "start your engines" responsibilities. They might not be the most obviously relevant figures, but each has a leg up on Franco: Upton is a swimsuit model for Sports Illustrated (sports! there's the connection!), and Lynch starred in the NASCAR movie Talladega Nights.
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The year prior, Transformers franchise director Michael Bay and stars Josh Duhamel and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley took the reigns at the race. These three are perfectly suitable choices thanks to their penchant for hanging out around robots that turn into cars.
Heading back through the years, we see a consistent linkage between Grand Marshals and the territory over which they are asked to Grand Marshal: Nicolas Cage (stole a bunch of cars in Gone in 60 Seconds), John Travolta (worked at a garage in Grease), James Caan (shot dead in a car in one of the most famous movie scenes ever).
All reasonable selections. But Franco... we don't get it.
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What is the stronghold the 34-year-old actor has over institutions like Daytona? Various academic organizations? The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences? Lindsay Weir? Why do we all assume he is the perfect candidate for opportunities like honoring our Commander-in-Chief and reviving an L. Frank Baum classic?
While we might never understand what makes Franco an all-purpose go-to, we can only hope that it's not already too late to put the kaibosh on his reign. After all, with a blitzkrieg of 200 mph, crash-protected, adrenaline-fueled machines at his disposal, his powers might already be beyond control.
[Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures]
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The award was bequeathed to Young's daughter Jennifer by agent Marty Baum after years of fighting between the two over the ownership of the statue, which Young won for his part in They Shoot Horses Don't They?
Jennifer Young asked Baum to give up the award in 1996, insisting the Oscar should rightly be in her possession - as she was Gig Young's only child.
Baum, who obtained possession of the gong after his client's 1978 suicide, claimed he has had a right to possess and display the Oscar in his office.
Young took legal action against her father's agent and the matter was settled in 1997 when Baum agreed to bequeath the Oscar to Jennifer Young upon his death.
Baum died on 5 November (10).
Young tells WENN, "This Oscar is something I have been waiting for for nearly two decades... It also feels like it was my daddy's wish for me to have his Oscar at this time. Marty said to me in our second meeting that I was at my father's exact age when he walked through his doors and signed him on the spot! Marty and I got along very well. I was able to see him several times before he passed away."
Jennifer Young is now working on a documentary and book about her famous father.
Brad Pitt is facing a stream of legal red tape in his attempts to adopt Angelina Jolie's two children--because he's not yet married to the sexy actress.
It was recently announced the 41-year-old actor was in the process of filing for legal guardianship of his Mr. & Mrs. Smith co-star's adopted children, Maddox, four, and Zahara, 11 months.
But his decision to adopt the youngsters will result in months of paperwork, in-home supervision and a high fee, which he could avoid if he exchanged nuptials with the twice-wed beauty.
David Baum, president of the Academy of California Adoption Lawyers, says, "This is not the easiest way of doing things. Frequently what you do if you are in a relationship with someone and you want to adopt their children, you marry them and do a step-parent adoption.
"There are extra requirements when you are not related by marriage to the children you are adopting."
In Los Angeles County, the fees for a step-parent adoption are $775, and the process takes approximately three to six months, Baum says. But with Pitt filing as a second parent, the star, ex-husband of Jennifer Aniston, can expect to pay a home study fee of $2,950 and face far more scrutiny.
The county will also seek letters of reference, which will remain confidential to protect the children.
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