On This Day: March 24
Unleash your Krakens: Harry Hamlin crowned sexiest man alive! Halle Berry makes us cry with her history-making Oscar win! Super-slacker Keisha Castle-Hughes begins her rather unambitious life!
1987 -- Harry Hamlin's popularity peaks as People votes him "The Sexiest Man Alive". The actor's cinematic career had gone downhill after 1981's Clash Of The Titans but he found a second life as legal eagle Michael Kuzak on L.A. Law. Unwisely, Hamlin quit the show in 1991 to chase big-screen dreams (it was the fashion at the time; see also: Caruso, David), only to find himself washed up in straight-to-video thrillers like Under Investigation, Save Me and Ebbtide. A measure of self-referential career redemption came with a recurring role in Veronica Mars (his character says he was voted People's Sexiest Man back in '87) and playing Perseus again (albeit in videogame Gods Of War II). Oddly, the 1987 People interview raised the prospect of Hamlin remaking Clash. While he won't even cameo in the new version, hard-core Double-H fans can get a double dose of lip-shtick in the upcoming reality series Harry Loves Lisa, which chronicles his life with wife, Lisa Rinna.
2002 -- Halle Berry becomes the first African-American to win the Best Actress Oscar for her work in Monster's Ball. It remains one of the longest, most heartfelt and yet most self-indulgent acceptance speeches on record, sorta losing the audience when she conflates thanking her lawyers with 74 years of non-recognition of African-American actresses.
Post-Oscars, it'll be a downhill slide for Berry as she inexplicably relegates herself to being a Bond Girl ( Die Another Day), comic-book character ( X2, X-Men: The Last Stand) and B-thriller babe ( Gothika, Perfect Stranger). Setting a precedent Sandra Bullock this year followed, she buys herself a lifetime supply of self-deprecating cred by personally accepting her Razzie for career nadir Catwoman in 2005. Self-mockery doesn't help find an audience for her return to serious thesping in 2007's Things We Lost In The Fire. Question is, can Berry's upcoming drama, Frankie And Alice, restore her to the critical A-list? That it has her as an African-American woman suffering multiple-personality disorder and battling her racist alter-ego is the sort of movie that sounds "brave" in the Oscar sense. That it wrapped in January last year and still hasn't got a release date -- and that the IMDb lists eight writers -- suggests it's equally a picture Razzie might love.
1990 -- Keisha Castle-Hughes enters the world and, approximately five minutes later, becomes the youngest-ever Best Actress Oscar nominee for her performance in Whale Rider. Since then she's played the mother of Christ ( The Nativity Story), become a real-life mom (to Felicity-Amore, who turns three this year) and starred in two underseen antipodean-lensed flicks ( Hey Hey It's Esther Blueberger, The Vintner's Luck), and become a dedicated environmental campaigner (Greenpeace). This is all you've done before turning 20? Pick up the pace, slacker!