Zuckerberg times his generosity well

Posted by · 11:16 am · September 23rd, 2010

The official line may be that beleaguered Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg isn’t really on board with “The Social Network” — even if the Twitterverse yesterday was abuzz with rumors that he attended a screening in his Sunday best — but whatever his attitude to David Fincher’s film about his rise to fortune, the 26 year-old billionaire is certainly helping out in the publicity stakes.

The New York Times reports that Zuckerberg will appear on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” tomorrow to announce a $100 million donation to the Newark public schools system:

The $100 million for Newark is the initial gift to start a foundation for education financed by Mr. Zuckerberg. This would be by far the largest publicly known gift by Mr. Zuckerberg, whose fortune Forbes magazine estimated last year at $2 billion … The gift is many times larger than any the system has received, officials said — an extraordinary sum not only for a district with an $800 million annual operating budget, but also for any publicly financed government agency. It is not yet clear how the money would be used, or over what period.

Of course, the news has nothing ostensibly to do with “The Social Network,” but it’s a handy coincidence that Zuckerberg should choose to make this highly public act of charity one week ahead of the release of a film that may not cast him in the most generous light (and the day it opens the New York Film Festival). He gets to preemptively defend his character, the film gets a bump from its subject’s exposure on America’s highest-rated talk show, and public education gets a big fat check. If that isn’t the very definition of “win-win,” I don’t know what is.

Meanwhile, while we’re reading the Gray Lady, Manohla Dargis has added a chunky rave review to the film’s enviable valentine collection, underlining its status as the critical darling of autumn thus far. Over at Gold Derby, Tom O’Neil provocatively asks if “The Social Network” already has this Best Picture race licked. (He also suggests — unwisely, I think — that Natalie Portman and Colin Firth could have their Oscars in the bag too.) The short answer is no, but the film is making all the right moves so far.

[Photo: Your Hidden Potential]

→ 17 Comments Tags: , | Filed in: Daily

17 responses so far

  • 1 9-23-2010 at 11:21 am

    Maxim said...

    The bottom line is that Mark’s generosity is real. 100$ million is a huge sum and will make a big difference.

  • 2 9-23-2010 at 11:24 am

    Guy Lodge said...

    No denying it. Would that everyone in his position did the same.

  • 3 9-23-2010 at 11:27 am

    James D. said...

    Personally, I think he should apologize for sucking so many hours of every day out of my life.

  • 4 9-23-2010 at 11:50 am

    Sean C. said...

    I do think Best Actor is going to be Firth vs. Franco, with Firth being my favoured candidate (he was the runner-up last year, he’s in the right age range to win Best Actor) – Franco’s main advantage would be that “127 Hours” is basically “The James Franco Show”, which is a great acting platform (though Tom Hanks didn’t win for “Castaway”).

    I think he’s calling Best Actress way, way too early, though.

  • 5 9-23-2010 at 12:01 pm

    Loyal said...

    It’s RT and MC scores are pretty remarkable. I would say if it opens strong at the box office and has a financial trajectory similar to that of Benjamin Button, I think it could very well lock up the race. It opens in a week so we’ll know soon enough.

  • 6 9-23-2010 at 12:20 pm

    Andrew M said...

    The amount of coverage The Social Network right now is very good, so basically all it has to do is do well a the box office and keep the buzz going. It could turn out to be “Up in the Air”, but I think this has a little more “oomph” then that movie did.

  • 7 9-23-2010 at 12:35 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Just a reminder that this time last year, everyone was predicting Mulligan vs. Streep for Best Actress. No one knows anything.

  • 8 9-23-2010 at 2:06 pm

    Drew said...

    Indeed a very generous contribution towards the school, and of course, free plublicity for the movie. I doubt either the film or it’s basis will suffer at all.

  • 9 9-23-2010 at 2:09 pm

    Jake D said...

    Franco winning would be strange. They ignore him for awhile (although “Milk” is probably is only actual snub) then give him the statue immediately? Eh. Best Actors winning on their first nomination isn’t rare- but it’s uncommon.

    Firth feels more like a winner after he got welcomed in last year. Heck, maybe even Wahlberg (although I’m doubting the performance has the goods).

    Portman could win, but I still think Bening is the frontrunner. The Being Julia loss is still fresh.

  • 10 9-23-2010 at 2:24 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Is there really a sizable faction of people smarting over Bening’s loss for Being Julia? She was hardly robbed.

    That said, right now, my money would go on Bening too. She’s the kind of well-liked, long-toiling star lots of people would like to see rewarded, even if she’s never given an emphatically field-beating performance.

  • 11 9-23-2010 at 2:37 pm

    Jake D said...

    I guess I wouldn’t say Bening was robbed, but that Swank’s win was largely undeserved considering the field. So maybe not that important to this year’s race.

  • 12 9-23-2010 at 2:57 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Fair enough. I think people protest too much over Swank’s win — it’s a very fine performance, and one that nimbly carries her film through some rough patches. Had it been her first Oscar, I don’t think there’d be nearly as much sniping about it.

    As much as the blogosphere wants me to believe that Bening’s twin losses to Swank make her some kind of mistreated martyr, I can’t really join that chorus when I found Swank more deserving on both occasions.

  • 13 9-23-2010 at 5:22 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    That’s because you have crush on masculine girl. Gene Siskel was the same toward Anjelica Huston. Every nomination she ever received during his lifetime he wanted her to win.

  • 14 9-23-2010 at 5:46 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Well, that’s that cleared up then. Alternatively, and I admit this is quite a radical theory, I could just think she’s very good in those two films.

    Kate Winslet would’ve been my overall pick in 2004, though.

  • 15 9-23-2010 at 7:12 pm

    /3rtfu11 said...

    I’m in agreement with you about Winslet in 04 – her “best” Best Actress nomination thus far.

  • 16 9-23-2010 at 7:25 pm

    Lev Lewis said...

    “That’s because you have crush on masculine girl.”

    What a hilarious prescription. Way to be so unconcealed, Guy.

  • 17 9-24-2010 at 10:22 am

    Mike_M said...

    Wow that is a huge sum of money and Newark can def use it… hope it helps them out and the corrupt government uses to help the children.