Several Hollywood stars are turning to speechwriting agencies run by partisan operatives who previously worked for the likes of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, Vulture detailed in a recent report.
In a piece originally aimed at finding out who has written Brad Pitt’s speeches during this awards season, where the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star has scooped awards at the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, and the BAFTAs, while being placed in prime position to win an Oscar this weekend.
Noting that many of Pitt’s speeches this season have been a “little too perfect,” Vulture’s Chris Lee reached out to Pitt’s representatives, who declined to comment. Yet one speechwriting agency that asked to remain anonymous confirmed that Pitt’s representatives had reached out to inquire about their services.
Another actor grabbing attention for his recent speeches is Joker star Joaquin Phoenix, who has delivered several politically charged remarks after receiving the award for Best Actor for his role as murdering nihilist Arthur Fleck. Just last week, he used his time at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTA) to call out Hollywood’s “systematic racism” because of the ceremony’s lack of black or ethnic minority nominees.
One of Hollywood’s most recognized speechwriting agencies is Fenway Strategies, a company founded by former Obama administration officials Jon Favreau and Tommy Vietor. As well as ghostwriting speeches for TED Talks and political addresses, Fenway also provides services for people in the entertainment industry seeking to strike the right note in anticipation of receiving their award.
Senior Fenway speechwriter Sam Koppelman, who previously worked as Hillary Clinton’s digital strategist, speechwriter to Michael Bloomberg, and co-author of Impeach: The Case Against Donald Trump, explained that writing for actors is great because they know “how to deliver the lines.”
“Writing for actors is a speechwriter’s dream come true,” said Koppelman. “Because unlike politicians, who are not professionals at memorizing lines or delivering them in compelling and charismatic ways, actors actually know how to deliver the lines.”
“Maybe he just decided to do it himself and he’s really good,” he added. “But if you do find out who wrote them, let me know — they’re good at speechwriting.”
Industry insiders insist that Hollywood stars employing speechwriting agencies are nowadays a common practice, according to Lee’s report. “The most common reason [to hire a ghost acceptance speech writer] is knowing the room,” one source told the magazine. “Like, ‘What is the difference between the PGAs, the Globes, and the BAFTAs?’ Knowing the room is key. Laziness is the other reason.”