Whatever happened to last year's breakout stars?
WASHINGTON (AP) — Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his supermodel wife Carla Bruni were clearly taken with President Barack Obama and his family back in 2011.
The Sarkozys gave the Obamas more than $41,000 worth of presents that year, becoming the most prolific foreign gift-givers to the first family, documents released Friday show.
The gifts ranged from designer golf and travel bags and fine crystal to soaps and perfumes, according to the State Department’s Office of Protocol, which catalogues gifts to U.S. officials from foreign leaders and publishes an annual accounting, often one or two years late due to processing.
Among the goodies presented to the Obamas by the Sarkozys were a large black Hermes golf accessory bag worth $7,750, two Baccarat crystal table lamps on silver pedestals worth $5,500, two Baccarat crystal statuettes depicting golfers, a monogrammed black leather Louis Vuitton business bag, his-and-hers Christian Dior bathrobes and a black leather Dior clutch.
Sarkozy also gave Obama a glass sculpture of Alexander the Great’s horse, a Lacoste shirt, a fountain pen and, perhaps in a nod to his tobacco-using days, a Ligne 8 lighter.
But don’t expect the Obamas to furnish a post-White House residence with the items, because under law, most non-perishable gifts to the president and other U.S. officials are sent to the National Archives or General Services Administration unless the recipient reimburses the Treasury for their estimated value.
The Sarkozys largesse may have been a function of France hosting the Group of Eight summit in 2011, at which the world financial crisis was a main topic of conversation, but most other leaders’ gifts to the Obamas were more modest.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, for example, gave the president an autographed Toronto Raptors basketball, while Australian Prime Minister presented him with a green and white iPod shuffle and Australian football jerseys.
One exception was a variety of artwork worth $13,200 that was given to Obama by the governor of the Mexican state of Oaxaca.
Although the Sarkozys were the top presidential gift-givers in 2011, the single most valuable package of goodies — $29,450 in art, watches and electronics — was given to former joint chiefs of staff chairman Gen. Mike Mullen by Kuwait’s emir.
Deputy CIA director Michael Morrell may have received the most unusual gift in 2011, a silver hookah worth $1,500 from a giver whose identity is classified.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton didn’t make out so badly either in 2011, getting a $3,400 silver bowl and a $7,425 gold coin and silk scarf from the Sultan of Oman, a $3,200 strand of pearls from a senior Chinese official and artwork from the President of Tajikistan worth $2,850.
The most lavish gift given to Clinton came from the first lady of Zambia, who presented her with an emerald and diamond necklace worth $7,834, according to the records.
The star of “Beasts of the Southern Wild” charmed practically everyone at the Oscars, where she was the youngest best actress nominee ever; she went on to film a remake of “Annie” opposite Jamie Foxx and Cameron Diaz.
Carly Rae Jepsen
Jepsen, who had 2012’s song of the summer with “Call Me Maybe,” released the fifth and final single from her debut album in January 2013. She toured the U.S. in mid-2013 -- just as Daft Punk and Robin Thicke battled to succeed her as icons of the summer.
Honey Boo Boo
2012’s biggest reality star, the young pageant contestant Alana Thompson, had a quieter time this year, with a second season whose ratings were strong but whose buzz was a bit muted. America was, by now, accustomed to young Thompson, and outraged or scandalized reactions were reserved for other TLC programming, like “The Man With the 132-Pound Scrotum.”
Ocean missed out on the top Grammys for which he was nominated in early 2013; he bounced back quickly with featured appearances on albums by Kanye West, Jay Z and Beyoncé, and is at work on a new album. Things are looking up!
The “21 Jump Street” and “Magic Mike” star had a marginally less charmed 2013, with “White House Down” failing to connect with moviegoers and “Foxcatcher” delayed until next year. It may get worse before it gets better: His big 2014 sci-fi flick, “Jupiter Ascending,” looks … well, a little weird!
With their third album in 21 months hitting No. 1 immediately upon its fall 2013 release, the boy band that broke into America in 2012 would seem to be here to stay for a while. Still, they looked a bit nervous in their reaction shots during the Video Music Awards’ ‘N Sync reunion; maybe not this year, maybe not next, but eventually, the Justin of One Direction is going to break out. For now, though, things look good!
Lana Del Rey
The famously uncomfortable “Saturday Night Live” musical guest overcame endless mockery from 2012 to land her first top-10 hit in the summer of 2013 -- a remix of a year-old song, “Summertime Sadness.” As the co-writer of “Young and Beautiful,” the love theme from “The Great Gatsby,” Del Rey is such a front-runner for the best original song Oscar (last won by Adele) that there has been a direct-mail campaign to academy voters against her. The song was also played at the most romantic event of the year: Kanye West’s stadium marriage proposal to Kim Kardashian.
Wilson, who charmed fans of 2012’s “Pitch Perfect,” had a rockier 2013, with her sitcom “Super Fun Night” struggling creatively and in the ratings. Her next planned movies are both sequels, to “Kung Fu Panda” and -- hoping lightning will strike twice -- to “Pitch Perfect.”
Another 2012 music icon, Gotye won the record of the year trophy at the 2013 Grammys for “Somebody That I Used to Know.” He released no new singles in 2013, and has told the press he has been struggling to complete new material. Good luck, Gotye!
The golden boy of the 2012 Olympics, without feats of aquatic derring-do to distract the public this year, saw his always-tenuous persona completely shift from “amiable jock” into “utter dolt” with his E! reality series. Worst of all, the series was canceled.
In 2012, the young actress -- best known for her role in the indie “Winter’s Bone” and a supporting part in the “X-Men” franchise -- had marquee roles in the first “Hunger Games” film and in David O. Russell’s comedy “Silver Linings Playbook.” In 2013, she played to her strengths: After winning an Oscar, she starred in the second “Hunger Games” movie, on whose publicity tour she managed to charm everyone in America, and had another role in a David O. Russell comedy, “American Hustle,” for which she might just win ANOTHER Oscar. By 2014, she may end up running a major studio, or serving as president.
The breakout bikini model of 2012 made a repeat appearance on the cover of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue -- and got to do high-fashion spreads in Elle, Vogue and Vanity Fair. She was cast in a Cameron Diaz comedy, too. Some types of appeal are eternal!
E. L. James
The “50 Shades” novelist now gets to help share some input into a movie adaptation set for release in 2015. She probably never needs to work again! Isn’t that great? Isn’t that … just … great?
The “Gangnam Style” phenom performed at New Year’s 2013, but will spend New Year’s 2014 flipping channels to find his pistachio ad, his goofy antics having been outdone in the past year by “The Fox” singers Ylvis. Nothing meme can stay.