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The Academy has announced the new class of invited members for 2014 and, as is typical, many of which are among last year's nominees, which includes Barkhad Abdi, Michael Fassbender, Sally Hawkins, Mads Mikkelsen, Lupita Nyong'o and June Squibb in the Actors branch not to mention curious additions such as Josh Hutcherson, Rob Riggle and Jason Statham, but, okay. The Directors branch adds Jay and Mark Duplass along with Jean-Marc Vallee, Denis Villeneuve and Thomas Vinterberg. I didn't do an immediate tally of male to female additions or other demographics, but at first glance it seems to be a wide spread batch of new additions on all fronts. The Academy is also clearly attempting to aggressively bump up the demographics as this is the second year in a row where they have added a large number of new members, well over the average of 133 new members from 2004 to 2012. As far as »
- Brad Brevet
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 271 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.
Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2014.
“This year’s class of invitees represents some of the most talented, creative and passionate filmmakers working in our industry today,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “Their contributions to film have entertained audiences around the world, and we are proud to welcome them to the Academy.”
The 2014 invitees are:
- Michelle McCue
Pop quiz: What do Chris Rock, Claire Denis, Eddie Vedder and Josh Hutcherson all have in common? Answer: They could all be Oscar voters very soon. The annual Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences invitation list always makes for interesting reading, shedding light on just how large and far-reaching the group's membership is -- or could be, depending on who accepts their invitations. This year, 271 individuals have been asked to join AMPAS, meaning every one of them could contribute to next year's Academy Awards balloting -- and it's as diverse a list as they've ever assembled. Think the Academy consists entirely of fusty retired white dudes? Not if recent Best Original Song nominee Pharrell Williams takes them up on their offer. Think it's all just a Hollywood insiders' game? Not if French arthouse titans Chantal Akerman and Olivier Assayas join the party. It's a list that subverts expectation at every turn. »
- Guy Lodge
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has invited 271 individuals to become members, with the list reflecting the org’s determination to bring more diversity to its ranks.
Every year, the list of invitations includes several recent Oscar nominees. That’s true this year as well, with letters going out Wednesday to a cross-section of people including 2013 contenders Barkhad Abdi, Lupita Nyong’o, Hayao Miyazaki, Pharrell Williams, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, plus such creatives as Megan Ellison, Chris Rock, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Steve Coogan, Jason Statham, William Chang Suk Ping, Joan Sobel, Tracey Seaward, Mads Mikkelsen and Chantal Akerman.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs told Variety Thursday, “This is a continuation of an initiative to bring in new voices. Filmmaking has gotten more diverse, and audiences have been responding. There are terrific filmmakers around the world at the top of their game and we want to recognize them and bring them into the Academy. »
- Tim Gray
Emmy and Golden Globe-nominee Michael Keaton ("Herbie: Fully Loaded," "White Noise") stars as the legendary nocturnal crime-fighter. Academy Award and Golden Globe-winner Jack Nicholson ("About Schmidt," "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest") is the Joker, Batman's maniacal arch-nemesis, and Academy Award and Golden Globe-winner Kim Basinger ("L.A. Confidential," "9-1/2 Weeks") is Vicki Vale, the beautiful photojournalist with a passion for Batman's alter-ego, Bruce Wayne. Directed by Academy Award-nominee Tim Burton ("Tim Burton's Corpse Bride," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"). Featuring songs by music legend Prince ("Purple Rain") and a score by Academy Award and Golden Globe-nominee and Emmy-winner Danny Elfman ("Tim Burton's Corpse Bride," "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"). Selected by the prestigious American Film Institute as one of the 400 greatest American films of all time, who also added Batman and the Joker to its list of 100 Greatest Heroes and Villains. Batman »
From "Citizen Ruth" and "Election" to "About Schmidt," "The Descendents" and "Nebraska," two-time Oscar winner and auteur Alexander Payne has gone from indie to mainstream and back again. Get a sense of his indie roots by watching his 1985 student short "Carmen," a silent film he made at the UCLA Film School. (Hat tip: Screencraft.) Deeply rooted in Americana, Payne's films toe the line between comedy and tragedy and while "Carmen" veers mostly on the side of comedy, there is some tragedy in the odd protagonist, much like the sad sacks in "Schmidt," "Sideways" and "Nebraska." Man, has he come a long way. »
- Ryan Lattanzio
The 'stubbornly glum' Nebraska makes its chilly way to DVD. For warmth, look to France and Israel
Spring has finally sprung, though on the DVD front that means reliving the winter to some extent, as prestige releases from the colder months trickle down to the small screen. You certainly couldn't watch anything much less seasonal than Nebraska (Paramount, 15), Alexander Payne's stubbornly glum comedy of dreams, dementia and delusion in the midwest.
Shot in a kind of grey and white that doesn't even give its flat landscapes the distinction of severity, it's Payne's first visit to his home state since 2002's sardonic About Schmidt, and he hasn't got sweeter on it with time. As Bruce Dern's addled pensioner chases down the millions promised to him in a lottery scam, pestered by venal relatives and patronised by his immediate family, the film emerges as the director's bleakest satire yet of corrupted American communities. »
- Guy Lodge
Arc Entertainment, the studio behind last year's thriller-western "Sweetwater" (with January Jones), has acquired the North American rights to "Louder than Words," based on the true story of a couple who creates a renowned children's hospital following the death of their child. Directed by Anthony Fabian ("Skin"), the film stars David Duchovny ("Californication") and Hope Davis ("About Schmidt") as the Fareri couple who, after losing their daughter to rabies, created the now-famous Maria Fareri Children's Hospital at the Westchester Medical Center. “'Louder than Words' features an all-star cast and tells a powerful story of acceptance, love and deliverance,” Arc Entertainment’s Head of Acquisitions Scott Moesta said. “We’re thrilled to have this heartwarming film and look forward to exposing it to a wide audience.” "Louder than Words" played at the Hampton International Film Festival last October. A 2014 release date has not yet been announced. »
- Eric Eidelstein
June Squibb is lending her sizable acting chops to the upcoming second season of Lifetime's “Devious Maids.” The Oscar-nominated actress will play Velma, the mother of Genevieve Delatour (Susan Lucci) in a two episode arc. In addition to her Oscar, Golden Globe and Screen Actor's Guild Award-nominated turn as the crotchety Kate Grant, Squibb's film credits also include “About Schmidt,” “Scent of a Woman” and “Meet Joe Black.” Also read: Lifetime Renews ‘Kim of Queens’ for Second Season (Exclusive) Squibb has also appeared on TV shows “Girls,” “The Millers,” “Getting On” and “Mike & Molly.” From executive producers Marc Cherry and Eva Longoria, »
- Jethro Nededog
This week it finally happened, Lovefilm is no more, it has now been completely consumed by its Amazon overlords and is now known as Amazon Prime and something that operates totally through your Amazon account should you have one.
At first this was a baffling experience, there was rumours of a lot more new content being added and when you logged into the Ios app for Lovefilm/Amazon post switchover, suddenly you were faced with A Lot of new content, things like Aliens, Congo, Cujo, Invaders from Mars and lots of HBO shows including Eastbound and Down, Enlightened and the Sopranos as well as Community in the ‘Recently Added’ section.
Of course this was too good to be true and you could add these to your watchlist but then not actually watch them. So when things calmed down and you logged back in, these titles it turned out were part »
- Chris Holt
In the lead-up to the 86th annual Academy Awards on March 2, HitFix will be bringing you the lowdown on all 24 Oscar categories with multiple entries each day. Take a few notes and bone up on the competition as we give you the edge in your office Oscar pool! While uncertainty reigns in the Best Picture race, the Best Director conversation has been rather more concrete for a while now -- which is not to say that it isn't a deep field. It was certainly a competitive one at the nomination stage, with one three slots seemingly nailed down and a generous handful of names duking it out for the final two. The field we got arguably isn't as adventurous or surprise-laden as last year's, but nonetheless includes five distincte artists with passionate followings : three Americans who have been nominated before, one Mexican who has been on the Oscar radar »
- Guy Lodge
The veteran performer never considered another profession, yet remained a background fixture in films for years. Now, in her ninth decade, the Nebraska star is up for her first Oscar
"I've met Idris Elba," says June Squibb, an edge of giddiness in her voice. "I've met Lupita [Nyong'o] and now we're friends. She's so sweet, a darling girl. I went up to her at a party and said: 'I'm June Squibb and we're in this together so I thought I should introduce myself.' Julia Roberts came and introduced herself to me – she's up for supporting this time around for Osage County." The day before we meet, Squibb went to the nominees' lunch. "All 270 of us got our picture taken together. I was right by Steve McQueen!"
- John Patterson
Does Will Forte have a master plan? The former Saturday Night Live star talks to ETonline about how he earned the attention of Nebraska director Alexander Payne, who he'll take as a date to The Oscars -- and whether or not there really is a master plan…
Does Will Forte have a master plan? Just when it looked like MacGruber could be his box office epitaph, the 43-year-old former Saturday Night Live star surprised many with his now-celebrated serious turn in the Oscar nominated Nebraska. With the Blu-ray & DVD out this week and the Academy Awards taking place Sunday night, Will talks to ETonline about how he earned the attention of Nebraska director Alexander Payne, who he'll take as a date to The Oscars and what he'll wear (he's a self-proclaimed "idiot" when it comes to dressing himself for events) -- and whether or not there really is a master plan…
ETonline: Congratulations »
The film will release in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad and Pune under the PVR Director’s Rare banner.
The film revolves around a cantankerous father, who after receiving a sweepstakes letter in the mail, thinks he’s struck it rich, and wrangles his son into taking a road trip to claim the fortune.
Shot in black and white across four states in the Us, and nominated for 6 Academy Awards including Best Director and Best Picture; Nebraska was in competition at Cannes Film Festival 2013. The lead actor of the film Bruce Dern (The Championship Season) won the Best Actor at the festival. It also stars Will Forte (30 Rock) and June Squibb (About Schmidt).
Every day, from now until the weekend of the 2014 Academy Awards, HeyUGuys will be publishing an article championing one of the nine films in contention for the coveted Best Picture Oscar. We will be collecting them all here, where you can find the previous articles.
Alexander Payne renews his Oscar credentials with a sour take on an age-old problem. Setting his scene in the emotional oubliette of middle America Nebraska is a stark and brilliant portrait of a man, and his family, in quiet crisis. It is a powerful take on a modern, dilapidated Americana. Adam Lowes is our guide…
An elderly man, alone and confused, shuffles along the spiralling concrete road edging across the outskirts of a listless, dilapidated industrial Northern Us city. Looking increasingly befuddled and agitated, the gentleman is stopped by a passing police car, its driver offering a lift to this sad figure. Thus begins the »
- Adam Lowes
Release date: Nov. 15, 2013
DVD release date: Feb. 25
Run time: 1 hour, 50 mins
Box office: Opening weekend: $140,401; Total domestic box office: $16.5 million; Worldwide gross to date: $17.7 million
Rotten Tomatoes score: 92 percent
Tweetable description: A middle-aged everyguy takes his ailing father on a road trip. Co-starring one of the sassiest old ladies in the history of sassy old ladies.
Number of Oscar nods: 6 — Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography
Movie’s Oscar history: Payne was nominated for a Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar for Election, and won »
- Darren Franich
Our Oscar coverage continues. Here we overview the best acting and best directing award nominees.
Best Actor Nominees
Previously Best Known For:
Bruce Wayne/Batman – Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy
Patrick Bateman – American Psycho
Previous Oscar Nominations/Wins:
Interesting Fact: If he plays an American character, he will use an American accent in all the interviews related to the film. He says he does this so the audience isn't confused
Previously Best Known For:
Freeman Lowell – Silent Running
Asa Watts – The Cowboys
Previous Oscar Nominations/Wins:
- email@example.com (G.S. Perno)
“I was a young striving cinematographer at the time,” recalls Phedon Papamichael (3:10 to Yuma) who first met filmmaker Alexander Payne (About Schmidt) at UCLA Film School. “I had a job interview with him for his UCLA graduate film which I did not get. I ended up shooting a different UCLA graduate film with Alexander being the boom operator. We knew each other socially and lived in the same part of Los Angeles, the Silver Lake Area. I’d be aware of what he was doing and he’d be aware of what I was doing. I was happy when I saw Alexander made his first film Citizen Ruth  and liked it. We often talked about films. It wasn’t until Sideways  when he called out of the blue and asked me if »
In the acclaimed film Nebraska, Woody Grant (Bruce Dern) goes on an intense road odyssey after believing a magazine scam that announces he's won a million bucks and just has to get to Nebraska to claim the prize. Peter Travers proclaimed the picture Dern's "finest two hours onscreen," and in this exclusive clip from the Blu-ray and DVD releases of the film (out February 25th via Paramount Home Media Distribution), the actor explains what brought out his brilliant performance — or who, rather: director Alexander Payne.
Get the scoop on the »
Alexander Payne’s “Nebraska” is up for Oscar in six categories, all of them big. The filmmaker, who splits his time between L.A. and his native state, spoke with Variety about his upbringing and influences — and about working with Bruce Dern and June Squibb, who’ve been acting since before he was born.
What did you learn about shooting in B&W?
I’ve been looking at black-and-white films my whole life, we all have. It felt comforting to look at the monitor; it felt almost like coming home. Everyone acts so nonplussed about it, but our great film heritage is in black-and-white. I think any filmmaker worth his or her salt aspires to make a black-and-white film at some point in their career.
What did you learn about acting from your stars?
The old pros are my favorite actors to work with, and I’ve been lucky enough »
- Tim Gray
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