8 items from 2014
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
Michael Fassbender and Lupita Nyong’o of 12 Years a Slave were two of the 271 artists and industry leaders invited to become members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which determines nominations and winners at the annual Oscars. The entire list of Academy membership—which numbers about 6,000—isn’t public information so the annual invitation list is often the best indication of the artists involved in the prestigious awards process. It’s worth noting that invitations need to be accepted in order for artists to become members; some artists, like two-time Best Actor winner Sean Penn, have declined membership over the years. »
- Jeff Labrecque
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
Kermit the Frog takes on his biggest challenge yet: dual roles. And truly puts the villain in vaudevillian. I’m “biast” (pro): love love love the Muppets like my own family
I’m “biast” (con): bite your tongue
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
In the annals of Hollywood, no puppet has seen more success on the big screen than Kermit the Frog, though many have tried. Punch was unable to make the transition from street theater to the silver screen in the 1920s, and the arrival of sound was said to have taken the heart out of his squeal, for it could not be adequately reproduced with the early technology of the time. Senator Charlie McCarthy, after he moved from show biz to politics, unjustly cut short many promising careers in the 1950s with his anti-puppet Felt List. Lamb Chop was already hitting the »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Exclusive: Fox‘s animated brand is built on family comedies with stalwarts The Simpsons and Family Guy. Now the network is eyeing a new addition in Dark Lord Of Delaware, an animated comedy from Alan Schoolcraft & Brent Simon, writers of DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind, and former Fox head of comedy-turned-producer Marcus Wiley. The project, now in development, centers on Zarbus, a man who must deal with the conflicting emotions of being a stay at home dad after losing his job. The situation is made all the more challenging by the fact his previous position was that of a Voldemort-like evil sorcerer who once ruled over a magical kingdom. Now banished to our world, he must navigate the social minefield of suburbia while keeping his omnipotent powers in check. Schoolcraft and Simon are writing the script and are executive producing with Wiley who brought the project to Fox through his first-look deal with the network. »
- NELLIE ANDREEVA
The typical Lego minifigure stands just 4cm tall, though of course, the popular construction toys hold a much bigger place than that in children’s imaginations. “The Lego Movie” understands how fans interact with the brand and answers with a mile-a-minute geekstravaganza that immerses kids — and the adults who only think they outgrew their old playsets — at ground level with the tiny plastic bricks. Just as they did with “21 Jump Street” and “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs” before this most ambitious undertaking, co-helmers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller irreverently deconstruct the state of the modern blockbuster and deliver a smarter, more satisfying experience in its place, emerging with a fresh franchise for others to build upon.
To the enormous credit of these preternaturally clever writer-directors, the above paragraph contains more low-hanging Lego puns than the movie itself, which relies on ingenuity and genuinely inspired twists on what audiences expect »
- Peter Debruge
8 items from 2014
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