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The Academy welcomes its new members at an invite only event in September, just as we begin to feel the rumblings of Oscar buzz everywhere.
While not every person nominated for the first time for an Oscar in any given year is invited to join the next year (isn't that weird?) it's common practice that they are. So new names like Lupita Nyong'o, Barkhad Abdi, and more established actors like Sally Hawkins and June Squibb will all be voting for the first time this coming season after walking the red carpets as nominees. That's expected. What's far more interesting is the people invited in any given year that have not been nominated.
Here are ten names I want to highlight because they're interesting invitations for one reason or another.
Sean Bobbitt - Cinematographer (12 Years a Slave) - egregiously snubbed last year which might have done it but that's not his only beautifully shot film. »
- NATHANIEL R
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
Denis Villeneuve's Enemy has been on my need-to-see list since Marina reviewed it back in January. The director of many critically acclaimed films including Incendies and the most recetly Prisoners, Villeneuve re-teams with Jake Gyllenhaal to bring us an enigmatic thriller about a professor who meets his doppelganger.
A slow boiling, twisted mind-fu*ck from Villeneuve? Bring it!
Also this week:
[Continued ...] »
It is that time again as 2014 is already half over. Wow, time flies when you are watching movies. The year being half over brings my annual, “Top 10 Movies of the Year…So Far” list, and without question this is my strongest list by a long shot. One big reason is the increase of great titles that have been released On Demand. Half of my list in fact is made up of films I saw On Demand. Now I am all for supporting your local Art House Theater as much as possible, but certain films don’t make it outside of La and New York so On Demand is a great tool to experience some great Independent movies. I feel like geek culture is far too obsessed with franchises that stick to the same format over and over again. I enjoy franchise movies as well, as you will see on this list, »
- Dan Clark
After the stunning one-two punch of Incendies and Prisoners, Denis Villeneuve has proven himself to be one of the most capable thriller directors working today. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that A-listers are lining up to work with the guy. He recently became attached to direct Amy Adams in the sci-fi thriller Story of Your Life, which ignited a massive bidding war at the Cannes Film Festival, and is now turning to his next big screen project, a crime drama called Sicario. Today, Josh Brolin and Jon Bernthal both came aboard, joining Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro in the film.
Brolin will play a CIA agent named Matt, who recruits a Tucson cop (Blunt) to escort two rangers to apprehend a dangerous drug kingpin. The cop is aided by a mysterious assassin (del Toro) with a personal connection to the cartels that the group »
- Isaac Feldberg
Quentin Tarantino, during his Cannes Film Festival press conference (watch it here), mentioned an email chain he was a part of where he and some friends discussed what they believed to be the ten most exciting directors working today. Among those listed he said only David Fincher and Richard Linklater where in everyone's top ten, he wasn't sure why Pedro Almodovar wasn't on everyone's list and he also qualified what he believed it meant for a director to be the "most exciting". Here's how he put it: "I think what that means is, you feel that their best work is still in front of them. That's what makes a filmmaker exciting, that's what makes you anticipate a new movie coming out. Because the new movie could be their best one. From this day on that will be the new barometer from which they're judged. We could be wrong, and their »
- Brad Brevet
Australian distributors have returned from Cannes lamenting the scarcity of .buzz. titles but happy to have bought a handful of Us, UK and foreign films.
According to some buyers, international sales agents are finding it tough to package films with marketable talent because many of the actors they want are working in high-end TV.
.I heard many times from sales agents that access to bankable talent is becoming harder as the film industry is facing tougher competition from the world of TV,. Icon CEO Greg Hughes tells If.
That quandary is confirmed by Natalie Brenner, head of sales at UK .based Metro International Entertainment. .There seem to be a lot of films struggling to attract meaningful names and as shooting dates get pushed back or projects put on hold,. says Brenner, who had a fruitful Cannes with Nina, the biopic of tortured singer Nina Simone starring Zoe Saldana, which Entertainment One will release in Australia, »
- Don Groves
A friend of mine in film studies once grimaced when I mentioned the name Xavier Dolan, bottling up the same rage that a film student would typically give to Uwe Boll or Michael Bay. The anger was misplaced: Dolan has not yet directed anything that would be considered bad or even close to bad, but he is an extremely prodigious young filmmaker. Dolan is only 25, yet earlier this week, he screened his fifth film, Mommy, at the Cannes Film Festival – one that is already being touted as a major contender for world cinema’s most prestigious prize, the Palme D’Or. It is his fourth film to screen at Cannes. When you have reached that peak of critical adoration by your mid-twenties, it is hard not to be a bit envious.
Dolan is a Québécois director who often tells stories about the fractious relationships between gay children and their parents. »
- Jordan Adler
With Mommy, Xavier Dolan, at the age of 25, solidifies himself in the pantheon of great directors. It may sound hyperbolic, but the film features an explosive freshness, a delicate balance between humour and tragedy that's simply intoxicating. Mommy is a beautifully realized piece that speaks to both mainstream audiences and the festival crowd. It included numerous visual quirks, including the decision to frame it using the vertical aspect used by those who don't know how to hold their camera phones when shooting video. This 9:16 framed within the widescreen frame could be an obnoxious gimmick, but thanks to some clever positioning by Dolan and his cinematographer André Turpin (shooter of the glorious Incendies by Denis Villeneuve), the narrow field literally opens a window into the fractious world...
[Read the whole post on twitchfilm.com...]
Jury will make its final deliberations in a public, live-streamed event.
The jury for Venice Day’s new cash prize will make its final deliberations in a public, live-streamed event at its 11th edition unfolding August 27 to September 6.
‘The final discussion for the verdict will be a public discussion in English, which will also be streamed. It’s the first time a major film festival hosts a jury discussing in public rather than in secret in a locked room,” Giorgio Gosetti, artistic director of the parallel Venice selection, told Screen.
The point of the initiative, said Gosetti, is to foster debate and discussion about the films in the selection.
“This has been lost in modern festivals. In the past, there used to be huge discussions after a screening now everyone runs off to file or on to another screening,” he noted.
Under the initiative, the jury will feature 28 cinemagoers aged between 18 to 30-years-old put forward by members »
Welcome back to Cannes Check, In Contention's annual preview of the films in Competition at next month's Cannes Film Festival, which kicks off on May 14. Taking on different selections every day, we'll be examining what they're about, who's involved and what their chances are of snagging an award from Jane Campion's jury. Next up, from the youngest director in the lineup: Xavier Dolan's "Mommy." The director: Xavier Dolan (Canadian, 25 years old). "At last" isn't the typical response when a 25-year-old director makes it into the Cannes Competition, but a number of people -- not least Dolan himself -- would say that it's about time. Since winning top honors at Directors' Fortnight, aged just 20, with his semi-autobiographical debut feature "I Killed My Mother," the precocious Québécois child actor turned filmmaker has been on the fast track to the auteur A-list. "Mommy" is his fifth feature, and his fourth to »
- Guy Lodge
Filmmaker Denis Villeneuve is a busy guy – after all, the frequently lauded director is steadily lining up compelling new projects after the one-two punch of his last two projects (that would be last year’s Prisoners and this season’s Enemy, both of which bowed back in September at Tiff, making it clear that the Incendies director had arrived in a big way) – but the new heat on his career doesn’t mean he’s cutting corners. He’s not getting sloppy. He’s not picking up films about monster trucks or winged aliens or whatever it is that Hollywood is throwing at emerging filmmakers. Villeneuve is making his own way. But is that going to include finding a female muse to match the relationship he’s cultivated with Jake Gyllenhaal, who quite memorably starred in both of Villeneuve’s latest projects, in very different roles? Villeneuve currently has three films in various forms of development, and »
- Kate Erbland
It’s been a good day for director Denis Villeneuve. Earlier, we learned that he had snagged Amy Adams for his upcoming sci-fi thriller Story Of Your Life and now, we’re hearing that he’s managed to bring on another beautiful leading lady for the other film he has in production, Sicario.
Variety is reporting that Emily Blunt will star in the director’s upcoming crime thriller, which follows ”an officer from Tuscon who travels across the border to Mexico with a pair of mercenaries in order to track down a drug lord. ” Production on the film will get underway this summer but as of now, Blunt is the only confirmed cast member, so I’d expect to see many more casting announcements in the next few weeks.
Now, unfortunately, Variety doesn’t specify which role the actress will play. But, considering that they say she’ll be starring, »
- Matt Joseph
Here's some news that is out of this world. Amy Adams is in negotiations to star in Story of Your Life, a film adaptation of a short story by sci-fi author Ted Chiang. According to Deadline, which first reported the possible casting, the movie "takes place after alien crafts land around the world, and an expert linguist (Adams' would-be role) is recruited by the military to determine whether they come in peace or are a threat. As she learns to communicate with the aliens, she begins experiencing vivid flashbacks that become the key to unlocking the greater mystery about the true purpose of their visit." The movie will be directed by Denis Villeneuve, who has helmed such flicks as Incendies »
From improbably remote arthouse origins, Québécois director Denis Villeneuve is turning into quite hot Hollywood property. A couple of years after his Middle Eastern melodrama "Incendies" scored an Oscar nomination, his austere formal gifts and taste for high-concept tragedy combined to make his starry but profoundly bleak kidnap thriller "Prisoners" a risky mainstream hit last autumn. The smaller-scale surrealist exercise "Enemy," which premiered near-simultaneously at Toronto and was released in the Us last month, took him back to specialty territory, but showed he has enough clout to attract an A-lister like Jake Gyllenhaal to a very eccentric indie. All options are effectively open to him. With that in mind, it looks like he's returning to the multiplex, lining up not one but two mainstream genre projects with, encouragingly enough, lead roles for major female stars. Emily Blunt is in talks for police thriller "Sicario," which Villeneuve will follow up immediately »
- Guy Lodge
French Canadian filmmaker Denis Villeneuve had already impressed internationally with “Incendies” which earned him a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nomination in 2010. That opened the doors for the one-two 2013/2014 punch of “Enemy” starring Jake Gyllenhaal and “Prisoners” featuring Hugh Jackman, Gyllenhaal and a star-studded cast that included Viola Davis, Paul Dano, Melissa Leo and more. How much extra clout did the two critically-acclaimed movies give him? Today we have the answer: this morning it was revealed that Amy Adams is circling the lead in his upcoming sci-fi film “The Story Of Your Life,” and now comes word that another highly-covered Hollywood actress is entering his sphere. The trades report that “Looper” and “The Five Year Engagement” star Emily Blunt is planning to star in Villeneuve’s next film. Titled "Sicario,” the movie is a Mexico/U.S. border crime tale and thriller penned by Taylor Sheridan. Said to be “No Country For Old Men”-esque, »
- Edward Davis
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