Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Academy Adds New Members

It's been a busy week for the Academy of Motion Pictures of Arts and Sciences more commonly known as AMPAS to us Oscar freaks. The AMPAS released a few press releases this week highlighting changes to its Academy Awards. They started with a bang, choosing to increase the Best Picture nominee list from 5 to 10. They followed that up by limiting the Best Original Song category and relegating special honorees to their own black-tie dinner.

I am not a fan of any of these decisions and I don't pretend to know why they even made them. I can hypothesize that the exclusion of critical and audience-favorites WALL•E and The Dark Knight last year coupled with decreasing ratings might have something to do with the decision to increase the Best Picture nominees. And it seems pretty evident that the other two decisions were made to shorten the infamously bloated ceremony. Then again I'm one of the few that wishes it were actually longer. Despite what a lot of people think, the length of a show is immaterial. It's all about entertainment. Two hours of crap is worse than five hours of awesome entertainment.

But neither here nor there. I actually made this entry to comment on the latest release from AMPAS. Today the Academy welcomed 134 new members. They will now have the power to vote for the Academy Awards. I'm jealous. You can view the complete list by clicking on that link to the full press release, but I wanted to comment on a couple of names.

Before I get talking about the actors, I just wanted to say how refreshingly known all of the actors are to me. Usually there would be a name (or a dozen) of someone who I've never seen or even heard of, but this year I know their filmography quite well.

Thank you for hosting: Hugh Jackman. They loved his hosting so much they welcomed him in. Couldn't say I disagree with them.

First time nominees from last year: Viola Davis, Anne Hathaway, Taraji P. Henson, Melissa Leo, and Michael Shannon. Very good choices here though I do hope they all get nominated again sometime soon.

Former nominees: Casey Afleck, Amy Ryan, and Michelle Williams. What took them so long? Oh well, at least they are members now. I'm especially happy with Michelle's inclusion. Looking forward to her second nomination whenever it comes.

Really should've nominated by now: Emily Blunt, James Franco, Emile Hirsch, and James McAvoy. I can name a film (sometimes two) for which these actors should've been nominated, but they're all still young (and scorchingly hot) so methinks it's only a matter of time.

Really REALLY should've been nominated by now: Brendan Gleeson, Jeffrey Wright, and Jane Lynch. How they've never been nominated is astounding. I'm especially tickled that Jane Lynch is now a member. She's fantastic.

Really funny in a WTF kind of way: Michael Cera, Seth Rogen, and Paul Rudd. Along with Jane Lynch, comedy made a big showing. But while I agree with Lynch and even Rudd's invitation, Rogen? Really? But even then I get it. But Michael Cera?! I can't even wrap my mind around that one.

And while they are not actors...

They still love Slumdog Millionaire: Anthony Dod Mantle, Danny Boyle, Chris Dickens, A.R. Rahman, and Christian Colson. Winning Best Picture catapulted these filmmakers to an invitation. But no room for Latika? I'm half-kidding.

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