AMPAS used to hide their membership roster like the vote tallies but in the information age, they've opened up. Now we get to see the whole list of new invitees each year. I wonder how they keep they're membership around 6,000 given how many people they invite annual. Maybe enough people reject the offer, stop paying their dues, or pass from this mortal coil each year to balance it out?
You can read the full list of recipients at Indiewire, but as is the Film Experience tradition, we like to pinpoint the newest (potential) members whose future ballots we'd most like to see. So let's have at it.
10 Bono & The Edge (music)
They're two separate people but we'd like to imagine them filling out their ballots together inbetween sets. We'd like to also imagine that they'll have better taste than the rest of the often confounding music branch.
09 Bob Murawski (editor)
We love his work on The Hurt Locker and the Spider-Man films and he's a fellow Michigander. Extra points for that. Plus editing happens to be the most fascinating category in terms of how one judges it? How do you know how well an editor is doing if you can't see all the unused footage? And are they really that obsessed with just choosing the movies they love as their nominees or are their individual ballots so very individual that only the absolute common denominators are able to rise up to snag nominations, the common denominators being the pictures people love most, regardless of editing skill (i.e. Best Picture nominees)
08 Laura Rosenthal (casting director)
It's the job I'm personally most jealous of in Hollywood. I assume the casting directors can only nominate in the Best Picture category but in a way, shouldn't they have a say in all four acting categories? Their very business is studying actors and deciding who is best... for the part. Some interesting things on her resume: The Messenger, Chicago, I'm Not There, Far From Heaven and Savage Grace. It's worth noting that this woman was smart enough to give Samantha Morton her first two American gigs (Sweet and Lowdown and Jesus's Son)
07 Janet Patterson (costume designer)
Her filmography is short but damned if her accomplishments aren't tall. Consider: Peter Pan, The Piano, Oscar & Lucinda, Bright Star, Holy Smoke!, The Portrait of a Lady. She should already be an Oscar winner by now but after four nominations, it's nice that they're extending an offer. Strangely, the Academy's costuming branch is so small that last I checked it wasn't even listed among their categories. Are there really more makeup artists in AMPAS than costumers (click here and scroll down to bottom of page). If so, why? But then again, maybe my numbers are out of date.
06 Peter Sarsgaard (actor)
He finally wore down their resistance. That Shattered Glass (2003) snub still stings years later. He works a lot and even if we're starting to want him to truly surprise us again (we fear he's going to become a Ben Kingsley i.e. a great actor who shamelessly phones it in for too many paychecks) we like him. Who will he vote for? Besides Maggie & Jake.
05 Adam Shankman (director)
He's had experience in producing, acting and directing and was a key player in this last Oscar ceremony. We don't mean this in a judgmental way but he strikes us as the type that will vote for his friends. But he seems to have so many of them that won't he have to snub most of them each time he votes? Does having a million friends, mean voting for your friends doesn't really compromise your ballot? Now, Academy members can only nominate in the category of the branch they're invited to join (as well as Best Picture... then they can vote for the winners in most other categories when the final ballots go out). So this means that he'll be able to have his say at who did the best directing job each year. We love Hairspray and we don't begrudge him Academy membership -- he's a serious power player -- but as a director? Wouldn't he be a better fit for the producer's branch?
04 Zoë Saldana (actor)
This All American beauty (of Dominican/Puerto Rican descent) was probably invited due to those back-to-back blockbusters (Avatar, Star Trek) but if you stop to consider that she's acted opposite everything from green screens (Avatar and the like) to wood (Britney Spears, Crossroads) and on to A grade thespians like Johnny Depp and Sigourney Weaver she probably knows a thing or two about the acting process in all its iterations. And having recently singled out Tang Wei in Lust, Caution as one of her favorite performances, we know the girl is discerning and willing to look beyond Hollywood for "best". AMPAS could use more of that. We would love to see her nomination ballot in all four acting categories this coming January.
03 Jacques Audiard (director)
This French auteur's last three features Read My Lips, The Beat That My Heart Skipped and A Prophet have all crackled with intelligence, electricity, fine acting and interesting choices. Now being great at something is not the same thing as being great at judging it... but it surely can't hurt. We're always curious about AMPAS's foreign outreach. How many of them say yes to membership and when they do, how international are their ballots compared to, say, Ron Howard's... or Adam Shankman's for that matter?
02 Vera Farmiga (actor)
Her breakthrough, critically speaking, came when she won the LAFCA Best Actress prize for Down to the Bone (2004). Incidentally that film was directed by Debra Granik, who's currently helping Jennifer Lawrence break through with Winter's Bone (2010). Will more actresses line up to work with Granik? That'd be a smart move. It took the Academy another five years to notice Farmiga. Given her frequently fine rapport with male co-stars, we're actually more curious about how she'll vote for the male acting categories than her own. We know she loves Michael Fassbender so... points for that. But the real reason she's ranked so high is those crazy eyes. What do they see? We like to theorize that people with crazy eyes are actually crazy. And crazy is way better than same ol' same ol' when it comes to awards balloting.
01 Mo'Nique (Actor)
Admit it, she'd top your list too. On account of what the hell would that ballot look like? Her already legendary performance in Precious showed previously hidden depths so maybe she'll be able to see it in others, too? In addition to her being an atypical Oscar winner (they don't usually go for female comics) we're intrigued by whether or not she'll take the process seriously given that when last year's race first began she seemed famously disinterested. Will that initial skepticism make her one of those types that just votes for her friends, or doesn't vote at all or even refuses membership? Or will she just crack herself up like she does onstage while she scribbles down outlandish performances? Or did the Oscar journey, which culminated in that beautiful shout out to Hattie McDaniel's history-making win for Gone With the Wind (1939), convert her to the importance of the legacy of Hollywood's High Holy Night?
The rest of the lists if you're curious [source]
Actors: Tobin Bell (Saw), Miguel Ferrer (Traffic), James Gandolfini (In the Loop), Anna Kendrick (Up in the Air), Mo’Nique (Precious), Carey Mulligan (An Education), Jeremy Renner (The Hurt Locker), Ryan Reynolds (The Proposal), LaTanya Richardson Jackson (Mother and Child), Peter Riegert (Traffic), Sam Robards (American Beauty), Saoirse Ronan (The Lovely Bones, pictured left), Adam Sandler (Funny People), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Shaun Toub (Iron Man), Christoph Waltz (Inglourious Basterds), George Wyner (A Serious Man)
Ken Bielenberg (Monsters vs Aliens), Peter de Seve (Ratatouille),
Steve Hickner (The Prince of Egypt),
Angus MacLane (Toy Story 3),
Darragh O’Connell (Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty), Simon Otto (How to Train Your Dragon), Bob Pauley (Toy Story 3),
Willem Thijssen (A Greek Tragedy)
Art Directors/Set Decorators/Production Designers: Kim Sinclair (Avatar), Dave Warren (Sweeney Todd), Maggie Gray (The Young Victoria), Douglas A. Mowat (The Sixth Sense), Caroline Smith (The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus), Kirk M. Pertruccelli (The Incredible Hulk), Edward S. Verreaux (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra)
Barry Ackroyd (The Hurt Locker),
Christian Berger (The White Ribbon, pictured left), Hagen Bogdanski (The Young Victoria),
Shane Hurlbut (Terminator Salvation), Tom Hurwitz (Valentino The Last Emperor),
Dan Mindel (Star Trek),
Tobias Schliessler (Hancock),
Stephen Windon (The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift), Robert Yeoman (The Squid and the Whale)
Catherine Leterrier (Coco before Chanel)
Juan Jose Campanella (The Secret in Their Eyes), Lee Daniels (Precious),
Claudia Llosa (The Milk of Sorrow), Lone Scherfig (An Education)
Nancy Baker (Born into Brothels),
Rick Goldsmith (The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers), Davis Guggenheim (It Might Get Loud), Tia Lessin (Trouble the Water),
Cara Mertes (The Betrayal),
Frazer Pennebaker (The War Room),
Julia Reichert (The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant),
Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me)
Film Editors: Robert Frazen (Synecdoche, New York), Dana E. Glauberman (Up in the Air), Joe Klotz (Precious), John Refoua (Avatar)
Live Action Shorts: Joachim Back (The New Tenants), Gregg Helvey (Kavi)
Makeup Artists and Hairstylists: Kris Evans (X-Men The Last Stand), Jane Galli (3:10 to Yuma), Mindy Hall (World Trade Center), Joel Harlow (Star Trek), Jenny Shircore (The Young Victoria, pictured left)
Music: Christophe Beck (The Hangover) T Bone Burnett (Crazy Heart), Brian Tyler (Fast & Furious)
Sound: Frank Eulner (Iron Man 2), Adam Jenkins (I Love You, Man), Tony Lamberti (Inglourious Basterd), Dennis Leonard (The Polar Express), Tom Myers (Up), Paul N.J. Ottosson (The Hurt Locker), Resul Pookutty (Slumdog Millionaire), Gary A. Rizzo (How to Train Your Dragon), Michael Silvers (Up), Gwendolyn Yates Whittle (Avatar)
Matt Aitken (District 9), Karen Ansel (Angels & Demons),
Richard Baneham ( Avatar), Eric Barba (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), Paul Debevec (Avatar), Russell Earl (Star Trek),
Steve Galich (Transformers),
Andrew R. Jones (Avatar), Dan Kaufman (District 9),
Derek Spears (The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor),
Steve Sullivan (Avatar),
Michael J. Wassel (Hellboy II: The Golden Army)
Writers: Neill Blomkamp (District 9), Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker), Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious), Nick Hornby (An Education), Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek), Tom McCarthy (Up, pictured left. He's also an actor), Roberto Orci (Star Trek), Terri Tatchell (District 9)
At Large, Executives, Producers & Public Relations
Christopher W. Aronson,
, Philippe Dauman
, Sheila DeLoach
, Donald Peter Granger
, Nathan Kahane
, Andrew Karpen,
, David Andrew Spitz
, Emma Watts, Stephanie Allain, Gregory Jacobs, Jon Landau, Marc Turtletaub, Glenn Williamson, Dwight Caines, Suzanne M. Cole
, Tommy Gargotta
, Sophie Gluck
, Josh Greenstein
, Pamela Levine
, Wendy Lightbourn,
Tony Sella, Darcy Antonellis and John Lowry
Which ballots do you want to see?
Do you think anyone will reject the offer?