Hello From Hollywood
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences will have more help in handing out Oscars after it recently invited 176 new members to its most exclusive club. Proving that it might be easier to gain entrance, 47 of the new members announced were either nominated or won the top prize at the 84th Academy Awards earlier this year, including acting nominees Berenice Bejo, Demian Bichir, Jessica Chastain, Jonah Hill, Melissa McCarthy and Janet McTeer, and winners Jean Dujardin and Octavia Spencer. Holding steady at about 6,000 members since 2003, the 2012 invitees will fill the Academy’s numerous branches. Joining the largest Academy branch – actors – the stellar list has Sean Bean, Tom Berenger, Bryan Cranston, Ken Howard, Diego Luna, Margo Martindale, Mathew Mc- Conaughey, Epatha Merkerson, Sam Rockwell, Andy Serkis, Lili Taylor, Nia Vardolos, Kerry Washington and Michelle Yeoh. Directors extended an invite are 2012 Oscar winners Asghar Farhadi for the Best Foreign Language film, A Separation, and Michel Hazanavicius (The Artist), Rodrigo Garcia, Kasi Lemmons and Terrence Malick. Farhadi and Hazanavicius were also asked to join the writers’ branch, but must select one branch upon accepting membership. Other branches include designers, cinematographers, documentary, film editors, executives, makeup artists & hairstylists, music, producers, public relations, short film & animation, sound, visual effects and writers.
Christopher Nolan’s hand and footprints were immortalized in front of the famed Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood last Saturday along side 261 other famous Hollywood luminaries including fellow helmers Steven Spielberg, Clint Eastwood and George Lucas. Nolan, whose final chapter in his Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises, opening later this month, appeared with his producing partner and wife, Emma Thomas, and Dark Knight stars Christian Bale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Anne Hathaway, Gary Oldman, Morgan Freeman and Michael Caine. “This is all a bit surreal for me,” Nolan revealed to the crowd which consisted of many ardent Batman fans. Nolan received his first Oscar nomination as a writer for 2000’s Memento and later nabbed two more for 2010’s Inception. In 2008, he and the film The Dark Knight were snubbed for nominations which many feel propelled the Academy to increase the Best Picture nominees from 5 to 10. The film won 2 Oscars: a posthumous honor for supporting actor Heath Ledger and sound editing. At the ceremony, Nolan said a primary goal for the third (and final) installment in his Batman series was to create “a unified statement, a real ending, a true conclusion.” His next challenge will be to produce Man of Steel, the Superman reboot starring Henry Cavill and to be directed by Zack Snyder. As for more of Batman, Warner Bros. would like Nolan and Thomas to be part of it in some capacity. For now, the focus is on Nolan’s final Batman chapter and its worldwide success beginning July 19, 2012, the day before its US bow. The buzz on its potential box office grab is beyond positive and widely expected to out-perform the $158.4 million opening of Dark Knight which held the record for largest threeday debut of all time at the domestic box office.