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Academy Invites New Members

Christopher Plummer in The Sound of Music

The biggest surprise in the list of 2007 membership invitations sent out by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is the presence of Christopher Plummer (above). I'd have thought that Plummer had been an Academy member since – at least – 1966. Perhaps the veteran Canadian actor – the (male) star of The Sound of Music, for Zeus' sake! – keeps refusing (or ignoring) the invitations. If so, the Academy is not one to give up.

This year, the Academy has invited a total of 115 artists and executives who, as per its press release, “have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.”

Maribel Verdú in Pan's LabyrinthSomething else I noticed in the list is the presence of numerous international cinema names, e.g., Spanish actress Maribel Verdú (right, in El laberinto del fauno / Pan's Labyrinth), British actors Chiwetel Ejiofor, Daniel Craig, and Michael Sheen, Spanish cinematographer Javier Aguirresarobe, Mexican cinematographer Xavier Pérez Grobet, Mexican production designer Eugenio Caballero, German screenwriter-director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Spanish producer Agustín Almodóvar, French composer Alexandre Desplat, Argentinian composer Gustavo Santaolalla, and Spanish short film director Borja Cobeaga.

The Academy and its voting procedures suffer from countless flaws, but in all justice, the Hollywood-based (or Beverly Hills-based if you want to be literal) organization has one aspect that is superior to all other film academies that I'm aware of. Perhaps because it's not called “the American Academy of …” talent from foreign film industries are not only allowed but encouraged to become members – unlike what usually happens at film academies elsewhere.

Even though the Academy undeniably suffers from a nativist bent in its voting choices – U.S. productions clearly have an edge over films made in other countries, especially those in a language other than English – it's the only Academy I know that allows talent from foreign film industries to be nominated and (every once in a while) to win in regular categories.

A maximum of nearly 150 new members were to be allowed into the organization in 2007, “but as in the previous three years, the various branch committees endorsed far fewer candidates than were proposed to them.” In the past four years, the Academy's voting membership has held steady at almost 6,000 members.

New members will be welcomed into the Academy at an invitation-only reception at the Fairbanks Center for Motion Picture Study in Beverly Hills in September.

The 2007 invitees are:

Actors
Jennifer Aniston
Adriana Barraza
Steve Carell
Daniel Craig
Aaron Eckhart
Chiwetel Ejiofor
William Fichtner
Ryan Gosling
Jackie Earle Haley
Jennifer Hudson
Danny Huston
Eddie Murphy
Christopher Plummer
James Rebhorn
Michael Sheen
Maribel Verdú

Animators
Sharon Calahan
George Griffin
John Kahrs
Torill Kove
Marcy Page
Troy Saliba

Art Directors
Hugh Bateup

At-Large
Sam Mercer
Lia Vollack

Casting Directors
Lisa Beach
Leslee Feldman

Cinematographers
Javier Aguirresarobe
Steve Gainer
Michael Goi
Michael Grady
Adam Kimmel
Alar Kivilo
M. David Mullen
Xavier Perez Grobet

Music
Carter Burwell
Alexandre Desplat
Javier Navarrete
Gustavo Santaolalla

Producers
Agustin Almodovar
Bonnie Arnold
Julia Chasman
Jonathan Glickman
Daniel Goldberg
Jack Rapke
Jane Rosenthal

Production Designers
Eugenio Caballero
Nathan Crowley
Nigel Phelps

Public Relations
Kevin Campbell
Jason Cassidy
Frank J. Chiocchi
Sarah Greenberg
Ileen Reich
Jeff Smith
Valerie Van Galder

Costume Designers
Consolata Boyle
Nancy Steiner

Directors
Peter Berg
D.J. Caruso
Antoine Fuqua
Paul Greengrass
Monte Hellman
Simon West

Documentary
Steve James
Nathaniel Kahn
James Longley
Brett Morgen
Laura Poitras
Eric Simonson

Executives
Greg Foster
Judd Funk
Adam Goodman
Andrew W. Gumpert
Michael J. Lambert
Yair Landau
David Weil

Film Editors
Sandra Adair
Virginia Katz
Saar Klein
Richard Pearson
Alex Rodriguez
Christopher Rouse

Live Action Short Films
Borja Cobeaga
Javier Fesser
Ari Sandel

Make-Up
John E. Jackson
David Marti
Montse Ribe
Kazuhiro Tsuji

Sound
Michael J. Benavente
Linda Folk
Jessica Gallavan
Tim Gomillion
Howard London
Steven D. Williams
Jim Wright

Visual Effects
John Andrew Berton Jr.
Al DiSarro
Bryan Hirota
Alan E. Lorimer
Christopher Nibley
Douglas H. Smith
Ben Snow
Eric Swenson
Jon Thum

Writers
J.J. Abrams
Michael Arndt
Guillermo Arriaga
Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Patrick Marber
William Monahan
Peter Morgan
Billy Ray
Erin Cressida Wilson

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