Movie Academy Membership Quotas Dissolved: But Does It Mean Anything?

By | Friday April 26, 2013 @ 7:45pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Media reports swirled this afternoon that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is dissolving a rule in place since 2004 that created quotas to keep membership to minimum numbers and the eligible voting body to 5800-6000 members. Sources within the Academy have confirmed this to Deadline, but noted it really is old news since this change was voted by the Board Of Governors in October. The source also called it “non-news” because any changes that might come about because of it are still a work in progress. Conceivably, without the limit on new members in each of the 15 branches affected, these branches could open the floodgates and admit more members than ever before. But that is not likely to happen based on conversations I have had today with Acad insiders, including those most affected by the relaxation of rules.

An Academy source told me the change was enacted in October in order to be more “inclusive” and pave a path for admittance to industry members who have an impressive body of work but for whatever reason have not been granted membership. It’s a way to “open the ranks”, I am told, but it was also emphasized that it in no way will lessen the existing professional criteria that has always applied in bringing in new members. This rule change is just the first part of a process that will accelerate in May, when each branch meets to determine which new members of those who have applied will be granted entry into this most exclusive club; the application process closed several weeks ago, and there can be no more new applications for 2013 beyond those already processed. The recommendations will then go to the general membership committee and then to the Board for final approval. The Academy expects to release a list of those accepted for membership by mid-June, I am told. Last year, 176 members were admitted, and that number is fairly close to the norm for the past decade. Read More »

Comments (5)

Academy’s Nicholl Script Contest Deadlines

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Deadlines to submit entries to the 2013 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition are Wednesday, April 10 (regular deadline) and Wednesday, May 1 (final deadline). As many as five $35,000 fellowships will be awarded in November.

The Academy Nicholl Fellowships competition is open to any individual who has not earned a total of more than $25,000 from the sale or option of screenplays or teleplays. This amount for 2013 is an increase from the $5,000 limit in previous years. To enter, writers must submit a completed application online, upload one PDF copy of their original screenplay in English and pay the appropriate entry fee before the deadline. The entry fee is $50 through 11:59 p.m. PT on April 10, and $65 through 11:59 p.m. PT on May 1.

For online applications, rules and other details, visit

Read More »

Comments (6)

Battered And Broken Oscar Sells For More Than $100K At Auction

Pete Hammond

They say you can’t “buy” an Oscar, but that would be a lie. As they do every year, the studios just spent millions in pursuit of them, and Hollywood’s elite seem to covet them more than their first-born. But exactly how much is an Oscar worth? If Tuesday’s latest Nate D. Sanders auction is any indication, it’s a lot.

Screenwriter Charles MacArthur’s 1935 “Academy First Award”, won at the 8th Annual Academy Awards for Best Story for The Scoundrel, sold today for $106,231 While not anywhere near a record for an Oscar statuette, it’s pretty remarkable considering this one was tarnished and had a cracked head and base as well as visible repair done to a break at the ankles. This ‘ol Oscar clearly had weathered a few storms since being presented to MacArthur (he shared the credit with Ben Hecht) on March 5, 1936. The fact it did not come for a major classic film or wildly famous recipient makes the sale even more impressive.

In case any more recent winners are looking to make a fast buck for their Oscar, be warned that a sale like this for any Oscar post-1950 is completely illegal. That is when the Academy started making winners sign an agreement that they or their heirs could not sell their Oscar without first offering it back to the Academy for the paltry sum of $1. Of course, this hasn’t stopped the practice even for those statuettes, and it has been estimated that at least 200 Oscars have been sold in the past and I would guess that a great number of them are post-1950. With this kind of black market in Oscar statuettes, it is obvious that not everyone with the coveted gold man on their mantel actually won it — or was at least related to a winner. But while the Academy may frown, the business of buying and selling Oscars, even as damaged as MacArthur’s, is still a very big one. Read More »

Comments (12)

2013 Academy Nicholl Screenwriting Competition Underway

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is now accepting entries for the 2013 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. As many as five $35,000 fellowships will be awarded in November.

Read More »

Comments (0)

Academy Made $51.2M On Oscars Last Year

By | Thursday January 24, 2013 @ 2:29pm PST

That tidbit of information came from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences‘ latest financial report, which includes data for the fiscal year that ended in June 2012. The operating profit of $51.2M was a 2.6% increase over … Read More »

Comments (0)

Film Academy To Bestow Service Award On VFX Veteran Bill Taylor

By | Tuesday January 8, 2013 @ 3:00pm PST

Bill Taylor, a longtime visual effects supervisor and director of photography, has been voted to receive the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation from the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The … Read More »

Comments (3)

OSCARS: Glitches In Early Online Voting

By | Tuesday December 18, 2012 @ 2:42pm PST
Mike Fleming

UPDATE: I got an explanation on the temporary glitch in online voting from Michael Shamberg, the Django Unchained producer who’s a long time Academy member and who encountered some problems but came away satisfied that the new system … Read More »

Comments (15)

Academy Pitches Oscarcast Roles For Film Students With Contest

By | Friday November 30, 2012 @ 11:11am PST

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been trying to draw younger eyeballs to its Oscar telecast for years. Here’s the latest way to entice them to tune in: make them part of the show. The … Read More »

Comments (6)

Academy Sues Duo Over Oscar Sale

By | Tuesday November 20, 2012 @ 11:03am PST

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has sued two men for copyright infringement related to an allegedly sold and destroyed Oscar. The complaint (read it here) says that John Dunne sold Edgard Francisco “an ©”Oscar”® statuette that was either a genuine statuette lost to theft or a very convincing counterfeit.” Dunne sold the contested Oscar to Francisco for $25,000. When the buyer determined soon afterwards that the statuette was a fake, he tossed it and got a $15,000 refund from the seller. In requesting a jury trial, the Academy, who filed its action in Seattle, says Dunne’s “unfair and deceptive act has caused the Academy damages in an amount to be determined at trial.” Those damages could range from $25,000 to over $75,000 based on what the value of the statuette could be assessed, fake and real. They are also seeking legal costs and lawyer’s fees. The Academy claims the statuette was or purported to be the Oscar that Aaron Rochin won in 1979 for his sound work on The Deer Hunter. Rochin returned the Oscar for a new one because it was “blemished.” The returned one went missing and has never been accounted for. And still isn’t — because Francisco destroyed it.
Read More »

Comments (0)

Stanley Kubrick To Be Honored By Motion Picture Academy

By | Monday October 29, 2012 @ 2:19pm PDT

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will celebrate the life and career of filmmaker Stanley Kubrick on Wednesday, November 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills. Hosted by Malcolm McDowell, the evening features film clips and personal remembrances by his friends and collaborators, including Paul Mazursky, Ryan O’Neal and Matthew Modine. The salute is presented in association with the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), leading off its retrospective screening series “2012: A Kubrick Odyssey,” and in conjunction with its exhibition “Stanley Kubrick.”

Read More »

Comments (8)

Movie Academy On Track For Museum Funding, Offers First Look At New Plans

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled new details of its Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, which is set to open in 2016. (Click on the photos to enlarge.) It also said it has met its first fundraising goal of $100 million by this week’s deadline. Below in the release is a list of contributors too:

BEVERLY HILLS, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that it has reached its initial goal of $100 million toward a $250 million capital campaign to fund the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. Concurrently, the Academy unveiled its vision for the first major U.S. museum dedicated exclusively to the history and ongoing development of motion pictures. Designed by award-winning architects Renzo Piano and Zoltan Pali, the non-profit museum which will be located in the historic May Company Wilshire building in Los Angeles, is slated to open in 2016.

“The Academy museum will be a landmark that both our industry and our city can be immensely proud of,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “I appreciate the unwavering support of our board, our members, and especially our campaign chairs, all of whom have led us through this crucial stage.”

Launched in early 2012 by Campaign Chair Bob Iger and Co-Chairs Annette Bening and Tom Hanks, the campaign has raised $100 million through private donations towards a $250 million goal. “The early response to our fundraising campaign has been outstanding and is incredibly encouraging,” said Iger. “We are so grateful to the founding supporters of the campaign, who share our vision and passion for creating the Academy Museum.”

Read More »

Comments (1)

Weinstein’s French Import ‘The Intouchables’ Is First Official 2012 Academy Screener Mailed To Members

Pete Hammond

EXCLUSIVE: Every Oscar season the race is on to see who can put out the first DVD screener sent to Academy members. Well, the race is over for 2012: The Weinstein Company is mailing screeners today of their hit French import The Intouchables to the entire membership of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association got one over the weekend. The Intouchables, which has grossed more than $360 million worldwide,  is the official French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar (screenings of the record 71 films  in that contest begin Friday night at the Academy). It is the second-highest-grossing non-English-language film of all time after The Passion Of The Christ.

Related: OSCARS: 71 Countries Submit For Foreign-Language Film Race

Last year, Summit was first out of the gate in getting Academy members a screener of A Better Life. The strategy paid off, resulting in a surprise Best Actor SAG and Oscar nomination for star Demian Bichir. Putting those screeners in Oscar voters’ hands early certainly didn’t hurt his chances. Millennium mailed a commercial DVD of Bernie to press a couple of weeks ago with Oscar aspirations attached, but this is the first official manufactured screener for Oscar voters (the Academy has strict rules about packaging and does not allow commercial DVDs to be sent to members). Read More »

Comments (3)

Oscar “Disaster”: Controversy Erupts Over New Documentary Feature Rules As Michael Moore Calls For Changes

Pete Hammond

“Disaster” is the word an Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences executive used in describing for me the current state of this year’s competition for Best Documentary Feature. Yes, there’s trouble in River City and this is after new rules were put into place in January that were meant to democratize the process. Every year it seems one branch or another in the Academy creates major controversies, and this year it is again the Documentary branch’s turn in the hot seat. And we haven’t even seen the list of nominees yet, so fasten your seat belts.

Those new rules, as first reported on Deadline at the time, changed the nomination voting process. Instead of several groups of small mysterious committees each watching a set number of films, the whole documentary branch now has the opportunity to see and vote on every eligible film. Then final voting is opened up to the entire Academy to be pick a winner — just as they do on Best Picture and other categories. The new rules also attempted to trim the number of entries, specifically targeting films not really meant for theatrical release by requiring a one-week run in New York and Los Angeles as well as a review in either the New York Times or Los Angeles Times. This was seen as a way to discourage TV documentaries or vanity projects from getting into a race designed for movies that are truly meant for theaters first. HBO was a culprit, and now others are jumping into the docu world including today’s announcement regarding a new documentary unit from CNN.

The new system hasn’t worked out the way its main architect, Oscar-winning documentarian and Academy Doc branch Governor Michael Moore, envisioned, and he is the first to agree at least part of it has been a disaster. “I told them (the Academy) to use that word”, he said. “It’s a miserable failure.” Moore, who serves with co-governors Rob Epstein and Michael Apted, said this after branch members, who had already received a steady but manageable stream of movies to view on DVD through the first 9 months of the year, suddenly had about 80 new titles dumped on their doorsteps with only a month to go before ballots for the first wave of voting are due. Read More »

Comments (4)

Academy Celebrates 50 Years Of James Bond Music From ‘Goldfinger’ To ‘Skyfall’

By | Sunday October 7, 2012 @ 5:35pm PDT
Pete Hammond

Beginning with a performance of Monty Norman’s iconic James Bond theme by Vic Flick — the original guitarist who performed it on the Dr. No soundtrack in 1962 — the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences threw a smashing salute, “The Music Of  Bond: The First 50 Years”, in front of a packed house Friday night. It was part of a worldwide celebration known as Global James Bond Day; it was on October 5, 1962, that the first Bond film, Dr. No, starring Sean Connery, debuted in the UK. The franchise has continued through six different actors playing the title role including current Bond Daniel Craig, whose third outing as 007 in the 23rd film in the series, Skyfall, opens November 9th.

The evening, produced by the Academy’s Ellen Harrington and flawlessly hosted by film music historian Jon Burlingame, author of the new book The Music Of James Bond, featured a series of terrific clips and several classic opening-credit sequences that highlighted the Bond songs that are a much-awaited part of every one of these films. Onstage guests included Oscar- and Tony-winning lyricist Don Black, who wrote five Bond songs; Bill Conti, who received an Oscar nomination for his title song to For Your Eyes Only (1981); Flick; and a special taped message from Bond star Roger Moore.

Burlingame saved the biggest surprise for last when he debuted a montage of scenes from Skyfall scored with Grammy winner Adele’s title song, which she just “secretly” recorded in London with a 77-piece orchestra. She also co-wrote the tune while 10-time Oscar nominee Thomas Newman got to score  his first-ever Bond film. Burlingame noted that within the first 16 hours of the song’s release, it was already in the top 10 in 21 countries and No. 1 in 10 of them including the UK. Read More »

Comments (13)

Academy Launches October Celebration Of Universal Horror Classics

Pete Hammond

The 1991 Best Picture Oscar sweep of Silence Of The Lambs aside, one of the most egregiously overlooked genres when it comes to voting for Academy Awards is getting a big make-good the entire month of October from the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In honor of Universal‘s year-long  100th anniversary, the Academy tonight begins its celebration of classic horror films in “Universal’s Legacy Of Horror”, the genre in which the studio made its early reputation and a perfect Halloween treat for fans.

Modern horror-meister and enthusiast Guillermo del Toro will host tonight’s opening program, which includes a double bill of newly restored prints of The Bride Of Frankenstein (1935) and Dracula (1931). Among those expected to be in attendance this month is Carla Laemmle, who will turn 103 on October 20. She is the niece of Universal founder Carl Laemmle and an actress who appeared in Phantom Of The Opera (1925) — screening to close the series on October 30 –and tonight’s  opener Dracula, a movie for which she is known for speaking the first line of dialogue ever heard in a horror film. She’s the last surviving cast member of both pics. Phantom, by the way, will be an original restoration with the color sequence intact and presented by Oscar-winning film historian Kevin Brownlow. Read More »

Comments (3)

EXCLUSIVE: Seth MacFarlane Oscar Host

First Interview: Seth MacFarlane ‘Ecstatic’ About The Job
Seth MacFarlane’s Big Oscar News (Video)

Seth MacFarlane Hosting OscarsEXCLUSIVE: I’ve just learned that the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences will announce today that TV, film, stage, and singing star … Read More »

Comments 76

OSCARS: Scribe Robin Swicord Elected To Academy Board Of Governors

By | Wednesday September 19, 2012 @ 4:21pm PDT

Beverly Hills, CA (September 19, 2012) – Oscar®-nominated screenwriter Robin Swicord has been elected to the Board of Governors, representing the Writers Branch, of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy President Hawk Koch announced today.

Swicord, who

Read More »

Comments (1)

How Oscar’s Surprising Changes Affect Awards Season: Analysis

Pete Hammond

My phone started ringing off the hook shortly after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences sent out their press release today detailing key dates in the voting schedule for the 85th annual Academy Awards. Awards consultants I spoke to were clearly thrown for a loop and expressed dismay over the new dates — particularly the Academy’s switch from the previous Oscar nominations announcement date of January 15 to January 10, an unprecedented three days before the Golden Globes.

Related: OSCARS: Nominations Date Shifted To Jan. 10 — Before Golden Globes

Does this blunt the impact of the Globes? In some ways it definitely will as the Academy’s nomination announcement will get enormous attention just as the Hollywood Foreign Press Association is drumming up attention for its own big night. Also, the usual window in which studios use Globes wins for newspaper, online and TV advertising is, well, out the window as Oscar nominations will likely take precedence. Last year, there was a week-and-a-half between the Globes ceremony and the Oscar noms. Now the two are much, much closer. The impact, if any, of Globes nominations on Oscar voters is also minimalized as the Globes noms are announced December 13 and Oscar nom voting starts four days later on December 17, with ballots now due back January 3.

And then there is the Broadcast Film Critics Association’s Critics Choice Movie Awards, another big telecast movie awards show that usually falls on the Thursday or Friday before the Globes. No date has been announced for 2013, but the group’s decision will certainly be impacted by today’s Academy news. Certainly they don’t want to show to fall on the same day as Oscar nominations, but will they move earlier because of this? There’s only so much wriggle room here. Making things even more crowded and headache-inducing for awards consultants, The National Board Of Review also holds their awards ceremony in New York on January 10th Read More »

Comments (12)

OSCARS: Nominations Date Shifted Ahead 5 Days To Jan. 10 — Before Golden Globes

BREAKING… The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences says the new January 10 date, five days earlier than previously announced, will give members a longer period of time to see the films up for Oscars. It also makes the nominations three days before the Golden Globes, rather than after, as has been the norm in previous years. That makes for a very busy week in the heat of awards season. The shift comes as the Oscars’ governing body unveiled key dates for the 85th Academy Awards, which are February 24 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. As this is the first year members will have the opportunity to cast ballots electronically, the Academy also said today it is making resources available to members during the transition — including creating assisted voting stations in Los Angeles, New York and London; a 24-hour telephone help line during voting periods; and paper ballots. The longer stretch between nominations and the February 19 date for final voting ballots to be submitted also provides a cushion to further work out kinks with members over the new voting methods. Here are the 2013 Oscars’ key dates: Read More »

Comments (7)
More Deadline | Hollywood »
« Previous Deadline | Hollywood