The Dubai International Film Festival is celebrating its 10th edition next month, and is upping its profile this year via a new partnership with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. A delegation from the Academy including former president Sid Ganis and directors Ava DuVernay and Shekhar Kapur will attend the event which runs December 6-14. Panel discussions will include a session presenting an overview of the Academy and masterclasses for filmmakers. The festival has a number of big-ticket screenings on deck for films that are figuring in awards season. It opens with Palestine’s Oscar entry Omar, and closes with David O Russell’s American Hustle. In between, there will be gala screenings of such pics as August: Osage County, Labor Day, 12 Years A Slave, Fruitvale Station, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Saving Mr. Banks and Out Of The Furnace. Director Jim Sheridan is heading up the concurrent Muhr Arab Feature competition.
Although the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is constantly reviewing their rules and regulations, the changes are usually minor. But this year one major change regarding the foreign-language category could cause a few tremors in that race: For the first time, the entire Academy will vote on the winner.
The nominating process to select five foreign-language contenders from the 70-some entries from individual countries remains the same. But in the past, only members who had proven they had seen all five nominees in a theater were able to vote. Now everyone gets to vote without proving they’ve seen the films, just like the rest of the major categories.
But will this change the dynamics of the race, perhaps favoring higher-profile titles? Last year, Austria’s acclaimed Amour won the foreign-language Oscar the old-fashioned way. Had the new rules been in effect, it almost certainly would have won anyway because it was the rare foreign-language entry that also received a best picture nomination. Would lesser-known winners such as Argentina’s The Secret In Their Eyes (2009) or Japan’s Departures (2008) have reigned in an unsupervised Academy-wide vote against better-known nominees?
The donation by the DreamWorks Animation CEO and the Oscar-winning director to the upcoming Academy Museum of Motion Pictures will see the main lobbies of the facility named after their families. Here’s the Academy‘s release about the gift from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Steven Spielberg:
The cybersquatting case is far from over but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences moved one big step closer to domain domination over GoDaddy last week. Federal judge Audrey Collins ordered on November …
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ran into some well-publicized growing pains in launching the first year of online voting for Oscars last year. It has taken internal complaints and problems into consideration and now is making key changes to the system that confused many members and resulted in a shaky launch. An email is going out today and Monday (read it below) will tell members to register online for what has been described as an “upgraded and simplified” system. Immediate registration will be possible after a member pays their annual dues — which also can be done online. The Academy is urging members to consider using the online option when voting this year although for those who would rather stick with the old-fashioned method a paper ballot will still be available. The Academy though really plans on selling the online option, and believes the long-gestating switch and the attendant publicity resulted in what its says was the highest voter turnout ever last season.
I am told the Academy believes it has fixed the key components of the system that caused so many problems — and have done it without compromising security, a major factor in any overhaul. The key update is there will now be only one user name and one password required for the entire season both for membership and voting purposes. Previously, there were separate passwords members had to use and a more complicated system of checks and balances. ow voters also won’t have to keep re-entering VIN numbers, and should the need come to change their password it will be done with an immediate prompt online with no need to contact the support system, which is something many members had to do often last year after throwing up their hands in frustration. The site has also been designed graphically for much easier navigation.
Will this answer all the complaints we heard from confused Academy members last year? Time will tell, but I am told the Academy believes it has really streamlined things, and hope and expect most members to embrace online voting in its sophomore season. It all begins again now, folks.
Here’s that letter going out to members:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – A record 76 countries have submitted films for consideration in the Foreign Language Film category for the 86th Academy Awards®. Moldova and Saudi Arabia are first-time entrants; Montenegro is submitting for the first time as an independent country.
The 2013 submissions are:
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Paula Wagner will produce the 5th Annual Governors Awards for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced today. The Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award and three Honorary Awards will be presented to Angelina Jolie, Angela Lansbury, Steve Martin and Piero Tosi, respectively, on Saturday, November 16, at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland Center®.
Listen to (and share) episode 38 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond. Deadline’s awards columnist talks with host David Bloom about whether Lovelace can do for VOD movies what House Of Cards did for VOD TV; the below-the-line boost that may have put Cheryl Boone Isaacs at the top of the Motion Picture Academy; what to expect from Ellen DeGeneres as the Oscar host; and the latest Emmy chat as final-round voting gets underway. Pete also gives his take on the week’s movie debuts, including Neil Blomkamp’s thinking man’s sci-fi film Elysium, Pixar’s animated sort-of sequel Planes, and young-adult book adaptation Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters.
EXCLUSIVE: I have learned veteran publicist Jasmine Madatian, head of communications for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences since June of 2012, has decided to leave the full-time post and return to her own consulting firm, AshTam. However, despite departing her Academy job, she will still have some involvement with the upcoming Oscarcast scheduled for March 2nd. She plans to work independently with Oscar show producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron, focusing on the campaign for the broadcast. The trio worked closely together on the most recent Academy Award show in her official capacity at the Academy and sources tell me Madatian and the returning producers wanted to continue the relationship.
In the end it probably was not too surprising that Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences at last night’s Board of Governors meeting. As I pointed out in my election preview last week, she is the only one in Academy history to have served in every elected office the Academy has – VP, Treasurer, Secretary, Academy Foundation President, First Vice President most recently, and even produced last year’s Governors Awards. That the Board essentially elevated her up one notch to President after her 21 years of service seems a natural. Then again it doesn’t always go down the “natural” way in show business.
But of course her election is historic for another reason. She becomes only the third woman (after Fay Kanin and a combative two-week stint in 1941 for Bette Davis) and first African-American to become Academy President. Much is being made in the media of the latter distinction, but Boone Isaacs just shrugs it off. With Dawn Hudson as CEO and now Boone Isaacs as President, plus a record 14 women on the Board Of Governors and a meaningful drive toward diversity in the overall membership, it is going to be harder than ever for critics to haul out the usual ‘It’s just an old white man’s club’ description when talking about this new age Academy, even though it is a long way from completely changing its image. But I think more than anything Boone Isaac’s election is a vote for stability in an organization trying to come to grips with a changing business and world. She’s a familiar face, and well-liked within the Academy and that goes a long way in this prestigious position she has now inherited from outgoing one-term President Hawk Koch. When I spoke to Boone Isaacs this morning she was basking in the glory of her election, but definitely looking to the future.
On Tuesday night the new Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will meet to pick a new president. Current one-term president Hawk Koch has served nine years on the board and is prohibited by a dopey Academy rule from running again as governors are termed out after nine years. It seems odd that once elected president, even if termed out on the board, that you can’t have the opportunity to run for the full possible four one-year terms Academy bylaws allow. But the Academy being the Academy does things their own way. A new president is just learning the ropes in the first year so it seems short-sighted to cut that short.
Nevertheless, Koch is out (he’ll be returning to the co-presidency of the Producers Guild for another year) and the so-called race to succeed him is, by all accounts inside and out of the Academy, clearly between two officers: In one corner there’s Lionsgate Motion Picture Group co-chairman Rob Friedman, who serves as Academy Treasurer; in the other there’s Cheryl Boone Isaacs, a marketing consultant who currently serves as First VP but is actually the only person to my knowledge who has ever filled every single elected Academy office except president. In the past she has also been VP, Treasurer, Secretary, President of the Academy Foundation, and last year produced the Governors Awards. Both, if elected, would be eligible to serve four one-year terms.
Like the Pope, the new prez will come from within the ranks of the 48-member Board of Governors (think of them as the College of Cardinals). But, other media speculation aside, I don’t think there’s much of a prayer that any surprise names will come to the fore despite the fact that a third of the board was just elected last week. When Koch was chosen last August, the only other names in nomination were, you guessed it, Friedman and Boone Isaacs. And then there were two. There seems to be no new revolution brewing within the Academy that would produce a third-party candidate.
The Academy also being the Academy sort of runs the anti-election, very under the radar. Neither Friedman nor Boone Isaacs would admit they are actually running for the gig, even after I asked both that question point blank. As Boone Isaacs said, “You have to understand this whole thing really just happens on one night (July 30)”. So there are no lawn signs, no campaign speeches, no fundraising — just a meeting. Although neither would admit they are a candidate, they both clearly are. “If chosen I will serve,” is how Friedman put it to me at last week’s Academy’s tribute to past president Fay Kanin. Although Boone Isaacs also wouldn’t declare her candidacy to Deadline at Monday’s Academy tribute to Wong Kar Wai, she said she would be beyond honored to take on the presidency. “I would be thrilled and probably react like a schoolgirl if it happened,” she joked.
The Writers Guild Of America and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences held a tribute Monday night for Fay Kanin, past Academy and WGA Screen Branch President among many other accomplishments. Kanin died in March at the age of 95. How fitting that the tribute was held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre on a day when the Academy announced a record 14 women are now serving on the Board Of Governors. When she became only the 2nd female President in Academy history in 1979 (Bette Davis served for two weeks in 1941 but enraged committee members and had to resign), Kanin was the sole woman on the entire Board. The 4-term Acad Pres was a true groundbreaker and a real giver as was clearly evident in the many speeches praising her life and career Monday night for an audience that included several past and present Academy Presidents and Board members.
Movie Academy Names 2013-2014 Board Of Governors: Amy Pascal, Nancy Utley, And Alex Gibney Among Newcomers Joining
BEVERLY HILLS, CA – Ten first-time governors have been elected to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Board of Governors. In addition, eight incumbents have been reelected and one previous governor is returning to the board. This year’s election increases the Academy’s governing body from 43 to
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tells Deadline that there is no formal announcement at this time, but we have learned that an email went to members of the Academy’s Music Branch today announcing that Oscar-nominated songs and scores will be featured in a live concert for the first time. The nontelevised event will be held February 27 at UCLA’s Royce Hall, three days before the 86th annual Academy Awards ceremony. “A symphony orchestra of Los Angeles studio musicians will perform a suite from each score of up to 10 minutes in length,” Music Branch governors Charles Fox, Arthur Hamilton and David Newman said in the email. “Subject to availability, each original composer will conduct his or her own work. We’re planning for brief onstage conversation with composers and their directors about the process of creating music for motion pictures.” Performers and writers of Oscar-nominated songs are featured during the televised ceremony, but “the musical scores … have not been performed on the Oscars in a fully realized way because of the length of the show”, the statement said. The governors described the concert as a “milestone in Oscar music history” and something that would “hopefully become an annual event”. The Academy said the initiative came directly from the Music Branch, and it had no further comment. Read the full email after the jump:
With 276 membership invitations going out today — exactly 100 more new members than were invited to join the elite 6000+ organization last year — the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has clearly begun to live up to its goal of being more inclusive. And not only in increasing its numbers but also in the group’s stated goal of increasing diversity. One person I spoke with today who was involved in the selection of new members from their branch was worried that the Academy might be drifting into affirmative action territory and cutting out more deserving applicants. But outgoing Academy president Hawk Koch was thrilled with the results of the initiative, which was approved at a Board of Governors meeting last October. It’s one he personally lobbied for with every peer group as they considered applications for membership to their individual branches.
When we spoke this morning, Koch said it was “mission accomplished” but added that along with diversity he emphasized qualifications. “I did say along with that our criteria doesn’t change: They still have to be the best of the best, just be aware of diversity”, he said. “I am very excited that we have such a talented and diverse group of artists and filmmakers. It’s like everything else I have tried to do this year. We are moving forward. We are more inclusive and are cultivating the next generation, and that’s what we need to do”.