Academy Invites Tyler Perry, Michael Cera, Seth Rogen to Join Oscar Ranks

What does the new membership mean for comedy at the Oscars?

by | June 30, 2009 | Comments

Among the 134 actors, directors, producers, technicians, and executives invited to join the ranks of Hollywood’s elite Academy of Motion Picture Art & Sciences today were actors Viola Davis, Melissa Leo, Emile Hirsch, Michelle Williams, and Casey Affleck, directors Rod Lurie and Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, and Milk screenwriter Dustin Lance Black — filmmakers known largely for their dramatic contributions who had earned awards season kudos, nominations, or Oscar wins last year. (See the full list below.) So is it surprising that the Academy extended invites to comedy performers like Seth Rogen, Paul Rudd, Michael Cera, and Madea Goes to Jail actor/director Tyler Perry?

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Considering the Academy’s recent decision to expand the Best Picture category from five nominees to ten (ostensibly opening the race up to include not only drama but comedy and other genres), the list of invitees isn’t wholly surprising. Although Cera, Rogen, and Rudd are best known for comedy films — especially comedy films made by Judd Apatow, who joined the Academy in 2008 after being rejected the year prior — they’ve all been in Oscar-nominated films (Cera in 2007’s Juno, Rogen in 2008’s Kung Fu Panda, Rudd in 1999’s The Cider House Rules). What’s more, all three have become, in the age of the schlubby/awkward/geeky protagonist, leading men.

That Apatow magic cannot be denied, at least if the Academy wants to broaden their gaze and lose its perceived reputation as a stuffy bunch who only honor serious dramatic films. As for Tyler Perry…there’s no denying Perry has created a niche for himself, mostly with comedy films starring his stage-to-screen character, Madea. But without a single Fresh film in his career filmography (save his cameo in JJ Abrams’ Star Trek), even we admit, we’re stumped.

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But I digress. In the very first year of the Academy Awards, there were two Best Director categories: one for drama, and one for comedy. Since then the division was scrapped, but comedy pictures could still vie for consideration; It Happened One Night won five Oscars including Best Picture in 1934. Woody Allen’s Annie Hall won the top honor (along with Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay) in 1977. Apatow’s upcoming comedy Funny People has earned the beginnings of pre-release Oscar buzz; could 2009 be the year the Hollywood comedy returns triumphantly to the Academy Awards?

Below, peruse the full list of Academy of Motion Picture Art & Sciences membership invitees.

Actors
Casey Affleck
Emily Blunt
Michael Cera
Viola Davis
James Franco
Brendan Gleeson
Anne Hathaway
Taraji P. Henson
Emile Hirsch
Hugh Jackman
Melissa Leo
Jane Lynch
Eddie Marsan
James McAvoy
Seth Rogen
Paul Rudd
Amy Ryan
Michael Shannon
Michelle Williams
Jeffrey Wright

Directors
Rachid Bouchareb
Danny Boyle
David Frankel
Rod Lurie
Thomas McCarthy
Tyler Perry
Henry Selick

Writers
John August
Dustin Lance Black
Courtney Hunt
Howard A. Rodman

Animators
J.J. Blumenkranz
Konstantin Bronzit
Kendal Cronkhite
Rodolphe Guenoden
Byron Howard
Kunio Kato
Doug Sweetland
Chris Williams

Art Directors
Andrew Ackland-Snow

At-Large
Matthew D. Loeb
Redmond Morris

Casting Directors
John Papsidera
Bernie Telsey

Cinematographers
Russ T. Alsobrook
Anthony Dod Mantle
Henner Hofmann
Claudio Miranda
Rodney Taylor
Mandy Walker

Costume Designers
Deborah Hopper
Louise Mingenbach
Michael O’Connor
Michael Wilkinson

Documentary
William Gazecki
Rachel Grady
Rory Kennedy
Scott Hamilton Kennedy
James Marsh
Megan Mylan
Doug Pray

Executives
Daniel D.A. Battsek
Steve Beeks
Graham W. Burke
Joe Drake
Erik Feig
Paul Hanneman
Donald P. Harris
Claudia Lewis

Film Editors
Roger Barton
Hank Corwin
Chris Dickens
Elliot Graham
Kathryn Himoff
Leo Trombetta
Brent White
Pam Wise

Live Action Short Films
Reto Caffi
Jochen Alexander Freydank
F. Carter Pilcher

Makeup and Hairstylists
Howard Berger
Mike Elizalde
Louis Lazzara
Gerald Quist
Music
Jeff Danna
Andrew Dorfman
Peter Gabriel
Clint Mansell
A.R. Rahman

Producers
Mark Ciardi
Christian Colson
Gordon Gray
Broderick Johnson
Cathy Konrad
Andrew Kosove
James Lassiter
Russell Smith
Paula Wagner

Production Designers
Donald Graham Burt
Michael Carlin
Jane Ann Stewart
Kevin Thompson

Public Relations
Michael D. Camp
Marc Cohen
Megan Colligan
James C. Gallagher
David Kaminow
Sal Ladestro
Maria Pekurovskaya
Elizabeth Petit

Set Decorators
Rebecca Alleway
Peter Lando
Barbara Munch-Cameron
Scenic Artists
Robert Topol

Sound
Michael Barry
Derek Casari
Aaron Glascock
Ren Klyce
Peter F. Kurland
Karen Baker Landers
Hamilton Sterling
Deborah Wallach
Kim Waugh

Visual Effects
Christopher Bond
Matthew Butler
Chris Corbould
Rob Engle
Scott Gordon
Hal Hickel
Van Ling
Shane Mahan
Steve Preeg
Tim Webber
Edson Williams

[Which invitees were you most surprised to see, happy to see, or confused by? Create your own list in our Community beta section and link to it in a comment below.]

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