Oscar winners Jean Dujardin and Octavia Spencer among 176 invited to join Academy

On Friday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the names of the “176 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures” and have been invited to join this club that numbers just under 6,000 members. (See full list here.) 

As always, there are some surprises about who made the cut and revelations about who did not already belong to AMPAS.

Gone are the days when Oscar nominees automatically became academy members. Two of this year’s four acting champs — Jean Dujardin (“The Artist”) and Octavia Spencer (“The Help”) –prevailed without being able to vote for themselves but have now been asked to join the academy.

Six of the other 2011 acting nominees were also invited: Berenice Bejo (“The Artist”), Demian Bichir (“A Good Life”), Jessica Chastain (“The Help”), Jonah Hill (“Moneyball”), Melissa McCarthy (“Bridesmaids”) and Janet McTeer (“Albert Nobbs”).

McTeer was a 1999 Best Actress nominee for “Tumbleweeds.” Someone who had to wait even longer than her to be invited is Tom Berenger who was a 1987 Supporting Actor contender for “Platoon.”

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Among the 11 directors invited were this year’s winner, Michel Hazanavicius (“The Artist”), as well as rival nominee Terrence Malick (“The Tree of Life”). 

It is not surprising that Kristen Wiig, who reaped a screenplay bid for “Bridesmaids,” was invited by the Writers’ Branch. That 2002 Original Screenplay nominee Nia Vardalos (“My Big Fat Greek Wedding”) had to wait a decade to be asked and then by the Actors Branch is an eye-opener. Also a shocker is the invite to prolific novelist Stephen King who has all of three screenplay credits, the last of which was “Pet Sematary” in 1989. 

Others who had to wait till they won an Oscar before being invited to join the academy include this year’s Original Score champ Ludovic Bource (“The Artist”), cutter Kirk Baxter, who won Editing both last year (“The Social Network”) and this (“The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo”) and Mark Coulier, Makeup winner for “The Iron Lady.” 

This incoming roster of talent will be feted by the academy at a reception in September. 

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