Movie news: Oscars, Ant–Man, & Justice League

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Diversifies Its Membership

OscarsSoWhite took the news by storm in the weeks following the nominations for the 88th Academy Awards. The smoke has slightly cleared since, but, in the shadow of such focus, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took swift action to shine a light on the problem. In a unanimous vote, the Academy’s Board of Governors changed the way members are selected in an effort to diversify its voting block. The Academy stated in a press release:

“Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade. In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award.” Additionally, the Academy added three new seats on its Board of Governors, to be nominated by the President and confirmed by the Board, and updated its recruitment efforts across the globe to find new, qualified, diverse, people to add to its membership.

In subsequent material, the Academy clarified some of the release’s more vague points. How does the Academy define “active in motion pictures?” This question was answered with the statement,“You must be employed in the same kinds of quality films that got you into the Academy in the first place. Your status will be assessed by your peers in your branch — the people who best understand the intricacies of the motion picture industry and your field.” The material explains that screen credit is not required for membership and work does not have to be restricted to one field (i.e. an actor could sell a script or an editor can direct, and is all considered “activity” in the movie business, thus qualifying for membership).

This is a step in the right direction for the Academy. Though I do not anticipate it solving the larger issue of diversity absence in Hollywood, I see this as an ambitious step forward by an organization that prides itself on tradition.

The 88th Academy Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, will air on Feb. 28 on ABC.

Adam McKay On Ant-Man Sequel and Solo Wasp Film

Writer/Director Adam McKay is on a hot streak coming out of 2015. The Big Short is nominated for Best Picture, McKay is nominated for Best Director, and his co-written screenplay for Ant-Man was surprisingly well received. With the announcement of a sequel, Ant-Man and the Wasp, McKay sat down with IGN to discuss the upcoming film.
“…I’ve been talking to Peyton Reed and to [Paul] Rudd, but you know Marvel has a process that they do, so they may have other writers working on a script — the only thing I tell ‘em is ‘If you need me, I’m here.’ I love working on those — it’s really fun. It was also very fun just writing. And fortunately we had a great director in Peyton Reed, so we wrote all this crazy stuff and then he did it really well. I was like ‘I could get used to this!’ It’s certainly a lot easier — I just showed up at the premiere and was like ‘Good job!,” McKay said.

The Wasp was teased at the conclusion of Ant-Man and Marvel has been integrating new characters into their universe with Vision, Black Panther and Doctor Strange up first. It only makes sense to ask about a Wasp standalone film in Marvel’s future.

“Possibly. I think it all depends on this sequel and how the character plays. Certainly there’s a lot of female superheroes in the Marvel universe, so I’m sure you’re going to see them start to spread out. They sort of started with their kind of bedrock characters from the 60s and the 70s and I think you saw more of an explosion of female characters happening in the 80s and then the 90s. X-Men obviously has great female characters, but that’d be interesting, a Wasp movie… I always think of the two of them as kind of together — they always were in the comics — but why not? Sure.,” McKay said.

McKay seems either out of the loop or hysterically elusive about the future plans for the characters. If I had to put money on it, I’d say a standalone Wasp film is on the “Maybe” list at Marvel. McKay is exactly right; if the character pops up in Ant-Man and the Wasp, chances for a standalone will skyrocket.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is set for release on July 6, 2018, directed by Peyton Reed and starring Paul Rudd and Evangeline Lilly.

Zack Snyder On Wonder Woman In New DC Cinematic Universe

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is the first time Batman and Superman will be on screen together, but director Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. are pushing the envelope even further by including the most powerful female character ever created: Wonder Woman. Now this is not news to anyone (she is featured in the most recent trailer), but the standalone Wonder Woman film, directed by Patty Jenkins, is currently in production. Snyder spoke with Empire Magazine regarding the introduction to the character:

“It was incredibly organic how Wonder Woman came into the story, the whole concept came of, ‘Let’s not save anything. Let’s try it all.’ Then Wonder Woman’s entrance made us realize we were much closer to the Justice League than we thought. We realized we were one movie away.”

Snyder expanded on the nature of the first theatrical adaptation of Princess Diana and gave some basic details on the upcoming film. “Her sexuality is part of her power, but she is also a feminist icon. Gender has been a hot topic, so it is very timely to bring her back. The way we have approached it, especially in the standalone movie, that is definitely there. Looking back and doing an origin story — and it is a period piece — see the role of women through history. There is a great source of humor in that now. It is so unbelievable you can’t even fathom it. You are still making a statement, but having some fun with it.”

It has been reported that Wonder Woman has a very small role in Batman v. Superman, so audiences will most likely require a true origin story. Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will release on March 25, 2016. Wonder Woman is slated to hit theaters on June 23, 2017.