Actor and director Wayne Blair and producers Rosemary Blight, Kylie du Fresne and Darren Dale are among the Australians that have been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).
Other invitees include VFX artists Genevieve Camilleri and Matt Everitt, who were nominated for an Oscar this year for their work on Love and Monsters, costume designer Margot Wilson and composer Amanda Brown.
Joining the short film and animation branch is Charles Williams, whose All These Creatures won the Cannes Film Festival Short Film Palme d’Or in 2018.
This year the Oscars body invited 395 new members from 50 countries. Forty-six per cent of all invitees identify as women, while 39 per cent are from underrepresented ethnic/racial communities. More than half (53 per cent) come from outside the United States. Some 25 are Oscar winners, and 89 nominees.
Blair has been invited to join the directing branch, recognising his work in helming features such as Top End Wedding and The Sapphires.
The producers behind both projects, Goalpost Pictures partners Blight and du Fresne, are invited to the producing branch. The company’s other recent films include The Invisible Man and I Am Woman.
“We couldn’t be more delighted to be invited to join this worldwide community of filmmakers. It’s humbling and gratifying to be recognised for our body of work at Goalpost,” the pair told IF.
Joining the duo in the branch is Blackfella Films co-managing director Dale, whose film credits include documentaries Deep Water: The True Story and The Tall Man.
“It is such a thrill and privilege to be asked to join the Academy, with its illustrious membership of industry practitioners I have admired and been inspired by throughout my career,” he tells IF.
“I feel particularly honoured to be joining friends and First Nations trailblazers Taika Waititi, Heather Rae and Bird Runningwater who, amongst many others, have been working so tirelessly to bring the stories of First Nations people to global audiences.”
Brown, whose work on Babyteeth won her last year’s AACTA for Best Original Score, will join the composers branch.
Her other recent credits include Brazen Hussies, for which she also won an AACTA, and the upcoming feature doc Step Into Paradise, produced by Dale, and film Here Out West.
Brown, put forward to AMPAS by English composer Gary Yershon, tells IF to be invited is “one of those lovely surprises that do not happen very often in life”.
“At first I wondered, why was a respected British composer from the other side of the world contacting me about being represented in the Academy? I did naturally wonder if there was a ‘token’ element to it; obviously there was a broad push to diversify the Academy in terms of gender and ethnicity. I wasn’t sure how I felt about that at first. Then I thought, ‘Well, you know what? It’s an organisation that has acknowledged that it needs to change, and a seat at the table is not to be sneezed at.’
“I‘m really looking forward to seeing what it all entails. I feel really proud to be in the company of some absolutely fantastic composers. I’m stoked to be in the same list as Janet Jackson!”
Wilson, whose celebrated work spans films like The Nightingale, The Dressmaker, Bran Nue Dae, Japanese Story, Lantana and The Thin Red Line, will join the costume designer branch.
Camilleri, who currently works for Fin Design in Sydney, and Everitt Mr. X in Adelaide, will join the visual effects branch. They were the Mr X VFX supervisor and Mr. X animation supervisor on Love and Monsters respectively.
Kiwis invited include casting director Liz Mullane, producer Ainsley Gardiner, and documentary editor Maya Daisy Hawke.
View full list here.