Continuing the trend of extending Academy membership to a global set of professionals, this year’s list includes five Nigerians from across fields.
By Mariam Abdullahi
Funke Akindele (of ‘Jenifa’ and ‘Omo Ghetto’ fame), alongside Hollywood greats like Anya Taylor-Joy, singer Billie Eilish, and Disney exec Dana Walden are among the 397 artists and executives invited to join the membership of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. If all of this year’s invitees accept membership, it will bring the total number of Academy members to 10,665, with 9,665 eligible to vote for the 95th Oscars set to take place on March 12, 2023.
Joining Akindele and co. on the prestigious list, are four other Nigerians, namely Newton Aduaka (an England-based, Nigerian-born filmmaker), Blessing Egbe (an actress and writer), Daniel K. Daniel (US-based actor), as well as another US-based invitee called Josiah Akinyele (famous in the industry as ‘The Hardest Working Agent in Showbiz’).
The 2022 class is 44% women, 37% belong to underrepresented ethnic/racial communities, and 50% are from 53 countries and territories outside the United States. There are 71 Oscar nominees, including 15 winners, among the invitees. Academy membership is limited to film artists working in the production of theatrically-released motion pictures.
The academy has 17 branches ranging from actors, writers, and two categories that involve members-at-large and associates to accommodate individuals who have no defined branches in motion picture production.
MJ biopic director ‘blown away’ by Jaafar Jackson’s resemblance to late uncle
Director Antoine Fuqua is teasing ‘Michael’, the Michael Jackson biopic he is set to work on and says he’s “blown” away by the “uncanny” resemblance between the lead star and his real-life uncle, the King of Pop.
Jaafar Jackson, who is the son of Michael’s brother Jermaine Jackson, will play the iconic singer in the Lionsgate biopic.
“It’s uncanny how much he’s like Michael,” Fuqua told EW in a recent interview. “Sounds like him, dances like him, sings. It’s really uncanny. Graham King, who is a fantastic producer, found him, and introduced him to me, and I was blown away.”
Although the film is on hold due to the writers and actors strike, Fuqua said the biopic will retell Michael’s story “as we know it” and would tackle some of the controversies the singer was involved in during his lifetime.
“Just to tell the facts as we know it, about the artist, about the man, about the human being. You know, the good, bad, and the ugly,” Fuqua added.
‘Michael’ will be directed by Fuqua with a script from John Logan. Graham King is set as a producer, who was behind the Freddy Mercury Queen story of Bohemian Rhapsody. GK Films will produce alongside the co-executors of Jackson’s estate, John Branca and John McClain.
#QuickReview: Is ‘Justice League: Warworld’ worth a watch?
One thing longtime fans of DC have come to count on is that while the company spent the last ten years floundering around in a pool of confusion, their animated films rarely, if ever, miss. Justice League Warworld continues to lend credence to this argument, though not in a particularly new, unique, or memorable way.
Here’s the premise: The big three (Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman) are scattered across time by some phenomenon they do not understand. They have no memories of who they are or how they got there, but they know they have to consistently ‘keep moving’.
Wonder Woman visits a wild western town in which a distinct DC anti-hero rules with an iron fist. Batman is stuck in a prehistoric world, complete with dinosaurs and warlords and warrior women. And then, the big three reunite at the end for what starts as a ‘mystery-in-a-diner’ noir-esque story that sort of explains what’s been happening but does nothing with that revelation.
The big three reunite at the end for what starts as a ‘mystery-in-a-diner’ noir-esque story that sort of explains what’s been happening but does nothing with that revelation.
But there’s a lot to root for in this film: the voice cast is splendid, with Jensen Ackles playing Batman, Darren Criss as Superman, Stana Katic as Wonder Woman, Troy Baker as Jonah Hex, and so on. Somehow Ackles has avoided the Conroy comparisons (probably because he started voicing Batman before Conroy passed) so far, and in a good way.
The art style stays within the confines of the Tomorrowverse comfortably, and the animation looks great and fluid. The action sequences leave quite a bit to be desired, though, with Batman going through the motions and forgetting what makes him such a much-revered hand-to-hand fighter. The heroes also act out of character a number of times, Batman leaving someone who just freed him to die, and Superman being quite thick-headed and missing several obvious clues.
The heroes also act out of character a number of times, Batman leaving someone who just freed him to die, and Superman being quite thick-headed and missing several obvious clues.
Still, the biggest letdown is the fact that the movie ends, but there’s no resolution. It rather spends the climax setting up a sequel, which may be the just-announced Crisis on Infinite Earths. The movie skimps on the emotional satisfaction that comes with a perfectly-landed climax and instead jerks the audience away on the ‘something-bigger-approaches’ segue. It feels as though the ending was changed just before it left the cutting room. Still, ‘Justice League: Warworld’ is worth a watch.
How John Boyega introduced Harrison Ford to Nigerian food
While hyping his snazzy new sci-fi thriller, ‘They Cloned Tyrone’ (Netflix), John Boyega also dropped some choice nuggets of info, including details of a day during the production of one of the Star Wars films, when he and co-star Harrison Ford ditched security to sample Nigerian cuisine, taking a drive along one of South London’s most famous roads.
Describing a tense day of shoots aboard the Millennium Falcon and strict dieting, Harrison popped by and asked: “Hey, kid. I want to eat something that’s gonna be a little different. If you can take me to a restaurant, that would be great.” The duo left Pinewood Studios, where they were filming ‘The Force Awakens’ and headed to Old Kent Road’s West African-themed restaurant, ‘805’ after Ford shook off his security.
The Indiana Jones legend topped off the Nigerian experience by falling asleep after the meal on the car ride back.
Boyega describes Ford as going beyond the often-introductory jollof rice, and going on to polish off plates of “Amala, Ewedu, pounded yam and Egusi,” described as the food of his forefathers. The Indiana Jones legend topped off the Nigerian experience by falling asleep after the meal on the car ride back. (Editor’s note: It’s probably the pounded yam)
Boyega ended his story by posing a question to the retired Indiana Jones actor: “When’s the Nollywood debut?”