Apollonia Appears as Surprise Guest at AMPAS’ “Purple Rain: Celebration”

Apollonia has come out of mouring…

The 57-year-old Mexican American actress, singer, former model and talent manager made her first public appearance since the passing of Prince on Monday night at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater.


The occasion? Purple Rain: Celebration, a panel discussion/screening presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The evening’s surprise guest was joined by fellow cast members Jerome Benton and Jill Jones as well as the film’s writer/director Albert Magnoli, producer Robert Cavallo and costume designer Marie France.

Clips from the 57th Academy Awards — when Prince won the Oscar for original song score for Purple Rain — opened the evening.

Then noting that “not just a memory was being celebrated but also a milestone,” AMPAS president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced that the brand new 35mm optical stereo print being shown would be added to the Academy’s permanent collection. Also setting the tone: an array of brilliant portraits of Prince displayed in the outer lobby, taken over the years by his personal photographer Afshin Shahidi.

Writer/director Reginald Hudlin, who produced the 88th Academy Awards this year, and Grammy-winning composer/bass guitarist Marcus Miller, moderated the ensuing 90-minute conversation.

Swapping stories about everything from the film’s early beginnings to the 90 still unreleased songs out of the 100 Prince had for the soundtrack to the absurd suggestion that John Travolta portray Prince, the panelists drew plenty of ooh’s and raucous laughter:

“I was the last person they saw for the audition [to find the Vanity replacement]. [Actress] Nia Peeples had just walked out of the room. I walked in and they asked me to take my shoes off. I thought wow, they’re into feet. Later I learned they were flying me to Minneapolis to meet Prince, who takes me out for a ride in a purple limo. He was very reserved and shy. I’m like Chatty Cathy. The next day we do an audition at First Avenue. I wore black spandex and a metal mesh blouse. Later there’s a knock at my hotel door and it’s Chick [Charles ‘Big Chick’ Huntsberry] from his security team: “The kid likes you. Play it cool,” said Apollonia.

“Prince called me and sang several pieces of [‘When Doves Cry’] into my answering machine and said not to erase it. When he came to my apartment, he headed straight to my machine. I still have that tape,” she added.

Ferrera Among 683 Stars Invited to Become Members of The Academy

America Ferrera is joining the Academy…

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited a record 683 people to joins its ranks, including the 32-year-old Honduran American actress, more than double last year’s 322 invitees.

America Ferrera

Best known for her Golden Globe-, Screen Actors Guild Award and Emmy-winning role on ABC’s Ugly Betty, Ferrera has also starred in several acclaimed films including Real Women Have Curves, Under the Same Moon, End of Watch, Cesar Chavez and Lords of Dogtown.

The Academy was careful to include a breakdown by gender and race, with the new list comprising of 46% women, including Girl in Progess star Eva Mendes and Fast & Furious star Michelle Rodriguez, and 41% people of color, including Luis Guzman, Oscar Isaac and Spanish director J.A. Bayona.

“We’re proud to welcome these new members to the Academy and know they view this as an opportunity and not just an invitation — a mission and not just a membership,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement. “This class continues our long-term commitment to welcoming extraordinary talent reflective of those working in film today. We encourage the larger creative community to open its doors wider and create opportunities for anyone interested in working in this incredible and storied industry.”

The new invitees include 28 Oscar winners, range in age from 24 to 91 and represent 59 countries.


Other Latinos invited to join AMPAS include Enrique Castillo, Sal Lopez, Marisa Paredes, Jacob Vargas, Daphne Zuniga, Ciro Guerra and Nicole Garcia.


Check out the complete list here.

Nava to Serve as Writers Branch Governor for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences

Gregory Nava is ready to represent …

The 66-year-old Mexican/Spanish American film director, producer and screenplay writer has been appointed to serve a governor by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Gregory Nava

The Oscar-nominated scribe will serve as the governor of the Writers Branch.

Nava’s three-year term begins immediately.

“I’m proud of the steps we have taken to increase diversity,” said Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “However, we know there is more to do as we move forward to make this a more inclusive organization.”

The 51-member board of governors also appointed additional Academy members to each of the six Board committees that provide oversight to specific Academy areas: actor Gael García Bernal (Awards and Events), cinematographer Amy Vincent (Preservation and History), producer Effie Brown (Museum), executive Marcus Hu and animator Floyd Norman (Education and Outreach), executive Vanessa Morrison (Finance) and producer Stephanie Allain (Membership and Administration).

The board also reaffirmed its January 21 resolution to make sure Academy voters are active in the motion picture industry, defining active voters as those who have worked in the motion picture industry in the last 10 years, have worked anytime during three 10-year periods whether consecutive or not or have won or been nominated for an Oscar. Starting this spring, the branch executive committees will meet every two years to review their members and determine any potential reclassifications. The committees also will adopt an appeals process for members who may lose their voting privileges.

Cuaron to Help Announce This Year’s Oscar Nominations Live

Alfonso Cuarón has a date with Oscar

The 53-year-old Mexican filmmaker, who picked up two Oscars for his acclaimed film Gravity last year, will preside over the live announcement of this week’s 87th Academy Award nominations on the morning of Thursday, January 15.

Alfonso Cuarón

Cuarón will be joined by JJ Abrams, Chris Pine and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs for the announcement.

For the first time nomimations in all 24 categories will be unveiled live as part of a format revamp: a two-part live news conference at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

At 5:30 AM PT, Cuarón and Abrams will announce the nominees in the following categories: Animated Feature Film, Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, Film Editing, Original Song, Production Design, Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing and Visual Effects.

At 5:38 AM PT, Pine and Boone Isaacs will take the stage to unveil the nominations for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Cinematography, Costume Design, Directing, Foreign Language Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Original Score, Adapted Screenplay, Original Screenplay and Best Picture.

“Each of the three years we’ve produced the show, we have attempted to refresh elements of the process and the telecast,” said Zadan and Meron in a release today. “This year, we’re honored to start a new tradition that celebrates the contributions of all the nominees by announcing all 24 categories. We’re thrilled that a distinguished actor and two world-class film directors are part of the initial launch.”