Yalitza Aparicio Among the Latino Professionals Invited to Join The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS)

Yalitza Aparicio’s joining The Academy

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has released its annual list of invitations to join the organization, with the 26-year-old Mexican actress and UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Indigenous Peoples among the 819 extended an invite.

Yalitza Aparicio

Aparicio, one of Time magazine’s100 most influential people in the world in 2019,earned an Oscar nod in the Best Actress category for her performance in Alfonso Cuarón‘s 2018 Spanish-language drama Roma. With the nomination for her actig debut, she became the first Indigenous American woman and the second Mexican woman to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination.

But Aparcio isn’t the only Latino/a to make the list…

Other invitees in the Actors branch include Bobby Cannavale, who appeared in The IrishmanOverboard’s Eva LongoriaKnives Out star Ana de Armas and Gringo actor Yul Vazquez.

Invitees in the Music branch include Andrea Guerra (Hotel Rwanda) and Cuban-American jazz trumpeter Arturo Sandoval, who worked on the music for Clint Eastwood’s films Richard Jewell and The Mule.

The Directors branch sent out invitations to Latino filmmakers Icíar Bolláin (Spanish), Felipe Cazals (Mexican), Sebastián Cordero (Ecuadorian), Luis Estrada (Mexican), Alejandro Landes (Colombian-Ecuadorian),Jorge Alí Triana (Colombian) and  Andrés Wood (Chilean).

This year’s new class demonstrates The Academy’s commitment to erasing the stigma of not being inclusive, particularly in terms of women, international members and underrepresented ethnic/racial communities.

The organization reports this year’s class breakdown is 49% international, 45% women, and 36% underrepresented ethnic/racial. 

The overwhelming number of those invited to join the Academy end up accepting. 

The total active membership in 2019 was 8,946, with 8,733 eligible to vote. Total membership including active, voting and retired was 9,794.  Today’s additions will take the membership count past the 10,000 mark.

AMPAS says members can voluntarily  disclose their race/ethnicity, sex or can choose “prefer not to.” So, demo stats may not be 100% accurate. AMPAS also “recognizes and respects” the personal choice in identification, but doesn’t track LGBTQ+ or differently abled, although a source says, while protecting privacy and not forcing answers, they are “working towards it.” In other words this is no longer your father’s Academy.

 “We take great pride in the strides we have made in exceeding our initial inclusion goals set back in 2016, but acknowledge the road ahead is a long one,” said Academy CEO Dawn Hudson. “We are committed to staying the course.”

“The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences.  We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now,” said Academy President David Rubin.

Here’s a look at some of this year’s Latino invitees:

Actors
Yalitza Aparicio – “Roma”
Bobby Cannavale – “The Irishman,” “The Station Agent”
Ana de Armas – “Knives Out,” “Blade Runner 2049”
Eva Longoria – “Overboard,” “Harsh Times”
Yul Vazquez – “Gringo,” “Last Flag Flying”

Casting Directors
Libia Batista – “Eres Tú Papá?,” “Viva”
Javier Braier – “The Two Popes,” “Wild Tales”
Eva Leira – “Pain and Glory,” “Biutiful”
Yesi Ramirez – “The Hate U Give,” “Moonlight”
Yolanda Serrano – “Pain and Glory,” “Biutiful”

Cinematographers
Óscar Faura – “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” “The Imitation Game”

Directors
Icíar Bolláin – “Even the Rain,” “Take My Eyes”
Felipe Cazals – “El Año de la Peste,” “Canoa: A Shameful Memory”
Sebastián Cordero – “Europa Report,” “Crónicas”
Luis Estrada – “The Perfect Dictatorship,” “Herod’s Law”
Alejandro Landes – “Monos,” “Porfirio”
Jorge Alí Triana – “Bolívar Soy Yo,” “A Time to Die”
Andrés Wood – “Araña,” “Violeta Went to Heaven”

Documentary
Cristina Amaral – “Um Filme de Verão (A Summer Film),” “Person”
Violeta Ayala – “Cocaine Prison,” “The Bolivian Case”
Julia Bacha – “Naila and the Uprising,” “Budrus”
Almudena Carracedo – “The Silence of Others,” “Made in L.A.”
Paola Castillo – “Beyond My Grandfather Allende,” “Genoveva”
Paz Encina – “Memory Exercises,” “Paraguayan Hammock”
Mariana Oliva – “The Edge of Democracy,” “Piripkura”
Iván Osnovikoff – “Los Reyes,” “La Muerte de Pinochet (The Death of Pinochet)”
Tiago Pavan – “The Edge of Democracy,” “Olmo and the Seagull”
Bettina Perut – “Los Reyes,” “La Muerte de Pinochet (The Death of Pinochet)”
Marta Rodriguez – “Our Voice of Earth, Memory and Future,” “Campesinos (Peasants)”

Executives
Ozzie Areu
Barbara Peiro
Frank Rodriguez
Mimi Valdes

Film Editors
Alejandro Carrillo Penovi – “Heroic Losers,” “The Clan”
Alex Marquez – “Snowden,” “Savages”

Makeup Artists and Hairstylists
Mari Paz Robles – “I Dream in Another Language,” “Cantinflas”
David Ruiz Gameros – “Tear This Heart Out,” “Amores Perros”
Susana Sánchez – “The Liberator,” “Goya’s Ghosts”

Marketing and Public Relations
Inma Carbajal-Fogel
Emmanuelle Castro
Fernando Garcia
Dustin M. Sandoval

Music
Andrea Guerra – “The Pursuit of Happyness,” “Hotel Rwanda”
Arturo Sandoval – “Richard Jewell,” “The Mule”

Producers
Edher Campos – “Sonora, the Devil’s Highway,” “The Golden Dream”
Nicolas Celis – “Roma,” “Tempestad”
Alex Garcia – “Kong: Skull Island,” “Desierto”
Enrique López Lavigne – “The Impossible,” “Sex and Lucia”
Álvaro Longoria – “Everybody Knows,” “Finding Altamira”
Mónica Lozano – “I Dream in Another Language,” “Instructions Not Included”
Gabriela Maire – “Las Niñas Bien (The Good Girls),” “La Caridad (Charity)”
Luis Manso – “Champions,” “Binta and the Great 
Gabriela Rodríguez – “Roma,” “Gravity”
Mar Targarona – “Secuestro (Boy Missing),” “The Orphanage”
Luis Urbano – “Letters from War,” “Tabu”

Production Design
Sandra Cabriada – “Instructions Not Included,” “The Mexican”
Estefanía Larraín – “A Fantastic Woman,” “Neruda”

Short Films and Feature Animation
José David Figueroa García – “Perfidia,” “Ratitas”
Oscar Grillo – “Monsters, Inc.,” “Monsieur Pett”
Otto Guerra – “City of Pirates,” “Wood & Stock: Sexo, Orégano e Rock’n’Roll”
Isabel Herguera – “Winter Love,” “Under the Pillow”
Summer Joy Main-Muñoz – “Don’t Say No,” “La Cerca”
Juan Pablo Zaramella – “Luminaris,” “The Glove”

Sound
David Esparza – “The Magnificent Seven,” “The Equalizer”

Visual Effects
Leandro Estebecorena – “The Irishman,” “Kong: Skull Island”

Members-at-Large
Daniel Molina
Carlos Morales
Jesse Torres

Luisa Lopez Releases Noir-Flavored Video for “They Ain’t Gonna See Me Coming: An American Western”

Luisa Lopezis going West-ern

The Latina singer/songwriter has released the latest track from her album, 45, “They Ain’t Gonna See Me Coming: An American Western.” And she’s sharing the noir-flavored video exclusively on Billboard.com.

Luisa Lopez

Lopez, who recently relocated to Nashville from Houston, opened up about the song’s first-person perspective.

“I’m a big fan of storytelling, and I loveJohnny Cash‘s murder ballad kind of thing,” she tells Billboard. “I just gave a lot of thought to what is it that’s going on in people’s brains? What kind of state of mind do you have to be in to take it upon yourself to go murder your neighbors? You make all this effort to plan and plot and take out people’s lives. What would make someone make that kind of plan? I think it’s so dark and it’s weird ’cause you’re saying these things, and it seems like it’s coming from you.”

The song’s video, meanwhile, juxtaposes shots of Lopez performing with gritty footage of the presumed killer preparing for action. 

“It shows the attentiveness and the coldness in which people finish out their plans,” Lopez explains. “I don’t think anybody can get out of the song that I’m celebrating it. I think of it like when you hear Johnny Cash say, ‘I shot a man in Reno to watch him die.’ I think there’s kind of touching the sun aspect to it.”

Lopez has her own take on contemporary gun violence too. As “They Won’t See Me Coming’s” subtitle indicates, she considers it a manifestation of Western film and literary culture, the shoot-first philosophy that made stars out of the likes of John WayneGary Cooperand Clint Eastwood.

“This is a revered kind of thing; The good guys andthe bad guys ride into town and take people’s lives,” Lopez explains. “People think that’s so awesome, but actually it has consequences, and we’re seeing this now. These guys do think they’re the good guys, the white supremacists who roll into churches, even the folks who did the San Bernardino shooting or the guy who went down to the Orlando nightclub … They had in their minds they were doing something righteous. It’s bizarre and it’s out of hand, but it doesn’t feel that far away from what we glorify in those [Western] movies.”

“They Ain’t Gonna See Me Coming” is one of several socially conscious songs on 45, which came out May 31 — titled for the age when she began writing its eight tracks — and marked a sea change for Lopez, topically.  “I think of it as a social commentary album,” says Lopez, who performed a show for the ACLU this year. 

The new focus has grown on Lopez, and she says she’s looking forward to playing the songs more on the road during the charged election year of 2020.

“This is my first time ever being this way,” Lopez says. “That album just rolled out of me. I think I’m finding my place in the music, in the social commentary and in the political arena. I don’t think my songs are very political; I try to tell these stories on purpose. If you live in Nashville long enough you end up rubbing elbows with some really amazing, Grammy Award-winning artists. One of them said he thought there was a lot more life in 45— not the president, but my album. And I like that.”

Riggen to Direct the Faith-Based Drama “Miracles From Heaven”

It’s special miracle for Patricia Riggen

The 44-year-old Mexican film director has sealed a deal to direct Sony Pictures’ faith-based drama Miracles From Heaven. 

Patricia Riggen

Riggen’s project is an adaptation of Miracles From Heaven: A Sick Little Girl, Her Journey to Heaven, and the Lives Forever Changed, the book by Christy Beam that will go on sale April 14.

Beam’s memoir centers on her daughter, who miraculously overcame an incurable, life-threatening digestive disorder. After she was dramatically rescued from a near-death experience, a stunning series of miracles unfolded that left her family, her medical doctors and community baffled. Beam lived in Texas when the incidents occurred, and her family belongs to the Alsbury Baptist Church.

Randy Brown, who wrote Clint Eastwood‘s Trouble With the Curve, penned the script.

The studio is expected to release the film in spring 2016 through its TriStar Pictures releasing label, the same label that released the faith-based hit Heaven Is for Real.

Riggen directed the critically acclaimed film Under the Same Moon (La Misma Luna), as well as the Disney Channel movie Lemonade Mouth.

She most recently helmed the upcoming film The 33, which tells of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days and is based on the book Deep Down Dark written by Hector Tobar.

Gallegos’ “American Sniper” Breaks All-Time Christmas Day Record at the Box Office

It’s a very Merry Christmas for Reynaldo Gallegos

The Latino actor’s latest film project, American Sniper, has launched impressively in its Christmas Day debut.

Reynaldo Gallegos

Warner Bros.’ “Sniper,” starring Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller, has a stellar performance with $240,212 at four venues — breaking the all-time record for a limited release under 10 screens on Christmas Day.

It played in Dallas, Los Angeles and New York.

Clint Eastwood directed the R-rated American Sniper from a script by Jason Hall, based on Chris Kyle’s autobiography about his tour of duty in Iraq and his struggles as a father and husband.

Warner Bros. will expand American Sniper into a nationwide release on January 16 — the day after Oscar nominations are announced.

Gallegos stars as Tony in the film.

His previous credits include Gang Related, Sons of Anarchy, 24, Prison Break, NYPD Blue, Castle, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and NCIS: Los Angeles.

 

His feature film credits include Bad Boys II, Rambo 4 and  Spider-Man 3.

Isaac Named This Season’s Best Actor by the National Board of Review

It’s a most memorable year for Oscar Isaac

The National Board of Review has bestowed its Best Actor honors to the 33-year-old Guatemalan and Cuban American actor for his performance in J.C. Chandor’s A Most Violent Year.

Oscar Isaac in A Most Violent Year

The crime drama about thuggish New Jersey-New York oil cartels was also chosen as the Best Film of 2014.

Isaac tied with Birdman star Michael Keaton for the Best Actor honors.

Clint Eastwood was named Best Director for American Sniper, his biopic of Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

In all, A Most Violent Year grabbed three awards, including Best Supporting Actress for Jessica Chastain.

A Most Violent Year is an exhilarating crime drama with a compelling story, outstanding performances and an elegant cinematic style,” National Board of Review president Annie Schulhof said in a statement. “J.C. Chandor has given us a new and provocative perspective on the American Dream.”

Established in 1909, the National Board of Review is a nonprofit organization comprising knowledgeable film enthusiasts, professionals, academics, young filmmakers and students. The group’s awards will be handed out January 6 at Cipriani 42nd Street in New York City. Lara Spencer will host the event.

Here’s the complete list of winners:

Best Film: A Most Violent Year
Best Director: Clint Eastwood, American Sniper
Best Actor (TIE): Oscar Isaac, A Most Violent Year; Michael Keaton, Birdman
Best Actress: Julianne Moore, Still Alice
Best Supporting Actor: Edward Norton, Birdman
Best Supporting Actress: Jessica Chastain, A Most Violent Year
Best Original Screenplay: Phil Lord & Christopher Miller, The Lego Movie
Best Adapted Screenplay: Paul Thomas Anderson, Inherent Vice
Best Animated Feature: How to Train Your Dragon 2
Breakthrough Performance:  Jack O’Connell, Starred Up & Unbroken
Best Directorial Debut:  Gillian Robespierre, Obvious Child
Best Foreign Language Film: Wild Tales
Best Documentary: Life Itself
William K. Everson Film History Award: Scott Eyman
Best Ensemble: Fury
Spotlight Award: Chris Rock for writing, directing and starring in Top Five
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Rosewater
NBR Freedom of Expression Award: Selma

Top Films
American Sniper
Birdman
Boyhood
Fury
Gone Girl
The Imitation Game
Inherent Vice
The Lego Movie
Nightcrawler
Unbroken 

Top 5 Foreign Language Films
Force Majeure
Gett: The Trial of Vivian Amsalem
Leviathan
Two Days, One Night
We Are the Best!

 Top 5 Documentaries
Art and Craft
Jodorowsky’s Dune
Keep On Keepin’ On
The Kill Team
Last Days in Vietnam

Top 10 Independent Films
Blue Ruin
Locke
A Most Wanted Man
Mr. Turner
Obvious Child
The Skeleton Twins
Snowpiercer
Stand Clear of the Closing Doors
Starred Up
Still Alice

Almodovar Receives France’s Prix Lumiere for His Lifetime Filmmaking Achievements

Pedro Almodóvar is beloved in France… And he has the prize to prove it!

The 65-year-old Spanish filmmaker has received the country’s Prix Lumiere for his lifetime filmmaking career.

Pedro Almodovar

Almodóvar was overcome by emotion during the tribute ceremony over the weekend, which was attended by members of the French film industry, as well as some of the actresses closest to him like Marisa Paredes, Rossy de Palma and Elena Anaya.

The ceremony ended with the 3,000 attendees packed into the Lyon Congress Center showing their devotion to the director, and at one point singing and dancing to “Resistire” by the Duo Dinamico.

Almodóvar closed the night’s moving festivities, which went on for more than two and a half hours, with a speech that, he said, he had prepared as if it were for a Nobel Prize and which he dedicated entirely to his mother.

Almodóvar, known for such films as Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, All About My Mother and Talk to Her, said that his use of “explosive and saturated” colors is his act of revenge for the more than 30 years his mother spent in the “imposed” black of mourning.

Among the film icons who came to honor him were Isabella Rossellini, Paolo Sorrentino, Berenice Bejo and Keanu Reeves.

French actress Juliette Binoche presented him with the prize while shouting “Merci!” which recalled Penelope Cruz’s famous cry of “Peeeedro!” when she announced that the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film went to All About My Mother in 2000.

The prize offered by the Lumiere Institute has paid tribute every year since 2009 to an international film personality. Previous recipients include Clint Eastwood, Milos Forman, Gerard Depardieu, Ken Loach and Quentin Tarantino.

The next day, on Saturday, Almodovar announced that he has begun pre-production for his next film and that on Monday he will begin finding locations for the shoot, but specified it will take place “in various points around Spain’s geography, as well as in Madrid.”

“About the rest, the actors and other details, we’ll have time to talk about that in the coming months,” Almodovar said, after confessing that his visit to the Lumiere Festival has been a “delightful pause” in his new moviemaking project.

Gloria & Emilio Estefan to Appear at This Year’s Tony Awards

Emilio and Gloria Estefan may be bringing their life story to The Great White Way in the near future… But first they’ll be appearing as part of Broadway’s biggest night.

The Estefans will be appearing at this year’s Tony Awards.

Gloria Estefan Emilio Estefan

In addition to the multi-Grammy winning musicians and producers, the upcoming ceremony, honoring the best of Broadway will also feature appearances by Bradley Cooper, Kevin Bacon, Carole King, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Will Ferrell, Liev Schreiber, Emmy Rossum, Kate Mara, Zachary Quinto, Zachary Levi, Lucy Liu, Clint Eastwood, Patricia Clarkson, Leighton Meester, Ethan Hawke, Zach Braff, Matt Bomer, Anna Gunn, Tony nominee Audra McDonald, Fran Drescher, Wayne Brady, Kenneth Branagh, Tony Goldwyn, Vera Farmiga and Alessandro Nivola, it was announced Tuesday.

Hugh Jackman will hosted this year’s show.

The 68th annual Tony Awards, presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, will broadcast live from New York City’s Radio City Music Hall on June 8 on CBS.

Gallegos to Star in Clint Eastwood’s New Film “American Sniper”

Rey Gallegos is getting Clint Eastwood’s SEAL of approval…

The Latino actor, one of the stars of Fox’s upcoming action-drama Gang Related, has joined the cast of the legendary actor-turned-director’s latest film American Sniper.

Rey Gallegos

Starring Bradley Cooper as decorated marksman Chris Kyle, the film is based on Kyle’s memoir American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History.

Gallegos will portray Tony, chief of a U.S. Navy SEALs team and one of the instructors during Kyle’s training.

In addition to Cooper and Gallegos, the film also stars Navid Negahban, Eric Close and Eric Ladin.

Filming on the Warner Bros. project is set to start at the end of March in Morocco.

Gallegos’ previous credits include appearances on Sons of Anarchy, Castle, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Saving Grace, Cold Case, 24 and Prison Break.

Bardem to Portray Spanish Conquistador Hernan Cortes on the Big Screen?

Javier Bardem could soon be experiencing Montezuma’s revenge…

The 44-year-old Spanish Oscar-winning actor has reportedly expressed interest in starring as Spanish explorer and conquistador Hernan Cortes, the man who caused the fall of the Aztec Empire, in the film Montezuma.

Javier Bardem

The film, one of Hollywood’s fabled projects that Steven Spielberg hopes to direct, will be rewritten and produced by Steve Zaillian, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Montezuma, explores the complicated relationship between Cortes and the Aztec emperor Montezuma.

Hernan Cortes

The original script was written in the 1960s by Dalton Trumbo, the screenwriter who was part of the Hollywood Ten and was blacklisted in the 1950s. It was intended to reteam the writer with star Kirk Douglas, who starred in Trumbo’s classic Spartacus.

The project fell by the wayside but now has found a home, decades later, with DreamWorks.

Spielberg has been looking for a project to direct since shelving Robopocalypse last year. He had intended to direct Bradley Cooper in American Sniper but parted ways with Warner Bros. over budgetary differences. (Clint Eastwood is now on board to direct that project, which should shoot this year.)

Spielberg is notorious for developing, some might even say overdeveloping, projects but not pulling the trigger. But Zaillian and Spielberg have a long history, and the two made Schindler’s List into a Oscar-winning hit. It is, however, unclear what other projects Spielberg is developing in addition to Montezuma that might vie for his attention.

Also unclear is where the project will ultimately land. DreamWorks has a first-look deal with Disney and its movies are released under the Touchstone label. Disney will get first crack at the project and if it passes, Fox could be a possible home as Zaillian and his shingle, Film Rites, have their first-look there.

Spalding to Replace Beyoncé in “A Star Is Born” Remake?

She beat out Justin Bieber for the Best New Artist award at the 53rd Grammy Awards… And, now Esperanza Spalding could be replacing Beyoncé on a highly anticipated big screen project.

Following Beyoncé’s recent exit as the lead in the Clint Eastwood-helmed remake of A Star Is Born, the Hollywood legendary actor/director is reportedly looking at the 27-year-old part-Mexican jazz singer to fill in the female lead role.

Esperanza Spalding

Beyoncé quit the project due to scheduling issues, which has opened the door to Spalding to sign on for her first-ever big screen role.

However, sources say that until a male lead is signed, no discussions or offers will be made with the female lead.

In the remake to the 1976 musical film, Beyoncé was set to tackle the character which was originally played by Barbra Streisand. When the “Crazy In Love” singer was pregnant with her first child, Warner Bros. Pictures postponed the production, which was expected to begin this past February.

The delay was seen as an opportunity to give the studio more time to find the lead actor. Leonardo DiCaprio, Christian Bale, Tom Cruise, Johnny Depp, Will Smith and most recently Bradley Cooper have been mentioned as the contenders, but no deal has been firmed up  of now.

The A Star Is Born remake promises an updated version of a romantic relationship between an alcoholic star on his way out and a young female artist on the rise.

Earlier this year, Spalding, who performed a moving rendition of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World,” released her follow up album entitled, Radio Music Society.