176 Join The Academy, Plus The Weekend's Specialty Openers: Biz Break

In Friday afternoon's round up of news, AMPAS picked a whole slew of new people to join their ranks of Oscar voters (many who were surprisingly not already members). Also there's highlights of this weekend's new specialty roll outs. Danny Boyle reaches out to PETA about the Olympics, Cee Lo Green boards Keira Knightley production and Lucky heads to the U.S.

Academy Taps 176 to Join Ranks
The folks behind the Oscars, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) have named 176 artists and executives to join their ranks. They will be among the eligible people who will vote come Oscar time. The membership to the organization has held steady at under 6,000 since 2003. Among the 176 are Jessica Chastain, Jean Dujardin (The Artist), Jonah Hill, Diego Luna (Y Tu Mama Tambien), Terrence Malick (The Tree of Life), Melissa McCarthy, Matthew McConaughey, Sam Rockwell, Andy Serkis, Octavia Spencer, Nia Vardalos (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), Lili Taylor, Kerry Washington, Wong Kar Wai (In the Mood for Love) and Michelle Yeoh.

The Undershepherd Wins American Black Film Festival
The 16th annual event opened with Beasts of the Southern Wild and closed with Raising Izzie. Among the festival's winners: The Undershepherd, which won Best Narrative Feature and Best Director for Russ Parr. Best Screenplay went to The Last Fall, written and directed by Matthew Cherry, while Keisha Taylor's Soul Food Junkies took Best Documentary. For more winners and festival highlights, visit their website.

Around the 'net…

New This Weekend: Beasts of the Southern Wild, Take This Waltz, Last Ride, Unforgivable
A long time in the making, Beasts Of The Southern Wild made a splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, taking the top prize and winning one of the top prizes in Cannes, and it’s hitting theaters this week. Australian feature The Last Ride traveled the festival circuit and it picked up a high-profile ally here. Take This Waltz is naturally getting attention courtesy of its star Michelle Williams and director Sarah Polley, while Venice-set Unforgivable is also hoping to ride the media wave to solid box office numbers this weekend, Deadline reports.

Danny Boyle Assures PETA Over Olympics Opener
12 horses, three cows, nine geese, two goats and 70 sheep are among the participants at the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics. Danny Boyle has reached out to alleviate concerns about the welfare of animals who will feature in his $42.4M show by promising to remove them from the stadium early and ensure they do not face a grisly end afterwards "Genuine care will be taken of the animals," he said. The Guardian reports.

Cee Lo Green Boards Can a Song Save Your Life?
He joins Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, Hailee Stanfied and Catherine Keener in which he'll play a very successful hip hop star. The film centers on a couple that moves to New York to pursue music. After Levine's character dumps Knightley's character, she encounters a down-on-his-luck record producer (Ruffalo) who assembles a ragtag music team to appear on a record with her, including Green's character Troublegum, Reuters reports.

Film Movements Gets Lucky
North American rights to South African drama Lucky are going to distributor Film Movement. The story revolves around an orphaned 10 year-old boy named Lucky who makes a promise to make something of himself and heads to the big city., Variety reports.



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