What do Paul Newman, Steven Spielberg, and Jennifer Aniston (pictured) have in common? Why, they’re all members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences! Or, at least, Aniston is about to join the two living legends, assuming she accepts the Academy’s invitation, which was made public yesterday. And she’s certainly not the only prospective newbie Oscar voter: Boldface names like Steve Carell, J.J. Abrams, Eddie Murphy, Aaron Eckhart, and Daniel Craig are also among the 115 folks on the list (which you can see here).
I don’t know if you can hear it from where you’re sitting, but the angel on my right shoulder is now shouting, “Good for them!” — while the devil on my left shoulder is grumbling, “Um, Jennifer Aniston? Steve Carell? C’mon, get real.” I’m really torn, PopWatchers! (I also probably need to see a shrink, or something.) I mean, I can’t argue with the tapping of recent winners like Michael Arndt (the writer of Little Miss Sunshine), William Monahan (the writer of The Departed), and Dreamgirls’ Jennifer Hudson (even though many of us have said in this here blog that we don’t expect to hear much from her again in movies). And I’m downright shocked that Christopher Plummer was never brought into Hollywood’s elite club. But, eh, really — Jennifer Aniston? She’s got an Emmy and is a really nice lady, but she hasn’t done a ton in film. Ditto Carell, who starred in one great flick, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, but yet to fully blossom on the big screen.
Don’t get me wrong: They’re both talented and charming. I’m just thinking that the Academy’s criteria for membership should consist of more than just popular appeal. Well, okay, that, and I’m also incredibly jealous of them. I admit it. (The devil is cheering, “Woot! Woot!” now.) You, too, huh? Yeah. So who else on the list gets your angel and devil going? Peter Berg? Antoine Fuqua? Con Air auteur Simon West? Your blood boiling yet?