Brillante Mendoza, Lav Diaz elated over invitation to join the Academy

INTERNATIONALLY-acclaimed filmmakers Lav Diaz and Brillante Mendoza were recently named as new members of  the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization behind Oscars.

In a press release on the Oscars website, Mendoza and Diaz are among the 774 artists and executives from 57 countries invited to join the Academy.

The members will vote in the annual Oscar awards under the categories they have been invited in. This means that Mendoza and Diaz will help choose Academy Awards best director for 2018.

Its “Class of 2017” brought the prestigious organization a total of around 8,500 members, a huge leap from last year’s 683 new members.

“We’re proud to invite our newest class to the Academy. The entire motion picture community is what we make of it. It’s up to all of us to ensure that new faces and voices are seen and heard, and to take a shot on the next generation the way someone took a shot on each of us,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said.

This year’s members also include high-profile directors such as Guy Ritchie (“Sherlock Holmes”), Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”), Anthony and Joseph Russo (“Captain America: Civil War,” “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”) and David Ayer (“Suicide Squad”).

Hollywood stars like Gal Gadot (“Wonder Woman”), Chris Evans (“Captain America”), Chris Hemsworth (“Thor”) and former wrestler-turned-actor Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson were also invited to the Academy Class of 2017.

“I am glad that we now have representation in the Academy,” Mendoza said in an interview with Inquirer. “In spite of our contrasting aesthetics, Lav and I were invited to join the same group.This can only mean that Hollywood now recognizes Philippine cinema.”

In 2016, Mendoza’s “Ma’Rosa” was chosen as the Philippine submission to the 89th Academy Awards. He was also the acclaimed Cannes best director winner for “Kinatay” in 2009.

“It’s a good development, and I hope other Filipino filmmakers will continue our work of making positive contributions to the world of cinema,” Mendoza said.

It’s a historic first for Filipino directors to be invited. “It is an acknowledgment that Philippine cinema and Southeast Asian filmmaking are finally a part of the Academy’s once-exclusive forum,” Diaz told Inquirer.

“Now, they are opening up—albeit only in terms of the Oscars’ voting process. Uy, sama na rin kayo. May konting boses na rin kayo. (You can now join us. You now have a little say.)”

Diaz’s film, “Norte: Hangganan ng Kasaysayan,” was the country’s entry to Best Foreign Language Film to the 87th Academy Awards. He also directed the Golden Lion prize-winning epic, “Ang Babaeng Humayo,” in Venice Film Festival last year.

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