24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Cher

Oscar voters: Meet the academy's youngest members

February 23, 2012 |  2:23 pm

Anna Paquin

For a preteen, membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences brings some particularly grown-up perks. The biggest thrill for Anna Paquin, who joined at age 11, wasn’t being able to vote on the best picture of the year — it was that her membership allowed her to see R-rated movies before she was 17.

“I remember thinking that was the pretty much the coolest thing that could happen to me,” recalled Paquin, now 29. “My parents were pretty finicky with ratings, and occasionally I’d get away with watching stuff that was a little older than they preferred. Plus, I was living in New Zealand, and once a year I’d get sent all of these movies that weren’t coming out for months where I lived.”

In 1994, Paquin took home the supporting actress Oscar for her role in “The Piano” as the daughter of a mute pianist. At 11, she became the second-youngest performer behind Tatum O’Neal to ever score one of the coveted awards. And months later, she became one of the youngest members of the academy.


Oscar voters studyA recent L.A. Times study of the academy found that the median age of voting members is 62, and few members are too young to legally buy a beer. Among the youngest are 17-year-old Saoirse Ronan, who scored a supporting actress nod for her turn in 2007’s “Atonement,” and Dakota Fanning, who turned 18 Thursday.

Twentysomethings include Keisha Castle-Hughes and Jennifer Lawrence, 21; Mia Wasikowska, 22; Michael Cera and Haley Joel Osment, 23; Ellen Page, 25; and Rooney Mara, 26. Mara, star of “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo,” is up for the lead actress prize at the Academy Awards on Sunday. She will be one of the youngest nominees at the ceremony, along with 28-year-old Jonah Hill, who earned a nod for his supporting role in “Moneyball.”

Not surprisingly, most of the academy’s young’uns are in the actors branch, since it’s easier to get a job at 13 as a kid star than, say, a makeup artist. The sound and public relations branch each have at least one member in their 20s.

Many of those who gained admission into the academy while they were minors, such as Paquin, became eligible for membership thanks to a nomination, which not that long ago almost guaranteed admission even if the nominee didn’t have a substantial body of work. Others were proposed for membership by academy members, which was the case with Marlee Matlin.

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The Three Stooges: Cher as a nun? And Benicio del Toro's not out ...

February 16, 2011 |  1:21 pm

Stooges
Larry, Curly, Moe and...Cher?

Even as they continue to seek the three leads for their big-screen version of "The Three Stooges," Peter and Bobby Farrelly say they have an unusual idea for one of the lead female roles: The brothers are aiming to put Cher in the movie. 

The goal is for the singer-actress to play Mother Superior, the nun whom the Stooges terrorize.

Cher had a cameo in the Farrellys' Siamese-twin comedy "Stuck on You" back in 2003. At the time, the writer-directors spoke to the diva about a part in the "Stooges" film, which they'd hoped to shoot next. (They've been developing it for a long time.) She agreed, they said.

"Cher is just the coolest chick ever," Peter Farrelly told 24 Frames. "It's hard to describe. You meet a lot of celebrities in our business. We're not cowed by many of them. But Cher is bawdy, she's fun, she's cool, she's lived a life, she's got experience, she's humble. It's the humility that struck me the most. She's not really a diva."  A representative for Cher did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Casting for the Fox film -- which aims to shoot, after years of development holdups, this spring -- is entering the homestretch.

Cher In an interview for their upcoming infidelity romp "Hall Pass" (more on that soon), the Farrellys say that while their initial "Stooges" trio of Sean Penn (Larry), Jim Carrey (Curly) and Benicio Del Toro (Moe) has broken up, casting may yet move in an unexpected direction. Del Toro, for instance, is someone "we're still considering," Bobby Farrelly said.

(Incidentally, Penn dropped out of the nyuk-nyuk-fest when he decided to concentrate on his charitable efforts in Haiti. Carrey chose  not to star in the film even after gaining more than 40 pounds for the role, though the Farrellys didn't exactly have a chance to convince him to stay. "We never heard from him, but we read it," Peter Farrelly said. So he never picked up a phone to call them? "Now that would have been nice," Farrelly said of the actor whose career was given a big boost when he starred in the Farrellys' "Dumb & Dumber" in 1994.)

As for the rumors that Andy Samberg and Johnny Knoxville were on the shortlist to star in "Stooges," don't be quick to rule that out.

"We like both of those guys," said Bobby Farrelly. "We always thought Samberg looks a little like he could play Larry. And Knoxville is a real-life stooge. He's a real-life Moe."

The casting challenge for the filmmakers is to find actors with a rare mix of skills: a flair for comedy and a capacity for imitation to go along with an innate physicality.

"We need to get the voices. The Stooges had very specific voices and we need to get as close as we can to that," Bobby Farrelly said. But, he added, "We've seen some guys come in that are pretty spot-on, but at the same time there's something about them that's not funny. Just because they can do a great imitation doesn't mean you're going to burst out laughing when you watch it."

What's more, the roles require a difficult balance of originality and imitation, Peter Farrelly added.

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Preview review: 'Burlesque,' Christina Aguilera's first (and last?) act

August 6, 2010 | 11:52 am

MV5BMTM1MTk3MzU4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwNjEyNTM2Mw@@._V1._SX640_SY427_ In the last decade, pop divas haven't exactly had the best track record on the silver screen. Sure, there were some solid turns from Beyonce, but she's the exception. Miley Cyrus didn't bowl over critics with her performance in the Nicholas Sparks tear-jerker "The Last Song." Britney Spears made her big-screen debut (and swan song) with the road-trip classic "Crossroads." And before "Precious," Mariah Carey had (gulp) "Glitter" and "Tennessee."

Now it's Christina Aguilera's turn to show her skills, which she attempts to do in "Burlesque," a  star-is-born drama out in November from Screen Gems. The singer plays Ali, the prototypical small-town girl with starry eyes who buses herself all the way from Iowa to the Hollywood sign to fulfill her dreams of stardom. She starts waiting tables at a "neo-burlesque" club, run by the world-weary Tess (Cher). Ali tries to convince the lounge's owner that she has what it takes to be a part of the club's act, but Tess and her surly counterpart, Sean (Stanley Tucci), don't think she has the chops.

That is, until she gets on stage and belts out a song like — well, Christina Aguilera.

Judging by the trailer, the film looks like it's overflowing with camp and schmaltz — even if the pairing of Cher and Aguilera seems appealing. The story is basically preposterous, a la "Coyote Ugly": All a girl really wants in life is to wear very little and dance atop a bar! (Or in this case, wear very little and dance in a bar.) And the bits of dialogue we hear here are so hokey that we can't imagine taking the movie seriously.

"You gotta make me believe that you belong on that stage," Cher's character implores her protege. "That it's yours! And that nobody can take it from you. Now you wanna show me something? Show me that!"

She and Tucci do seem to have good chemistry. And one of the many doctors from "Grey's Anatomy" (Eric Dane) serves as a potential love interest, which is a plus, if only for the eye candy. But while we're looking forward to the song-and-dance numbers from Aguilera, her acting looks like it leaves a lot to be desired. She's trying so hard to be innocent as her character pleads with Cher, "Just tell me what you want!"

Probably not this.

— Amy Kaufman

Twitter.com/AmyKinLA

Photo: Cher and Christina Aguilera star in "Burlesque." Credit: Screen Gems.

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