24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

Category: Dakota Fanning

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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Dakota Fanning to leave 'If I Stay' (and won't tackle any lead roles until after high school)

December 8, 2010 |  5:39 pm

EXCLUSIVE: Fans of Dakota Fanning were keen on the teen actress tackling a serious dramatic role as the lead in the supernatural drama "If I Stay."

But a source familiar with the film said that, after the announcement in October that the star would take on the part, Fanning has opted not to make the movie, which leaves her without a new leading role (and also, incidentally, throws the project into question).

On Thursday afternoon a representative for the star confirmed she would not shoot the film and chalked it up to the actress' desire to finish her senior year of high school. The representative said that Fanning will shoot the two "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn" films (in which she plays Jane, a role that brings a decidedly lighter workload), and may shoot a smaller independent movie. But she will not take on any significant roles until after she graduates this spring.

Based on Gayle Forman's young-adult novel about a teenage musician, her boyfriend and a fatal car accident, "Stay" has been a high priority for "Twilight" studio Summit.

But the project has now lost its star after previously losing a director (Catherine Hardwicke was attached before leaving to shoot the  dark fable "Red Riding Hood;" she has been replaced by a Brazilian filmmaker named Heitor Dhalia.) The studio also might have some reservations about the film in the wake of the poor performance of another supernatural teen drama, "Charlie St. Cloud," earlier this year. A Summit spokesman did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Fanning's stock remains high for producers who say they are attracted to her mix of what they describe as vulnerability and maturity, qualities she mined to well-regarded effect in this year's music biopic "The Runaways." The news also comes at a time when another Fanning's star is rising too: Dakota Fanning's sister Elle currently stars in "The Nutcracker in 3D" and Sofia Coppola's "Somewhere," the latter of which has drawn strong reviews.

--Steven Zeitchik


Photo: Dakota Fanning at the BAFTA Awards. Credit: Reuters

Preview review: Can 'Twilight' star Kristen Stewart use 'The Runaways' to become a serious actress?

March 5, 2010 |  2:30 pm

MV5BMTA2NzY5NTg2MjNeQTJeQWpwZ15BbWU3MDYzODY2MDM@._V1._SX271_SY400_ Only one week after her "Twilight" co-star Robert Pattinson will attempt to show off his more serious acting chops in "Remember Me," Kristen Stewart will also stray from the world of vampires with "The Runaways."

In the film, which comes out March 19, Stewart plays Joan Jett while Dakota Fanning plays Cherie Currie, two founding members of the influential all-girl '70's band the Runaways. As my colleague Chris Lee wrote before the movie premiered at Sundance in January, the movie is based on the real-life band, who "between the years 1975 and '79 ... packed shows from coast to coast, toured the world and racked up hits before self-immolating in a blaze of drugs, jealousies and in-fighting."

Judging by the newly released trailer, which is narrated by Fanning's character, the movie feels almost like a grittier "Almost Famous." Currie, with her blond feathered hair, comes off as impressionable and wide-eyed, following Jett's bad-girl lead into the world of rock n' roll. Both are dressed in awesome '70s garb: studded leather jackets, hot pink lipstick and high-waisted jeans.

Interestingly, there are also no big hints in the trailer to the much-hyped sapphic romance between the characters.

Watch the trailer and vote in our poll to share your thoughts: Will Stewart ever be able to break free of her iconic Bella Swan role?

Surprisingly, it's not Stewart but Fanning who seems to shine in the film. Fanning is known for her more innocent roles in "I Am Sam" and "The Secret Life of Bees," but we were surprised by how much we bought Currie's penchant for hard partying. Stewart, meanwhile, seems to be channeling the persona the public has assigned to her: a surly, rebellious teen who wants to do things her own way.  The question, of course, is whether she has the versatility to pull off roles that go beyond that of the mopey Bella Swan  ingenue in "Twilight" and "New Moon." Despite the glimmers of possibility she flashed in "Adventureland," from the bits we've see in this trailer, we have our doubts.

-- Amy Kaufman

Photo: Dakota Fanning, left, and Kristen Stewart in "The Runaways." Credit: Apparition.


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