The Academy Puts Strong Accent on British Members During London Film Festival

On Oct. 14, the Academy organized a tony soiree for its members across the pond during the BFI London Film Festival, where foreign-language Oscar winner Pawel Pawlikowski is currently serving as president of the jury.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs toasted London-area members at the historic Winfield House, a villa once owned by Barbara Hutton and husband Cary Grant, which now houses the American ambassador to the U.K., Matthew Barzun — a film fan clearly delighted to host a roster of Oscar nominees ranging from Rooney Mara (accompanied by “Carol” co-star Cate Blanchett and director Todd Haynes) to Ridley Scott, whose latest, “The Martian,” holds the top spot at the box office.

Following a similar event a year earlier at 10 Downing St., the party brought together newly inducted European members, such as Gugu Mbatha-Raw and honorary Oscar winner Kevin Brownlow, with high-caliber veterans, including Joan Collins and Patrick Stewart, rubbing elbows with the likes of Kate Beckinsale and “The Danish Girl” director Tom Hooper.

Academy CEO Dawn Hudson and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs with Academy members.
Variety/Rex Shutterstock

Brownlow, who’d only just returned from the Pordenone Silent Film Fest, beamed when asked about the Cinematheque Francaise’s recent discovery of material thought lost from Abel Gance’s silent-film “Napoleon,” saying, “I’m delighted that so much money will be spent proving the film is even better than I thought it was!”

In her remarks, Academy CEO Dawn Hudson acknowledged the presence of the org’s oldest member, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” cinematographer Douglas Slocombe, stressing the fact that 40 percent of last year’s Oscar nominees hailed from Europe, half of whom were British.

AMPAS’ ongoing commitment to strengthening its international ties was the focus of a festival panel moderated by Variety chief international film critic Peter Debruge, during which Hudson, foreign-language committee chair Mark Johnson, Academy awards manager Meredith Shea and “Ida” director Pawlikowski attempted to demystify how voting for the Oscar foreign-language prize works.

Two days later, the Academy held a similar event in Paris, where Roman Polanski joined fellow European members at the Mona Bismarck American Center for Art & Culture.

(Pictured: Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Dawn Hudson flank Cate Blanchett.)

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