AMPAS Class of 2017 adds 18 new women directors to the Directors’ Branch
Every year the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences invites new artists to join the different branches that make up the academy. Why does this matter? Oscar nominees for each category come directly from that branch (i.e. the Directors Branch members vote on who will be nominated for Best Director) while all members vote on the final ballot.
This year a smaller number of women directors were invited to join the branch: 18 out of 64 directors were women, and most of those were white. However a great number of the men invited to join the branch were men of colour and a the overwhelming percentage of directors were non-American once again representing an attempt by AMPAS to continue to diversify its branch.
What will this mean in the future? It’s difficult to say. Nominees in the directing branch have remained overwhelmingly white and male for the last decade (Kathryn Bigelow, the only woman to win an Oscar is also the last woman to have been nominated for one back at the 2010 ceremony). And there’s no guarantees that non-American nominees will leap at a chance for membership at a prestige American institution (one of last year’s nominees, Argentinian director Lucrecia Martel, flatly rejected membership).
On this day in music history: April 21, 1990 - “Ready Or Not” by After 7 hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 2 weeks, also peaking at #7 on the Hot 100 on June 23, 1990. Written and produced by L.A. Reid and Babyface, it is the first chart topping single for the vocal trio from Indianapolis, IN. As the 80’s draw to a close, former Deele members L.A. Reid and Babyface in just two brief years have become the hottest songwriting and productions teams in the music business, creating big hits for Bobby Brown, The Whispers, The Boys, Pebbles, Karyn White and Paula Abdul to name a few. While working with Abdul on her debut album, her label Virgin Records offer L.A. and Face a production deal, allowing them to write and produce an album for whatever artist they choose. The producers do not have to look far when find the group After 7. The trio consists of Babyface’s younger brothers Kevon and Melvin Edmonds, and their mutual friend Keith Mitchell, who the brothers meet while attending school at Indiana University. Babyface calls his brothers out of the blue, and offer them their shot at the big time, which they eagerly accept. While writing material for After 7’s debut album, Face comes up with something he knows from the outset will be a smash. Highly adept at writing romantic ballads that become one of his calling cards, he pens the plush ballad “Ready Or Not” largely on his own. After playing the finished song for the group, they also agree that its a hit. Led by Kevon and Melvin’s pleading and yearning dual lead vocals, it is an immediate stand out their self titled debut. However, when their album is released in August of 1989, Virgin decides to lead with the uptempo “Heat Of The Moment” (#5 R&B, #19 Pop) as the first single. The label then follows it up with “Don’t Cha’ Think” (#25 R&B), which cracks the R&B top 30, but fails to crossover. With many R&B and Quiet Storm radio stations already playing “Ready Or Not” as an album cut, Virgin rushes it out as a single in early February of 1990. Leaping on the R&B singles chart, the song races to the top with two months of its release, then crosses over to pop radio and becomes their biggest hit to date. The success “Ready Or Not” helps propel After 7’s debut album to Platinum status in the US. “Ready Or Not” is certified Gold in the US by the RIAA.
This was the episode I think we all knew was coming–the moment when everything Rebecca’s done gets back to Josh. The execution of this was glorious. There were so many good things happening here. All the songs worked so well. The main plot with Nathaniel and Rebecca was very good, and the sexual tension that’s been there since the Santa Ana Winds was heightened here to the point where they were in bed together. Now that Rebecca’s cathartically let loose all the anger she’s been holding inside toward Josh, and immediately realizes the consequences, there’s a lot of interesting places the show can go. (By the way, Josh is mistaken if he thinks he’s not at all to blame for this or that he shouldn’t feel bad.)
Also, something pretty rare happened: background characters were at the foreground of a central plot. This obviously can’t happen in every episode. Nevertheless, the whole plot with Maya and Tim was absolutely hilarious. And Tim’s solo was the pinnacle.
Three central characters, however, were noticeably absent: Darryl, Valencia, and Heather. The story this episode’s trying to tell doesn’t necessitate their presence, but it still felt weird to have all three of them gone. Darryl could’ve made a cameo in one of the scenes at the firm. Nevertheless, this was a wonderful episode following such a strong premiere.