J.Lo, Prince Among Surprise Oscar Vote Invitees

Mark Deming
Movie Talk
Jennifer Lopez
Jennifer Lopez

Pop quiz: What do Jennifer Lopez, Danny Trejo, Chris Tucker, Mila Jovovich, and Lucy Liu all have in common?

Answer: They'll be voting for the Oscars next year (though none of them have ever been nominated for one).

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the folks best known for presenting the Academy Awards, announced Friday that 276 people have been invited to join the organization this year. That list includes J. Lo, the guy who plays Machete Cortez in "Machete Kills," Jackie Chan's sidekick in the "Rush Hour" movies, Alice from the "Resident Evil" flicks, and one third of Charlie's Angels.

Prince, Purple Rain
Prince, Purple Rain

Other folks who have been asked to join include Jason Bateman (hot on the heels of the "Arrested Development" revival), Prince (the former unpronounceable symbol guy who won a "Best Song" Oscar for "Purple Rain" back in the day), Joseph Gordon-Levitt (whose directorial debut "Don Jon" opens in September), Rosario Dawson (the hot, butt-kicking nerd gal from "Sin City" and "Death Proof"), Matt Groening (creator of "The Simpsons"), Paul Feig (the director behind "Bridesmaids" and the new comedy "The Heat"), Todd Phillips (he directed "Old School" and "The Hangover" trilogy), and Cliff Martinez (the former Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer who scored "Traffic," "Drive" and "Spring Breakers"). If they accept, they'll be honored at a private event held by the Academy in September.

Three actresses of note also received invitations to the Academy, but in recognition of their work off camera as writers. The lovely French star Julie Delpy co-wrote "Before Sunset" and "Before Midnight" with her co-star Ethan Hawke, as well as writing and directing "Two Days In New York" and "The Countess." Sarah Polley, who starred in "Go," "The Sweet Hereafter" and "My Life Without Me," has gone on to write and direct several celebrated independent features, including "Away From Her" and "Take This Waltz." And Lena Dunham, star of the controversial HBO series "Girls," wrote and directed a pair of indie features, "Tiny Furniture" and "Creative Nonfiction." (She also created "Girls" and has written and directed most of the show's run.)

Along with Lopez and Trejo, a number of other Latino artists were on this year's invite list, including actors Miriam Colon, Alma Martinez, Michael Pena, and Geno Silva; cinematographer Eduart Grau; costume designer Paco Delgado; and soundman Jose Antonio Garcia.

Is AMPAS hoping to placate Latino advocacy groups by giving them a larger voice in the Academy? After all, the National Hispanic Media Coalition openly criticized of AMPAS after the omission of veteran Mexican-American actress Lupe Ontiveros from the annual "In Memoriam" portion of this year's awards broadcast.

In a statement released to the press, AMPAS president Hawk Koch said, "These individuals are among the best filmmakers working in the industry today. Their talent and creativity have captured the imagination of audiences worldwide, and I am proud to welcome each of them to the Academy."

Koch should also note if there's ever any trouble at the Academy, Alice and Machete are good folks to have on your side.