Viggo Mortensen to ac­cept mem­ber­ship in­vi­ta­tion af­ter pre­vi­ously de­clin­ing it

Los Angeles Times - - AT THE MOVIES - By Mark Olsen mark.olsen@la­times.com Twit­ter: @IndieFo­cus

Join­ing the Mo­tion Pic­ture Acad­emy is seen by many as one of the world’s most exclusive and pres­ti­gious mem­ber­ships, an elite recog­ni­tion in a pro­fes­sion that is ad­mired and en­vied the world over. For oth­ers, not so much.

Mem­ber­ship in­vi­ta­tions went out to a list of 774 in­dus­try pro­fes­sion­als re­leased by the Acad­emy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sciences on Wed­nes­day — names that in­clude “Get Out” di­rec­tor Jor­dan Peele and “Won­der Woman” star Gal Gadot — but those in­vi­tees still have to ac­tu­ally ac­cept the in­vi­ta­tion.

Among the most fa­mous known to de­cline an acad­emy mem­ber­ship over the years are Os­car win­ners Woody Allen and George Lu­cas. And un­til now, that small list of hold­outs has in­cluded ac­tor Viggo Mortensen.

He was first in­vited to join in 2004, af­ter star­ring in the Os­car-win­ning “Lord of the Rings” tril­ogy, and de­clined. Mortensen was sub­se­quently nom­i­nated for an Os­car in 2008 for “East­ern Prom­ises,” and was nom­i­nated again this year for his role in “Cap­tain Fan­tas­tic” as a fa­ther with un­con­ven­tional ideas about par­ent­ing.

He was once again among the acad­emy in­vi­tees on Wed­nes­day morn­ing. A spokesper­son for Mortensen said the ac­tor would ac­cept this time but de­clined to of­fer any fur­ther state­ment.

In a 2012 ar­ti­cle in The Times, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Mortensen ex­plained his pre­vi­ous de­ci­sion not to ac­cept the mem­ber­ship by say­ing, “Viggo does not like judg­ing art of­fi­cially.”

Last year af­ter film­maker Ryan Coogler was in­vited to join, the Hol­ly­wood Re­porter wrote that he did not re­turn his ac­cep­tance let­ter. Coogler’s 2015 film “Creed” was among those that am­pli­fied the con­ver­sa­tion around diver­sity, rep­re­sen­ta­tion and awards af­ter the only Os­car nom­i­nee from the movie was Sylvester Stal­lone for sup­port­ing ac­tor. Coogler, cur­rently fin­ish­ing Marvel’s much-an­tic­i­pated “Black Pan­ther,” could not be reached for con­fir­ma­tion as to whether he joined the acad­emy.

Among those known to have de­clined mem­ber­ship, none stands out quite like four-time Os­car-win­ner Allen. As pre­vi­ously re­ported by The Times, over sev­eral years, the acad­emy sent Allen nu­mer­ous in­vi­ta­tions to join, but he never re­sponded.

Fi­nally, then-acad­emy Pres­i­dent Karl Malden mailed Allen a let­ter promis­ing that if the film­maker made a siz­able do­na­tion to the acad­emy’s fundrais­ing ef­fort for its li­brary, the group would leave him alone. Allen is said to have replied with a check within a week.

Rick Loomis Los An­ge­les Times

VIGGO MORTENSEN has been nom­i­nated for an Os­car twice, in­clud­ing for 2016’s “Cap­tain Fan­tas­tic.”

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