New Members of the Academy Ranked by How Much We'd Trust Them with Our Oscar Ballot

The Motion Picture Academy just invited 271 film processionals, including 20 actors, to join their membership ranks. Which means they all will now be eligible to vote for the Oscars. So whose potential ballot do we trust the most?

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The Motion Picture Academy just invited 271 film processionals, including 20 actors, to join their membership ranks. Which means they all will now be eligible to vote for the Oscars. So whose potential ballot do we trust the most?

1. David Strathairn
With almost 70 feature credits to his name, Strathairn has been making smart film choices for decades now, from Silkwood in the '80s up through Lincoln and this year's Godzilla. That he's only a one-time Oscar nominee (for Goodnight and Good Luck) is the kind of historical oversight that adding people like David Strathairn to the Academy will hopefully correct.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 3 (L.A. ConfidentialGoodnight and Good LuckLincoln)

2. Lupita Nyong'o
One movie. One Best Picture winner. One trophy for Best Supporting Actress. Her track record is pretty well impeccable. (Yes, she followed that one up with a nothing role in Non-Stop, but that was a pretty fun movie, even if she didn't have much to do.)
Career Best Picture Nominees: 1 (12 Years a Slave)

3. Beth Grant
One of the most reliable character actresses living today, Beth Grant holds a place in many a film fan's hearts, if not for getting herself stupidly exploded while trying to escape the bus in Speed then certainly for her abundance of commitment to Sparkle Motion in Donnie Darko. What's not to trust?
Career Best Picture Nominees: 4 (Rain Man; Little Miss SunshineNo Country for Old MenThe Artist)

4. Sally Hawkins
From Happy-Go-Lucky to the Cary Fukunaga Jane Eyre to Never Let Me Go to Blue Jasmine, Hawkins has shown a fantastic ability to jump to roles that she can make an impact with. After finally getting her first Oscar nod last year, it's no surprise she got an invite to the Academy.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 1 (An Education)

5. Michael Fassbender
Just his next step towards complete and total movie-star world domination. Look out, every other male movie star between the ages of 30 and 60. Fassbender's coming for you. That he's able to do great work in blockbusters like X-Men, arty sad business like Shame, good guys like in Inglourious Basterds and monsters like in 12 Years a Slave makes us think he has a good idea for cinema in all its forms. 
Career Best Picture Nominees: 2 (Inglourious Basterds12 Years a Slave)

6. Julia Louis-Dreyfus
She certainly owns television (Emmy winner for SeinfeldThe New Adventures of Old Christine and Veep), and with last year's Enough Said, she proved that she could also hold it down as the lead in a movie. We appreciate the Academy's faith in her crossover ability.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 1 (Hannah and Her Sisters)

7. Clark Gregg
How great is it that onscreen exes Louis-Dreyfus and Gregg both enter the Academy at the same time? Now that a consummate character actor like Gregg (The AvengersMuch Ado About Nothing) is into the film-directing game (2013 festival hit Trust Me), it makes sense that he'd be trusted with evaluating the industry's finest.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 0

8. Ben Foster
Foster's taste level is not impeccable (remember Pandorum? Remember The Punisher?), but he's managed to be a great actor in a lot of movies that you wouldn't necessarily expect greatness from (Alpha Dog3:10 to Yuma), and he's shown a real talent for being an unshowy co-star who lets his castmates shine, as he did for Woody Harrelson in The Messenger. Maybe membership in the Academy will help him get that first Oscar nomination. He'll have one vote. 
Career Best Picture Nominees: 0

9. Barkhad Abdi
A worthy nominee for last year's Captain Phillips, Abdi deserves his place on this list.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 1 (Captain Phillips)

10. Mads Mikkelsen
Any episode of Hannibal is better than a dozen movies, which was probably the math involved in granting Mikkelsen his membership.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 0

11. Clancy Brown
Another longtime character actor who is getting his due at long last. 
Career Best Picture Nominees: 1 (The Shawshank Redemption)

12. Kelly Macdonald
She's been taking refuge on TV in Boardwalk Empire for a few years, but Kelly Macdonald still has a great film career ahead of her if directors would only cast her more. Brave and Anna Karenina were steps in the right direction.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 4 (ElizabethGosford ParkFinding NeverlandNo Country for Old Men)

13. Jason Statham
Look, we're not about to say his choices in film roles are perfect. But he knows who he is, and that kind of self-possession will probably serve him well when casting a ballot.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 0

14. Paul Dano
He can be very hit-or-miss as an actor. It's tough to fully trust anybody who willingly signed up for Knight and Day and Cowboys & Aliens back-to-back. But he's had his moments, that's for sure, and he's probably going to be a reliable vote for more eclectic picks.
Career Best Picture Nominees:  3 (Little Miss SunshineThere Will Be Blood12 Years a Slave)

15. June Squibb
Lady's on a role lately! Best let her strike that iron (and fill out that Oscar ballot) while she's hot. 
Career Best Picture Nominees: 2 (Scent of a WomanNebraska)

16. Chris Rock
Fantastic, legendary stand-up. Average-to-poor Oscar host. Abysmal when it comes to choosing film roles. Not to be overly harsh, but we're going to trust the guy who made Head of State to pick the best movies of the year? Also: good luck ever getting nominated again, Jude Law.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 0

17. Cillian Murphy
By all rights, Murphy should rank higher. He's probably being overly punished (by, you know, me) for how he's thus far fallen short of potential. But he could be such an interesting movie star, and either through lack of opportunity and/or the poor choosing of projects, he hasn't become what he could be. Look no further than the near-goose-egg below. Even when it seems like he's in a shoo-in (Cold MountainThe Dark Knight) he manages to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 1 (Inception)

18. Rob Riggle
We hate to be the ones to succumb to comedy bias. We agree: dying is easy; comedy is hard. But The Hangover and Larry Crowne do not an Academy resume make, no matter how secretly great Going the Distance and 21 Jump Street are.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 0

19. Joel McKinnon Miller
He's a reliable Hey! It's That Guy when it comes to TV (he's currently part of the excellent Brooklyn Nine-Nine ensemble), but can you really remember him from any movies?
Career Best Picture Nominees: 0

20. Josh Hutcherson 
Hutcherson's an okay lil' actor. He tries his best. He hasn't made too much irredeemable crap, which is no easy feat for a young actor. But ... he's Peeta. You can't trust Peeta with anything.
Career Best Picture Nominees: 1 (The Kids Are All Right)

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.