Saldana, Orci, Kurtzman & More Star Trek Crew Invited To Join Motion Picture Academy

Earlier this year the 2009 Star Trek movie became the first in the franchise to win an Academy Award. And now seven of the people who worked on the film have been invited to join the ranks of those who vote on the Oscars. Today the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their 2010 invitees and on the list were seven members of the Star Trek team, including Zoe Saldana, Roberto Orci, and Alex Kurtzman.


Orci, Kurtzman & Saldana & more Star Trek 2009 vets invited into Academy

The members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are the people who cast the votes for the Academy Awards. The list of around 6000 voting members is invitation only. Today AMPAS announced this year’s list of "135 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures."

And on the list were seven members of the Star Trek 2009 team:

  • Zoe Saldana – Actress – Uhura
  • Alex Kurtzman – Co-writer
  • Roberto Orci – Co-writer
  • Daniel Mindel – Cinematographer
  • Mindy Hall – Make-up [Oscar-winner]
  • Joel Harlow – Make-up [Oscar-winner]
  • Russell Earl – Visual Effects Supervisor

The full list is available at

Where’s Barney?

While it is great to see so many of the Star Trek team recognized, there does seem to be a name missing. Barney Burman shared the Make-up Oscar with Mindy Hall and Joel Harlow, and has film credits dating back to 1984 (Star Trek III). However, he was not invited to become a voting member. TrekMovie has confirmed that Burman is not already a member.

Mindy Hall, Barney Burman, and Joel Harlow with their Makeup Oscars for “Star Trek” – the first Trek wins in history

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I guess this is OK but in my opinion the eligible voting Academy members should consist only of directors.

I hate to repeat this too often repeated phrase but film-making is a “director’s medium” so it is not clear to me why non-director’s should be given a vote.

If you saw “The Hurt Locker” and “Inglourious Basterds” you may conclude that “The Hurt Locker” was a superior film, but I don’t.

I welcome opposing views and hope I don’t offend.

I tend to agree…


I always wondered why the people IN the films, and those who MAKE the films voted for awards. Just to me seems like self-praise… shouldn’t those who the films are made FOR (ie. the public) vote for these things?


Like the MTV and People’s Choice Awards? Where they may as well just call them the “Twilight” Awards? No thanks!

I hope Nimoy is already a member of the academy.
A talented and “class act” all the way.


4. I agree with you. I don’t think the public should be allowed to vote since they are generally unaware of the complexities of filmmaking. In my first post I suggested that only director’s should be allowed a vote, but I can easily see a case where the concept-creators (the scriptwriters) should be allowed a vote.

Allowing actors to vote is, in my opinion, very much like allowing the subject in the ‘Mona Lisa’ to vote on the best painting ever created.

Having said that, it is very true that you cannot make a decent film without talented performers.

The best way to go in my opinion is how they do it now, though a lot of their decisions boggle the mind sometimes. Having actors, directors, writers, directors vote allow for differing perspectives. And that is something that is important to the voting process.

If the Academy Awards were voted by the public, then they wouldn’t be the Academy Awards.

If the Academy were to truly embrace its “peers voting for peers” reputation, it would enlarge its membership. But I suppose there are practical limitations in doing so.

Daniel – I like your analogy about the Mona Lisa. I never thought about it like that, but you make a good point.

Fans voting = The People’s Choice Awards.

What I do think should be required is that everyone who votes should be required to SEE the movies they vote for. They aren’t, and that makes Oscar worthless as a barometer of good films. Oscar is a promotional device, and it works quite well. As a measure of greatness? pfffff.

I hope the screenwriters of the industry have a say and a vote because if you didn’t have the screenwriter the director and his/her medium would be nothing.

I think the public should vote in fan awards and filmmakers should vote in peer awards. And I think we should have both kinds, because it’s fun to compare. And I think we should take both kinds with not only a grain of salt, but fleet of salt-trucks that have been dipped in saline, and then liberally salted, salt-crusted, and then flavored with salt.

As for the Academy, specifically, I think allowing an actor to vote for the _acting_ categories makes perfect sense, but I guess it just gets muddy if you start carving and subdividing like that.

How do these writers get such a high position in Hollywood?

Daniel, the directors already have the Director’s Guild of America award – and this year, it was won by Kathryn Bigelow for the Hurt Locker. So we can reasonably assume that if the directors got to choose the Oscar all by themselves, they would have once again selected her and her film.

In a broader sense, I disagree with your stance here because most of the separate guilds already have their own awards – so what would be the point of the Oscars if they weren’t decided by a broader vote?

Just make better movies, guys.

@ 13

The old fashioned way….they earned it. Toiled at the lower levels of TV. Worked their way up. Transitioned to movies and wound up writing two movies that made over a billion dollars in 2009.

Not enough to get your blessing Captain?

I still think directors are much higher on the food chain than writters are as far as Hollywood goes.

Wow, you ALL missed the point!

Congrats to all of them! Everyone who got invited earned it, in my opinion. I think it’s neat.

Bob & Alex! (They are my favorite) Did you ever think this would happen?

Such an honor!

If only directors voted for the Oscars, only directors would ever watch the Oscars.

It would be like only watching movies Roger Ebert said were good.

But, in my world, Star Trek V is a good movie. So what do I know right?

I like Star Trek V too, better than 4 actually. And if I only watched movies that Ebert said was good…..I dont want to even think about it.

While its true the Academy as a collective whole makes some mind-boggling decisions when handing out their fancy gold-plated doorstops, I have to agree with #18 that our Trek folks deserve congratulations for being selected.

So… Congratulations!

no its not that. They do deserve it.

I just cant get Transformers 2 out of my mind when I think of these writers, that film was painfully bad.

It happens. People have off days or off months. Talented creators sometimes turn out substandard works. Akiva Goldsman, who won an Oscar for his screenplay adaptation of A Beautiful Mind (and is now working on Fringe), had previously written Batman Forever and Batman and Robin. M. Night Shyamalan showed a consistent and seemingly inexplicable decline after his first and very highly-regarded movie.

We have to consider that the Mona Lisa was pretty much entirely the doing of one man, Leonardo. He didn’t have a big crew, or even a small one, working together to create the final product. A director, who may or may not be a primary creative force behind the film, does have a crew. An “auteur” style director may be involved in many, many creative decisions about the movie, from makeup to music to visual effects to costuming, but the people who work in those fields full-time are really the ones who know them best.

14. Good point. It is curious. According to Wiki:

“The DGA Award for Feature Film has traditionally been a near perfect barometer for the Best Director Academy Award. Only six times since the DGA Award’s inception has the DGA Award winner not won the Academy Award; in 1968 (Carol Reed won the Oscar for directing Oliver!); 1972 (Bob Fosse won the Oscar for directing Cabaret); 1985 (Sydney Pollack won the Oscar for directing Out of Africa); 1995 (Mel Gibson won for directing Braveheart); 2000 (Steven Soderbergh won the Oscar for directing Traffic); and 2002 (Roman Polanski won the Oscar for directing The Pianist).”

Ho hooo! Looky there, they got them some seats at the table! I wonder if Bob is going to change the way he introduces himself at parties? “Hello, I’m Bob Orci…VOTING member of the Academy (wink)…”

10: “What I do think should be required is that everyone who votes should be required to SEE the movies they vote for.”

Oh that makes WAAAY too much sense. Next thing you’ll probably want Congress to READ and UNDERSTAND those 2000 page pieces of legislation that they pass.

That’s just crazy talk.

Congratulations to all. I think the Academy, at ITS best, represents the best of film-making. The politics behind the voting may be a bit wonky, but I think overall the Academy correctly recognizes those who have a real impact on the art and science of film-making, and so for that reason, a very hearty well done to our Trek boys and girls:)

Now I regret only applying to Starfleet Academy.

#25: Your post is radiating so much truth, I had to adjust my monitor.

Congratulations Bob, Alex, Zoe, Daniel, Mindy, Joel, and Russell.

Boborci, bravery can take you far! Keep it up!!!

Congrats Bob!

6000 members? Not exactly elite is it. Nevertheless, its a nice recognition to have so well done gang.

Congrats Zoe, one out of three deserved it!

Akiva Goldsman also really missed it with Angels & Demons

Sorry Bob and Alex are not my fav writers in Hollywood.

That’s great but they need to get the next movie GOING, dammit!
#19 Hugh- Yes. I started to like V better than IV years ago, and now I’m certain of it.
IV was so damn agenda driven.
Although whenever I catch Whale Wars, I do wish a Bird-of-Prey would decloak and intercept a harpoon.

So they’ll vote on scripts that are as bad as theirs, god help. Next they’ll invite Michael Bay and Brett Ratner!

36 – perhaps

Make you wonder whay Ron Moore et all never got this honour.

33. captain_neill – June 26, 2010

You’re not my favorite poster/trekkie! So all good!


Because Rom Moore primarily writes for television.

@ 38

Congratulations on your latest honor!

Don’t take the Hater comments to heart. They are the vocal minority here…Talifans with an ax to grind behind the anonymity of the internet. It’s one thing to offer constructive criticism (which I still have to wonder what our credentials are to even attempt that)…but there’s WAY too many mean spirited, narrow comments thrown around here.

Can’t wait to see what you and the team have cooked up for Star Trek 2.0!

I’ve never quite understood, though, why ST2009 won an oscar for makeup, of all things; the makeup seemed fairly routine (at least as far as ST movies go) to me. Was there something else involved, some new technique, or what?

We everyone who does not agree with Bob Orci is a hater? Bob is a genuine guy and should be praised for that. I don’t like his writing style but I can separate the man from his art.


That it did it again, at the Saturn Awards must really have you perplexed?

I recall an article where the prosthetics guy commented that the budget was severely restricted for the look that Abrams had in mind. Also he chose actual film over digital which requires different makeup sensibilities. I also recall the p-guy saying that the look J.J. wanted really required more time than they had.

In spite of the budget “restrictions”, the 2009 film employed more makeup people than any previous Trek film.

So maybe at is an acknowledgment of a superb job of coordination that lead to a consistent “routine” look in spite of all the factors that could have lead to chaos?

Either that or the really excellent makeup for which they were acknowledged was the stuff that was so good that you couldn’t tell?


Does this upgrade your Oscar Award Show swag?


OUCH! Don’t want to be Captain Neill right now! :-)

Bob, congratulations on your win! Hopefully your house is big enough for all those trophies you have won and will continue to win for decades!

#42: ” Bob is a genuine guy and should be praised for that. I don’t like his writing style but I can separate the man from his art.”

Exactly so. Bob is patient, generous, accessible and (on his best days) even has a touch of grace about him (and on his less-than-best days, he’s still kind of a hoot). This is a separate matter entirely from opinion on his craft, or that of he and his team.

You’d think after their terrible writing on the 2nd Transformers movie they would be barred from ever working in the industry again, so here these guys received this high honor, who would of thunk!

I never meant to say I hate you. Im sure you’re a great guy.

Just felt your writing for Star Trek XI was not the best writing ever for Trek. That plus the awful Transformers 2 does not inspire confidence.

I am sorry but Star Trek is now no longer the way I love it.


I don’t care. I’m still a trekkie and proud of it but I CANNOT LOVE this movie as the best ever Trek like everyone on this site seems to do.


Apparently you can be hated on this site for saying tthings like that.

Its ok to criticise the other writers in Trek history but when it comes to the new one its a whole different story.

Transformers 2 was real pain for me.


I can agree on that.