Oscar’s Academy Invites 928 New Members from 59 Countries
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Oscars, announced on June 25 that it had invited 928 new members in a push for diversity. It also started a global campaign to recruit new members, in addition to having current members sponsor new ones.
This is the Academy’s biggest diversity drive after recent criticism of its mostly white and male membership.
Those invited include “Girls Trip” star Tiffany Haddish, British actor Daniel Kaluuya, best known for “Get Out,” as well as some Oscar nominees such as “Call Me By Your Name” star Timothée Chalamet, and “The Big Sick” co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, the Academy said in a statement.
If all of the invitations are accepted, the Academy’s female members would rise to 31 percent from the current 28 percent. People of color would also increase to 16 percent from the current 13 percent. That means for every 6 members, one of them would not be Caucasian.
Among people from the 59 countries who will receive the new invitations, 38 percent of them are people of color, and 49 percent are female.
With the newbies added, the total number of members will be more than 7,000, and their occupations include actors, writers, directors, executives, makeup artists, hairstylists and others.
The number of women and people of color on the Academy’s board has more than tripled since 2011, said Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences chief Dawn Hudson to Associated Press.
In January 2016, the Academy pledged to double its female and minority membership by 2020. However, instead of getting lifetime voting rights in the past, each new member can only vote for 10 years unless they renew their membership by proving they are still active in the film industry. To get lifetime membership, one has to be nominated for an Oscar or serve as a member for three 10-year terms.
Social media users in the past used the hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite to show their disappointment about the lack of diversity in nominations for the Academy Awards. Some celebrities such as Will Smith and his actress wife Jada Pinkett Smith refused to attend the ceremony in protest.
The Academy Awards have been presented since 1929. However, the majority of nominees among the directors and the top four acting categories have been white (93.8%) up to the year 2016, according to ABC.
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