Academy Invites a Record 683 New Members To Promote Diversity

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A record number of new members were invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a way to get more diversity in the Oscars following the controversy with this year’s #OscarsSoWhite campaign. 683 people were sent invitations to join, with 46 percent female, and 41 minority invitees.

Currently, the Academy’s 6,000 member roster is made up of 90 percent white and 75 percent male members ranging in age from 24 to 91. This year’s invitations include 283 new international members invited from 59 different countries around the world.

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This year’s list of people who were invited is more than double the amount from last year. The goal is to double the number of female and minority members by 2020.

“In the next four years, it’s important to finalize the goal that we set. The conversation is continuing. I think there is going to be a lot of positive energy that will pollinate and make more,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

The Oscar controversy arose after the second year in a row in which no minority actors were nominated. Activists and stars like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett-Smith boycotted the Oscars ceremony and criticized the film industry for not representing the diversity of actors from ethnic minority backgrounds.

In response to this, the Academy added six minority members to other leadership positions, and three new members to its board of governors.

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Actors like Mahershala Ali, Eva Mendes, Chadwick Boseman, Anika Noni Rose, Vivica A. Fox and America Ferrera as well as Japanese production designer Yohei Taneda, Chinese cinematographer Zhao Fei, and Mexican director Patricia Riggen were among the future members invited to join the Academy this year.

“We were not going to wait for others. We had been looking at this organization for a long time and we recognized changes need to be made; one of them was more inclusion,” Isaacs concluded on Wednesday. “Today represents a major step toward that goal of inclusion…We were happy that the conversation took off around town and globally; people became engaged. Everybody wanted to be part of that conversation and to see more inclusion in this mass-entertainment media we represent.”



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About the author: Evan Vitkovski


An American writer, filmmaker, journalist, and blogger living in Taipei, Taiwan. So many stories to tell, so little time.


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