Idris Elba and Tina Fey invited to more diverse Academy after #OscarsSoWhite
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts’ invite list was 46% women and 41% people of color, in a substantial step to address racial diversity
The 2016 membership invite list for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is 46% women and 41% people of color, the most diverse intake yet, according to the organization’s figures.
The list of the class of 683 new members invited – including America Ferrera, Tina Fey, and Kate Beckinsale – to join the organization was released on Wednesday, a substantial step in addressing critiques over the Academy’s lack of racial diversity, following a furor in January after no actors of color were nominated for any major awards for the second year in a row.
The Academy’s membership list forms the voting base for the Oscars. At the moment, membership is just 25% female and 8% people of color, according to the Academy.
The 2016 intake – assuming all of the invitations are accepted – will bring the female membership percentage up by two points and the minority membership percentage up by three points. The entire academy would grow to 7,789 members.
The controversy led to criticism from leading civil rights figures such as Al Sharpton that actors such as Idris Elba and Michael B Jordan – who are included in the 2016 list – Will Smith had been snubbed.
It was followed by a campaign which organized around the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
Emma Watson, Freida Pinto, Ice Cube, Eva Mendes, John Boyega, Marlon Wayans, Mark Rylance, Ken Loach, Daniel Dae Kim, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Rachel McAdams, Patti LuPone, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Michelle Rodriguez, Ryan Coogler, Brie Larson, and the Wachowski sisters were all among the invitees.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs – who has no direct say in award nominations – told Variety that the new list represented “a major step forward” toward the goal of full inclusion, adding: “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.”
In January, Isaacs promised that the Academy would double its minority and female membership by 2020, but unfortunately, the road would still prove rocky; Isaacs was forced to apologize again after two dozen Academy members published an open letter complaining about “tasteless and offensive” skits playing on racial stereotypes at the ceremony.
In response, Isaacs appointed several new governors with diverse backgrounds to the Academy’s board.