The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has taken steps to make sure that next year’s Oscars aren’t overshadowed by debates about diversity.
The Guardian reports that the Academy took 683 new members this year, 46 per cent of which were women and 41 per cent people of colour – its most diverse intake ever.
The group, who vote on all Oscar nominations and winners, now includes prominent black actors Idris Elba and Michael B Jordan, along with Emma Watson and the Wachowski sisters.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy president, told Variety that the new list represented ‘a major step forward toward the goal of full inclusion’.
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.
Currently, the group’s membership is just 25 per cent female and 8 per cent people of colour.
Assuming everyone accepts their invitations, the female membership will rise to 27 per cent while the minority membership will raise to 11 per cent.
It’s hoped that their election to the Academy will diversify the films selected for the Oscars and help the Academy avoid a scandal similar to last year’s #OscarsSoWhite.
The ceremony last year was overshadowed by accusations of racism and a lack of racial diversity, following a second year in a row where no actors, actresses or filmmakers of colour were nominated for any major awards.
Furthermore, there’s speculation that the Academy will remove certain members’ voting status, although according to Isaacs, they’re ‘still working this out’ and they want to focus on ‘relevancy’. Although there’ll be no public announcement of whose status will change.
The supposed goal is to remove the voting rights of those Academy members who’ve ended their film careers, but Isaac has been clear that this is not about age and that the newest invitees range in age from 24 to 91.
Other invitees include Rachel McAdams, Ice Cube, Marlon Wayans, Freida Pinto, Eva Mendes, John Boyega, Daniel Dae Kim, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Patti LuPone, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Mark Rylance, Ken Loach, Michelle Rodriguez, Ryan Coogler and Brie Larson.
As exciting as this news is, I think we can all agree that although it’s a step forward there’s still a lot of work to do in Hollywood.