The Academy Invites Record-Breaking 774 New Members in Effort to Diversify the Oscars

In an effort to diversify the annual Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has invited an unprecedented record-breaking 774 new members to join the Academy. According to THR, of the 774 newly invited members, 39 percent of them are women and 30 percent of them are people of color. The previous record for most invitations sent out by the Academy was set back in 2016 when 638 invitations were sent out, and far outweighs the 322 invitations sent out in 2015.

“Seven of the Academy branches — actors, casting directors, costume designers, documentary, executives and film editors — invited more women than men,” The Hollywood Reporter says.

Actors like Star Wars alum Riz Ahmed, box office heavyweight Dwayne Johnson, the newest Wonder Woman Gal Gadot, comedian Leslie Jones, Keegan-Michael Key, Wanda Sykes, and Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. Among directors were Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins and Get Out’s Jordan Peele (both of which were also invited by the writers’ branch).

Debbie Allen and her sister Phylicia Rashad were also invited. Other familiar faces include Janelle Monae, Priyanka Chopra, Naomie Harris, and Donald Glover.

“The Academy’s diversity push began even before the nominations were announced in 2014 for the 86th Oscars, and a lack of minorities among the acting nominees led to the protest hashtag #OscarsSoWhite,” THR continued. “But the resulting outcry, which only grew louder when the situation repeated itself in 2015, put added pressure on the organization to redouble its efforts.”

The Academy has been keeping their word in pushing for more diverse nominations that reflect the diversity of the work put out every year by a society that is vastly changing in race, gender, and culture. Audiences want an Academy and an awards show that reflect that.

Most recently, in the 2017 ceremony, viewers were able to see those diversifying strides in action when Moonlight took home the Oscar for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay. Other big winners of colors of the night included Viola Davis for Best Supporting Actress in Fences and Mahershala Ali for Best Supporting Actor in Moonlight.

Photo Credit: PR Photos

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.