Motion Picture Academy Invites 683 New Members in Diversity Pushby
The organization that hands out Hollywood’s highest honors hopes to bring aboard 683 new members to improve the diversity of its ranks, almost doubling the 2015 class following criticism of its all-white slate of Oscar acting nominees this year.
With a new slate of film professionals like “Creed” director Ryan Coogler and actors Idris Elba and Regina King, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences would increase the share of members who are people of color to 11 percent from 8 percent, according to a statement Wednesday. Female membership would rise to 27 percent from 25 percent, and its youngest member would be 24.
The absence of a minority Oscar nominee for a second-straight year, especially after critically acclaimed performances by Will Smith in “Concussion” and Elba in “Beasts of No Nation,” sparked renewed calls for change in Hollywood. The film and TV industry was already under scrutiny for its lack of diversity after the American Civil Liberties Union urged U.S. and California civil-rights agencies to investigate alleged bias against women. The academy has pledged to overhaul its membership rules, and double the number of women and minorities who are members by 2020.
“We encourage the larger creative community to open its doors wider, and create opportunities for anyone interested in working in this incredible and storied industry,” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the academy’s president, said in the statement.
The group’s 2016 member class also includes executives such as 21st Century Fox’s James and Lachlan Murdoch.
Every year, the academy invites film professionals to become new members. In 2015, that number was 322.