Photographer: Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

Oscar Voters Get Less White With Academy's New Members

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  • Gal Gadot, Riz Ahmed, Moonlight’s Barry Jenkins to get votes
  • Academy pledged to double the number of women, people of color

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has added a bigger, more diverse pool of new members as it tries to change the public image of Hollywood as a club of mostly white men.

In its annual membership drive, the group behind the Oscar awards said in a statement Wednesday it had invited 774 new people -- 13 percent more than last year. The influx will increase the proportion of women to 28 percent from 27 percent last year, and the percentage of people of color to 13 percent from 11 percent.

The Academy has long been criticized for its predominantly white, male membership. In 2016, after white actors received all the nominations in the top four categories, the frustration boiled over on Twitter, with the hashtag campaign #oscarssowhite.

In reaction the Academy pledged to double the number of women and people of color in its membership ranks by 2020. Last year, it restricted the voting power of older members to those who had worked in the industry during the past decade, previous nominees and individuals with 30 years of service.

At this year’s awards, films with diverse casts received nominations. “Moonlight,” a gay love story with an African-American cast, won best picture and Mahershala Ali won best actor in a supporting role. Viola Davis won best actress in a supporting role for “Fences.”

“The entire motion picture community is what we make of it,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement. “It’s up to all of us to ensure that new faces and voices are seen and heard, and to take a shot on the next generation the way someone took a shot on each of us.”

Briton Riz Ahmed, who rose to fame in “Nightcrawler,” China’s Fan Bingbing, and “Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot received invitations. So did Viacom Inc.’s Bob Bakish and Shari Redstone. Barry Jenkins, director of last year’s best picture winner “Moonlight,” was also invited.

Last year the organization doubled the size of its new member drive from 2015, inviting 683. Others invited include Dwayne Johnson, the actor known as The Rock, and comedian Jordan Peele, who directed surprise hit “Get Out.”

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