Film academy reaches 2020 diversity goals established after OscarsSoWhite
Further boosting its diversity, the film academy invited 819 new members Tuesday, including Awkwafina, Olivia Wilde, Lakeith Stanfield and Cynthia Erivo.
The movie industry may be almost entirely shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic but the film academy is continuing to open up.On Tuesday, in the latest step toward diversifying its historically white-male-dominated ranks, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences opened its doors to 819 new members. It also announced that it has surpassed the goal, set in early 2016 in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, of doubling the number of women and people from underrepresented ethnic/racial communities in the group by 2020.
Representing 68 countries, the list of invitees includes such boldface names as Awkwafina, Olivia Wilde, Lakeith Stanfield and Constance Wu as well as many performers, filmmakers and below-the-line professionals whose names would be unfamiliar to even the most hardcore cinephiles. There are 75 past Academy Award nominees in the group, such as “Roma” star Yalitza Aparicio and “Harriet” star Cynthia Erivo, and 15 past Oscar winners.
According to the academy, the list of invitees, slightly smaller than last year’s class of 842, is 45% female (down from 50% last year) and 36% people from what it terms “underrepresented ethnic and racial communities” (up from 29% last year). In recent years, the academy referred to “people of color” in announcing its new members, but the group acknowledges that tallies of such self-identifications, voluntarily disclosed by members, are not always exact. “The academy has used a very broad definition for ‘people of color’ over the years,” said one member who has served on branch committees that invite members.
AdvertisementActress Niecy Nash told The Times she learned yesterday that she was among this year’s invitees. “You know what I did? Yesterday I went out and bought some expensive champagne. And today I put on a T-shirt that says ‘Phenomenal woman’ because that’s how I feel,” said the three-time Emmy nominee whose film credits include “Selma.”
Emmy nominated actress Niecy Nash (“When They See Us”) has been invited to the film academy’s acting branch.(Kirk McKoy / Los Angeles Times)Nash says the academy’s recent emphasis on inclusion is important, noting that it can be “challenging when you can look at a slate of films and you don’t identify with any of them and don’t see yourself.”
Filmmaker Lulu Wang, another member of this year’s invitee class, agreed, noting she was repeatedly asked why her well regarded 2019 indie drama, “The Farewell,” didn’t earn any Oscar nominations, even though it picked up awards from many other groups.
Advertisement“Awards are chosen by your peers, and when, in some ways, the academy does not represent a committee of my peers, there’s a disconnect,” Wang told The Times in a phone call. “Why should I expect to be rewarded by those people? So changing the landscape of the academy so that it actually better represents the audience, the people, the different kinds of experiences, the different demographics of people coming into the industry, that’s really exciting.”
Congrats to all new invitees! Also, yay! They met the bare minimum expected of them by the public & artists they supposedly champion! Hope their 2025 plan actively addresses the material working conditions of and lack of opportunities for women & BIPOC in the industry. Well done. No one is watching
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