This year’s outrage over the lack of diversity among the nominees for the 2016 Oscars seems to have struck a major chord with the Academy.Many viewers, including celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, and Spike Lee took to social media to comment on the issue using the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, and calling for a mass boycott of the award show. The outrage forced the Academy to address the situation and they announced plans to diversify their nominees and voting pool by 2020.
But earlier this week the Academy began delivering on their promise by extending membership invitations to 683 new filmmakers, artists, and executives. The list, which is divided by actors, directors, musicians and more includes several well-known names such as Idris Elba, Vivica A. Fox, Gabrielle Union, Chadwick Boseman, Loretta Devine, Regina King and even Mary J. Blige.
“We’re proud to welcome these new members to the Academy, and know they view this as an opportunity and not just an invitation, a mission and not just a membership. This class continues our long-term commitment to welcoming extraordinary talent reflective of those working in film today. 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, president of the Academy said in a press release.
Although not everyone who is invited will become a member of the Academy, the list of new invites, which consists of 46 percent women and 41 percent people of color, shows a decisive effort from the Academy and Issacs in taking the steps needed in addressing the Oscars’ diversity issues.
See the full list of the 2016 Academy Class here.
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