The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences released its annual list of new invitees and made a huge statement about diversity and inclusion. The new class includes 819 new members and met guidelines that it presented back in 2016 with its A2020 initiative, which sought to diversify the voting pool after the #OscarsSoWhite movement. Four years ago, the Academy set out to double the number of women and underrepresented ethnic/racial communities. Today's announcement does that and more, though some of the new invitees emphasize that there's still more work to be done to have the Academy reflect the world of filmmaking.
"The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences. We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now," Academy President David Rubin said.
The Academy's statement breaks it down like this: new invitees are 49% international, 45% women, and 36% come from underrepresented ethnic and racial backgrounds. A total of 68 countries are represented. New names include actors Yalitza Aparicio, Awkwafina, Zendaya Coleman, Cynthia Erivo, Eva Longoria, John David Washington, Florence Pugh, Olivia Wilde, and five of the South Korean stars from Best Picture winner Parasite: Jang Hye-Jin, Jo Yeo-Jeong, Lee Jung-Eun, Choi Woo-Shik, and Park So-Dam. Director invitees include Lulu Wang, Matt Reeves, and Ari Aster.
Wang, who directed The Farewell, shared the news on her Twitter feed, writing, "Though there is still much work to be done, this class looks more like an actual jury of our PEERS than ever before, so that's a step in the right direction. Onwards!"
Very excited to be a new member of @TheAcademy with so many brilliant minds. Though there is still much work to be done, this class looks more like an actual jury of our PEERS than ever before, so that's a step in the right direction. Onwards! https://t.co/HnDtbneW0K
— Lulu Wang (@thumbelulu) June 30, 2020
Deadline adds that today's news brings the voting pool up to more than 9,600 members. Just yesterday, the Academy announced that for the first time, agents would also get voting rights, which added 111 new names to the voter list. The outlet adds that a source explains the Academy's new focus on adding directors and executives, as well as diversifying its membership.
"This will be crucial as the industry continues to expand who gets a seat at the table," the source said.
The new invitees include 75 Oscar nominees — and 15 winners. Like Wang said, the Academy acknowledged that there continues to be a need for more diversity and inclusion and that today's news is just the beginning.
"We take great pride in the strides we have made in exceeding our initial inclusion goals set back in 2016, but acknowledge the road ahead is a long one. We are committed to staying the course. I cannot give enough thanks to all our members and staff who worked on the A2020 initiative and to our head of Member Relations and Awards, Lorenza Muñoz, for her leadership and passion in guiding us through to this point and helping to set the path going forward. We look forward to continuing to foster an Academy that reflects the world around us in our membership, our programs, our new Museum, and in our awards," Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said.