On the back of this year’s Oscars controversy, which highlighted the lack of diversity in Hollywood, the film industry is finally taking action.
Hollywood’s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has opened up the academy, inviting 683 new members to join the panel.
Idris Elba, John Boyega and Michael B. Jordan have confirmed that they have accepted the offer, while Brie Larson, Kate Beckinsale, Alicia Vikander and Emma Watson have also been invited to positions on the prestigious academy.
The intake of new members is a direct response to the industry’s diversity issues which were highlighted at the 2016 Oscars. The controversy was widespread after the awards had all-white acting nominees for the second year in a row, while some outstanding performances from men and women of colour went without recognition. The academy hopes their new membership will help include and celebrate all people’s talents fairly moving forward, ultimately hoping to shake its poor reputation.
The new class is 46 per cent female and 41 per cent people of colour and includes 28 Oscar winners, 98 nominees and 283 international members, representing 59 countries.
To put that in to perspective – with its new members, the Academy is now 27 per cent female and 11 per cent people of colour, which shows just how out of proportion it was before hand. It also demonstrates that there’s still some distance to travel.
This year’s Academy Awards saw some celebrities boycott the ceremony all together, while the #OscarsSoWhite phenomena highlighted the issue and created a meaningful dialogue that has lead to this change. Former Oscar winner Lupita Nyong’o summed the all white nominations on instagram as “unconscious prejudice”.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy president, commented on the issue directly, saying: