The Academy Attempts to Diversify by Adding 819 New Members

While some progress has been made in recent years, the Academy Awards still centers overwhelmingly on storytelling by white men. But it seems, in the wake of the growing Black Lives Matter movement, that the Academy is attempting to diversify by inviting 819 new members who will be able to vote for Oscar nominees and winners.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences annual list of invitations would double the number of women and POC in its ranks of Oscar voters.

Should the invitees accept membership terms, the Academy will consist of 45% women, 36% “underrepresented ethnic/racial communities,” and 49% international members hailing from 68 countries across the world. As a comparison, in 2015, women members only made up 25% of the Academy, according to IndieWire.

The new group of Oscars voters features some of your faves, including Zendaya, Ana de Armas, Awkwafina, Cynthia Erivo, Beanie Feldstein, Eva Longoria, Constance Wu, Florence Pugh, and so many incredible voices, making this a seriously impressive roster of talent.

Academy president David Rubin made a statement about the news.

“The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences,” he said. “We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now.”

Of course, the upcoming awards season will certainly be different than any before it, with the growing uncertainty of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic impacting all industries, including the film and TV industry. So far, the show is slated to air on April 25, 2021, therefore shifting the date for eligible films to qualify for nominations to the show’s previously announced February 28, 2021 air date.

Here’s hoping that this step toward a more inclusive voting block will allow for more recognition by marginalized filmmakers during Hollywood’s biggest night.

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