Praise be! The Oscars are already looking more diverse this year

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the voting body behind the Oscars, is making it clear that diversifying its membership is a priority. The organization issued a record-breaking 774 invitations to potential new members — a stark contrast to the 322 invitations issued in 2015.

Among the invitees are 105 of some of our favorite actors, including Riz Ahmed, Zoë Kravitz, Elle Fanning, Janelle Monáe — and Chrises Hemsworth, Evans, and Pratt (Pine is already a member).

While the record-breaking number is staggering, it’s the breakdown of the invitations that has us excited. Because 39 percent of the invitees are women and 30 percent are people of color. Not only are so many of our favorite actors and filmmakers on this list, but this also means that the Academy is following through on its promise to diversify the Oscar-voting body.

In terms of other notable invitees, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Justin Timberlake were invited to the music category. As was Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, who recently won Best Original Song for La La Land. Jordan Peele, Barry Jenkins, Tom Ford, Guy Ritchie, and Anthony and Joseph Russo are some of the talents invited to the directing category.

Can we just say that we’re so excited about the news.

The Academy has been under significant scrutiny over the past few years over the lack of diversity of its voting body, which is overwhelmingly white and male. That came to a head in 2014 and 2015, after men and women of color were repeatedly overlooked during the Oscar nomination process.

While the push for diversity within the Academy was a thought before the #OscarsSoWhite protest, that protest is really what pushed the Academy to make significant changes at a more rapid pace. Namely, the Academy announced a campaign to double the membership of women and people of color by 2020. This will be a contrast to the early 2016 membership numbers — which, out of 6,261 members, were 92 percent white and 75 percent male.

We’re so glad to see the Academy step up their diversity effort. And we’re so happy for the 774(!) invitees, and can’t wait to see how they vote at the 2018 Oscars.

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