Motion Picture Academy invites 800+ new members in efforts to diversify Oscars selection process

LOS ANGELES --The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced its latest move in a continued effort to increase and emphasize diversity within the film community and its own ranks.

The film academy, responsible for the annual Oscars award ceremony, announced over 800 new members on Monday, June 30.

2020 invitees include celebrities Eva Longoria, Awkwafina, Olivia Wilde, Tim McGraw, Bobby Cannavale and Zendaya, among many others. This now gives them the ability to vote on who wins a prestigious Oscar.

According to the announcement, the academy surpassed its goal to double the number of women and underrepresented communities by 2020. Forty-five percent of the new members are women, 36% are from underrepresented ethnic and racial communities and 49% are from international countries.

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

The announcement comes amid ongoing protests over racism, police brutality and equal rights that were sparked by the May 25 death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, after Derek Chauvin, a Minneapolis police officer, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The Academy has received criticism in previous years for lack of diversity within its voting pool, as well as over the lack of diverse films and talent nominated for its coveted awards. In 2015, the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag and movement brought awareness to the lack of diversity within major Oscar-nominated motion pictures.

Earlier this year, the South Korean film “Parasite” became the first film that wasn’t in English to win the Oscar for Best Picture.

The Academy recently released an equity and inclusion initiative “Academy Aperture 2025”, which helps to further the organization’s efforts to advance inclusion and increase representation in the entertainment industry. The initiative will encourage “equitable hiring processes and ensure more diverse representation on and off the screen.”

Academy CEO Dawn Hudson wrote, “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.”