Movie academy calls 928 new members in diversity push

Published: June 26, 2018 13:55:36 | Updated: June 28, 2018 21:37:43

Oscar statues dry in the sunlight after receiving a fresh coat of gold paint as preparations begin for the 89th Academy Awards in Hollywood, California, US, February 22, 2017. Reuters/File Photo

The group that hands out the Oscars said on Monday that it had invited 928 new members from 59 countries, in its biggest diversity drive after years of criticism of its mostly white and male membership.

Those invited include “Girls Trip” star Tiffany Haddish; “The Big Sick” co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon; and comedian and actor Dave Chappelle, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement.

If all those invited accept, female membership would rise to 31 per cent from the current 28 per cent, the group said. People of colour will increase to 16 per cent from 13 per cent.

Total membership would stand at more than 7,000 actors, writers, directors, executives and others, reports Reuters.

A lack of diversity within the academy has long been cited as a barrier to racial inclusion in Hollywood’s highest honours. In 2016, the Academy responded by pledging to double female and minority membership by 2020.

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