New Delhi: In a move to boost diversity, the US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences that presents the Oscars film awards has invited 928 artists and executives to join the body. In an announcement, the Academy said the new members will increase the diversity in a major way as 49% of its invitees are female and 38% are people of colour.
The move is part of a plan to double the number of women and ethnic minorities in the Academy by 2020. The recent #OscarsSoWhite and #MeToo movements criticised the body for its large white male membership.
Artistes from 59 countries have been invited as members. India features prominently in the list of the the new invitees that includes Tabu, Madhuri Dixit, Shah Rukh Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Anil Kapoor, Ali Fazal.
Yash Raj Films’ Aditya Chopra and producer Guneet Monga also feature in the list. Veteran Bengali actors Soumitra Chatterjee (Bridge) and Madhabi Mukherjee (Charulata) are in the list of invitees.
Cinematograper Anil Mehta, best known for his work in Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar, has also been invited along with costume designers Dolly Ahluwalia and Manish Malhotra.
Other names include Subrata Chakraborty and Amit Ray, both have worked in Haider. Dangal editor Ballu Saluja, musicians Usha Khanna and Sneha Khanwalkar of Gangs of Wasseypur-fame represent India in the musicians section.
Oscar-winner A R Rahman, actor Irrfan Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan have already been Academy members.
Among those invited to join the Academy as part of its push to become more diverse are female cinematographers from Mexico and France. Other women stars on the list include US actors Jada
Pinkett Smith, Amy Schumer, Ann Dowd and Christine Baranski, and the comedians Tiffany Haddish and
Listed notable male stars include African-American comedian Dave Chappelle, Oscar-nominated Black
Panther actor Daniel Kaluuya and French-American actor Timothée Chalamet, who starred in the film
Call Me By Your Name.
If all 928 of the Academy’s invitations are accepted, female membership will rise to 31% from 28%, while ethnic minority members will increase to 16% from 13%, according to the Academy.
It would also raise the number of voting participants for the Oscars film awards to a new high of about 9,300 people, the New York Times reports.
Hollywood’s awards seasons have been marked by controversy with the #MeToo campaign, which exposed and raised awareness of sexual harassment, and the #OscarsSoWhite movement.
n 2016, actors including Marvel star Chadwick Boseman said they were inspired to join the Academy because of the strength of the #OscarsSoWhite diversity campaign, which began with a tweet by activist film producer Rita Wilson.
“I felt obligated to join,” said Boseman, who plays superhero Black Panther in the Marvel films. Wilson said at the time that it was right to join because the Academy was now “open to hearing what the issues were”.