The Academy of Motion Pictures Just Invited More — And More Diverse — New Members Than Ever Before

After years of #OscarsSoWhite controversy, the Academy is setting the stage for positive change.

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In a historic first step to increase diversity and expand representation in the film industry, The Academy of Motion Pictures invited a record number of 638 new members.

On June 29, the prestigious organization sent their annual invitations to more performers and creators than ever before, from this year's breakout stars such as John Boyega and Brie Larson, to established figures such as Emma Watson and Idris Elba

Of those invited, 46 and 41 percent were women and people of color, respectively. 

For decades, the Academy has been criticized for its problematic lack of diversity, despite both its current president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and CEO Dawn Hudson being women. 

In 2014, the homogeneity's presumed effect on Oscar nominations and wins sparked the #OscarsSoWhite trending topic and, more importantly, a national conversation about industry opportunities for people of color

History then repeated itself the next two years to an even louder public outcry.

Chris Rock hosted the 2016 Oscars and discussed the #OscarsSoWhite social media protest in his opening monologue. 
Chris Rock hosted the 2016 Oscars and discussed the #OscarsSoWhite social media protest in his opening monologue Giphy

Boone Isaacs responded with a commitment to increase the Academy's number of women and diverse members by 2020

The organization is already making good on that promise with this year's unprecedented membership expansion. 

If all new invitees decide to join, their presence will set the stage for a long overdue demographic shift.

The Academy's current 75 percent male and 92 percent white membership will decrease to 73 percent male and 89 percent white. It's a baby step, but a baby step in the right direction. 

While critics may say this doesn't do enough to fix Hollywood's continuing race problem, many agree that a small change is better than no change at all. 

Cover image via YouTube

(H/T: The Hollywood Reporter)