*Continuing its concerted effort to diversify following 2014’s #OscarsSoWhite embarrassment, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has issued 928 invitations to new members, the group announced Tuesday.
Thirty-eight percent of the new invitees are people of color, which, should they all accept, would bring their overall percentage of the Academy from 13% in 2017 to 16%.
Some of the big-name actors include Dave Chappelle, Daniel Kaluuya, Mindy Kaling, Tiffany Haddish, Regina Hall, Rashida Jones, Damon Wayans, George Lopez, Gina Rodriguez, Wendell Pierce, Trevante Rhodes of “Moonlight” and Amandla Stenberg of the upcoming “The Hate U Give.”
Jada Pinkett Smith, who called for a boycott of the 2016 Oscars over its lack of diversity, is also among the 2018 invitees.
Actress Quvenzhane Wallis, an Oscar nominee for 2012’s “Beasts of the Southern Wild,” is the youngest invitee, at age 14.
Kendrick Lamar and Questlove are among the invited musicians, while filmmakers include writer Virgil Williams (“Mudbound”) and the director Justin Simien (“Dear White People”).
The new class is also 49% female, boosting the total representation of women from 28% in 2017 to 31%.
Producers include Sean McKittrick (“Get Out”) and Nichole Rocklin, who won a Best Picture Oscar for “Spotlight.”
At the beginning of 2016, the Academy’s 6,241 voting members were approximately 92 percent white and 75 percent male. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who was then the Academy president, backed by the board of governors, vowed that the organization would double its number of women and diverse members by 2020, and in order to meet that goal, the Academy has stepped up the number of new members it invites each year.
Each of the Academy’s 17 branches draws its own list of new members, and candidates must be sponsored by two members of the branch they will be invited to join. The general requirement is that a candidate must have “demonstrated exceptional achievement in the field of theatrical motion pictures,” although each branch has its own specific requirements. Actors, for example, must have a minimum of three theatrical features under their belt, while directors must have a minimum of two helming credits. Academy Awards nominees are automatically considered for membership, although an invite is not guaranteed.