, seen here in “Ghostbusters
,” has been invited to join the Academy: Hopper Stone
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, best known as the body behind the Academy Awards, has invited 774 new members to join its ranks — topping last year’s record-setting 683 invitations. This new high reflects the Academy’s commitment to diversifying its organization as well as the films it honors every year at the Oscars.
The new roster continued last year’s large inclusion of international members. The new members represent 57 different countries, comparable to 2016’s 59 nations. As the La Times observes, the new class shows that the Academy “is figuring out what it means to have standards in the first place: namely, by fostering a membership that can genuinely be described as world class.”
While the Academy’s attempt to think globally is admirable, this year’s raw numbers are something of a let down after the 2016 class. Women represent 39 percent of the new class, as compared to last year’s 46 percent. Thirty percent of the new members this year are people of color, while 2016’s class was 41 percent non-white.
In addition, there hasn’t been a significant change in the macro sense. The number of all female Academy members has shifted from 25 percent in 2015 — before the greater push for gender equality and diversity — to 28 percent this year. Similarly, non-white members have only slightly increased from 2015’s eight percent to 2017’s 11 percent. It’s progress, but there’s obviously still a long way to go.
In the directing branch, 18 of the 64 new members are women — about 28 percent. That’s makes for total of 109 female filmmakers in the Academy’s directing branch, so women represent approximately 19 percent of its directors overall. Among the new class are Sharon Maguire
’s Diary”), Jocelyn Moorhouse
”), Emmanuelle Bercot
”), Patricia Cardoso
(“Real Women Have Curves
”), Jessica Hausner
”), Joanna Hogg
”), Ann Hui
(“A Simple Life”), and Cate Shortland
”), Elle Fanning
”), Leslie Jones
”), Janelle Monaé (“Hidden Figures
”), Betty White
”), Naomie Harris
”), and Sanaa Lathan
(“Love & Basketball”) are among the new U.S. members of the Academy’s acting branch. International performers like Gal Gadot
”), Fan Bingbing
(“I Am Not Madame Bovary
”), Golshifteh Farahani
”), Charlotte Gainsbourg
”), Rinko Kikuchi
”), and Paz Vega
(“Sex and Lucía”) are also on the 2017 roster.
While it looks like the Academy is sincere in its attempt to increase the number of non old, white men, it still has a lot of work to do.
Go to The Hollywood Reporter to check out the full list of new Academy members.
The Academy Continues to Diversify with 774 New Members was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.