The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has elected its Board of Governors for the 2019-2020 season, as well as invited 842 new members from 50 countries to the organization that votes on who will win Oscars. And while those numbers are staggering, it’s the representation behind it all that is most impressive.
According to Entertainment Weekly, those 842 people are comprised of 50 per cent women and 29 per cent people of colour — and that could, and should, change everything going forward. The Academy has always been one of the biggest, most privileged stages around. To put that into perspective, in 2014, it was 94 per cent white and 77 per cent male. But with these new stats, we’re hoping progress can and will be made.
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) July 1, 2019
Some of the new invitees include Sterling K. Brown, Lady Gaga, Tom Holland, Gemma Chan, Jon M. Chu, Claire Foy, Archie Panjabi, Winston Duke, Adele, Marina de Tavira, Nisha Ganatra, Mélanie Laurent, Kay Cannon, Gillian Flynn and Marti Noxon. The potential newbies would up the overall female membership to 32 per cent from 25 per cent, while POC represent 16 per cent overall (up from 8 per cent last year).
It was in 2016 — months after the #OscarsSoWhite criticism — that the Academy announced their initiative to increase diversity by 2020. Because all-white performers getting votes from older, white males was getting, well, old. Those invited this year have to formally accept before joining and making it official. And if they want to help make a difference, they will be among the film academy’s highest numbers, at more than 9,000 members.
For next year’s telecast, on Feb. 9, here’s hoping the nominees better reflect the world we live in. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.