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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has issued 774 invitations to new members, and the list has a big contingent of Indian actors, writers, directors and other celebs. The body organises and grants Oscars every year. The list of Bollywood actors is headed by Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Irrfan Khan, Aamir Khan and Salman Khan. However, Shah Rukh Khan is a major miss from the list and we wonder why.
A report in the Hollywood Reporter suggests that topping the record 683 invites last year, the Oscar-granting body has now issued 744 invites. Other than actors, Indian directors such as Mrinal Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Goutam Ghose, writer Sooni Taraporevala, costume designer Arjun Bhasin, documentary maker Anand Patwardhan and sound designer Amrit Pritam Dutta also find their name on the list.
The Indians will rub shoulders with Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Gal Gadot, all famous for their superhero roles, who were also invited to join the actors’ branch. Other actors receiving invites include White, Dwayne Johnson, Riz Ahmed, Terry Crews, Chris Pratt, Anna Faris, Donald Glover and Zoe Kravitz. Several ‘Saturday Night Live’ alumnae were also invited: Amy Poehler, Molly Shannon, Maya Rudolph and current stars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones.
The film academy reports that its new class is 39 percent female and 30 percent non-white. The organization has been diversifying its ranks after two years of (hash)OscarsSoWhite and criticism of its overwhelmingly white and male voting body. Women now comprise 28 percent of academy membership and non-whites account for 13 percent.
“This conversation that the academy has been having for the last couple years has really energized our base, has really energized our members and the community,” Academy’s president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said.
The HR report said, “That number is more than the record 683 invitations that were issued in 2016, and well above the 322 invites that went out in 2017 as the Academy has made a concerted effort to diversify it’s membership ranks by bringing in more women, people of color and filmmakers from around the world.” After the #OscarSoWhite debate in the last few years, there has been a concerted push to make the Oscars more diverse and representative of people from around the world.
The report also stated, “The basic requirement is that a candidate must have demonstrated exceptional achievement in the field of theatrical motion pictures, although each branch then has its own specific requirements.”
This move by the academy is being seen as to diversity push that started a little before 2014. Because of the lack of diversity in acting nominees, which was called out and condemned to be color biased, a protest hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite, had also headlined to bring up the issue. After 2015, the Academy was pressurised to redouble their efforts to bring in diversity, and this move has definitely opened gates for many of our Indian talent, this move is also seen as to globalise the Oscars, and open it to the world.