Over the years, the organisation behind the Oscar Awards has sought to present itself as more diverse and inclusive, gradually improving its gender ratio and racial representation. This year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has sought to improve on these by inviting a record 928 new members from 59 countries.
Nearly half — 49% — of the invitees are women, and if they all accept the invites the overall female representation will improve to 31% from 28% last year. People of colour (non-white) make up 38% of the invitees, which can potentially raise their overall representation to 16% (13% in 2017). In 2016, the Academy had pledged to double these numbers among its members by 2020. Then, just 25% of its members were female and 8% were non-white. The list of invitees shows wide diversity in age too, ranging from 14 years (Quvenzhane Wallis) to 86.
Membership means, among other things, the right to vote for deciding the Oscar winners. New members will be welcomed into the Academy during autumn. The list of 928 includes 21 Indians, eight of them actors, including veterans Soumitra Chatterjee and Madhabi Mukherjee as well as Anil Kapoor and Tabu. Musician A R Rahman and actors Irrfan Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan are already Academy members.
Tip for Reading List: Some deadly serious advice on dying
Advice for Future Corpses is an unusually-named book, and Parul Sehgal, the critic who reviewed it for The New York Times, posted on Twitter that it is “grim, gross and so great”. Palliative-care nurse and Zen Buddhist Sallie Tisdale’s “wild and brilliantly deceptive book” is, Sehgal says in her review, “a putative guide to what happens to the body as it dies and directly after — and how to care for it”. Something that the book itself, No. 9 for Tisdale, says in the descriptive part of its combination title, is “A Practical Perspective on Death and Dying”. The chapter titles are calm and explicit — so as to leave no doubt about what they describe: “Dangerous Situation”, “Resistance”, “A Good Death”, “Communication”, “Last Months”, “Where?”, “Last Weeks”, “Last Days”, “That Moment”, “Bodies”, “Grieving”, and finally, “Joy”. The appendices contain, as the title promises, DIYs and practical news-you-can use: “Preparing a Death Plan”, “Advance Directives”, “Organ and Tissue Donation”, “Assisted Death”. Tisdale begins her book with a disarmingly candid disclaimer: “I have never died, so this entire book is a fool’s advice”. However, she points out, we are just “future corpses pretending we don’t know” — and thus proceeds to talk about death with, as the review in The NYT says, “rare familiarity, even warmth”.