Oscars invite record 322 new members in push for diversity

Turns out that neither Eddie Redmayne or J.K. Simmons could count on their own votes to put them over the top in at this year’s Oscars. On Friday, it was announced that these two stars number among the record 322 people invited to join the motion picture academy. Also making the cut are four of this year’s other first-time Oscar nominees: Benedict Cumberbatch, Felicity Jones, Rosamund Pike and Emma Stone. (See the full list HERE.)

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Last year, the academy invited 271 people to join, a slight drop from the 276 asked to the party in 2013. In turn, that had been a 57% bump from the 176 additions in 2012. This larger number of invitations follows the elimination of a quota system that had restricted the number of new members in years past.

As of late, the academy has been making a concerted effort to expand its ranks to include more minority and female members. However, while women accounted for about 30% of the invitees from 2011 to 2013, last year and this that number is back to about 25% where it had been in the first decade of this century. 

Regardless, the press release touting today’s announcement is headlined “As filmmaking evolves, so do we.” And it includes this message from academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “It’s gratifying to acknowledge the extraordinary range of talent in our industry. This year, our branches have recognized a more diverse and inclusive list of filmmakers and artists than ever before, and we look forward to adding their creativity, ideas and experience to our organization.”

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