Young actresses Awkwafina, Zendaya and Constance Wu were among those who got the invitation to be a part of Hollywood’s prestigious Academy on Tuesday, as the Oscars-awarding club opened its gateways to miscellaneous new members.
The Oscars this year was not welcomed for nominating just one non-white actor and so the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has given all efforts to boost female and ethnic minority membership in recent times.“The majority of actors invited to join this year were women, and more than half were from “underrepresented ethnic/racial communities,” said an Academy statement.
“We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now,” reflected Academy President David Rubin.
Comedian and rapper Awkwafina has gained immense recognition in Hollywood and added a Golden Globe for Chinese-American family drama “The Farewell” to her credit but humiliated at the Oscars.
She was invited to join Tuesday along with former Disney child star Zendaya (“Spider-Man: Far from Home”) and Constance Wu, who earned praise for her performances in “Hustlers” and “Crazy Rich Asians.”
The Academy has grown as a vast international body in recent years, tripling its non-US membership since 2015. Only members constituting the Academy can cast vote for Oscar winners, so this trend was seen as a factor in “Parasite” becoming the first-ever non-English language best picture winner this year.
Crew and cast members from the South Korean black comedy were also invited to join Tuesday. Its director Bong Joon-ho was already an Academy member.
The board of governors took a pledge four years ago to increase the number of women to double and non-white members by 2020, following calls to shun the glamorous Oscars and sharing a raging social media backlash under the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
The plan towards achieving racial equality in Hollywood has come under extensive examination since the ruthless killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis last month, which sparked nationwide protests under the banner of “Black Lives Matter.”
Movie studios and stars have stepped forward to extend their support for the movement, from public statements and inclusion initiatives to the elimination of TV episodes featuring “blackface” and warnings over outdated titles such as “Gone with the Wind.” The Academy has now transcended its membership goals, with 45 percent of this year’s intake women, and 36 percent minorities.
Attainment of these targets has miraculously improved the entire framework of the Academy membership, which was traditionally structured at around 6,000 members.
Earlier this month, the Academy decided to introduce new eligibility rules to boost diversity among Oscars nominees. It did not reveal any further details about the new rules but said the innovations are intended to “encourage equitable hiring practices and representation on and off screen.”