Directly honoring its pledge of more diversity, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has included 46% women and 41% people of color among the potential new members. The 683-member invitation list was revealed on Wednesday (29.06.2016).
Actors Emma Watson, Idris Elba, America Ferrera, Oscar Isaac, Vivica A. Fox, Morris Chestnut (pictured, left to right), as well as John Boyega, Eva Mendes and this year's Best Actress Oscar winner Brie Larson were among the people invited.
With invitees aged 24 to 91, the Academy's list also includes a broader generational range.
Calls to boycott the glitzy event and angry social media reactions under the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite thundered last February when all 20 nominees in the main acting categories at this year's Oscars were white for the second year in a row.
If most of those invited this year agree to join, the Academy's membership demographic will begin to change from its current status as mainly white, male and mostly over age 60.
Fundamentally diversifying the organization's 6,000-plus voting members will take time, however.
According to the Academy, if this year's invitees were all to join, male membership, currently at 75 percent, would drop to 73 percent. White members, who make up 92 percent, would decrease to 89 percent.
In a new rule implemented this year, the voting status for all new members will last just 10 years, to be renewed only if they have been active in movies during that time.
Are they actual film experts?
While many in the industry praised the Academy's initiative for more diversity, others questioned whether all those invited deserved the honor.
"Some are widely known and unquestionably talented, but their achievements in the film realm, as opposed to other media, seem lacking," wrote Scott Feinberg, an analyst for "The Hollywood Reporter," an entertainment magazine.
Examples Feinberg mentioned are Tina Fey of the iconic comedy show "Saturday Night Live" and America Ferrera of the TV comedy series "Ugly Betty."
Feinberg observed that some of the younger talents on the invitation list have little professional experience, while other invitees have made popular movies that would never be considered for an Academy Award.
"True, a little bit of progress is better than no progress," he wrote. "But I'm not convinced that an Academy with more diverse but less qualified members is a better Academy."
eg/rf (AFP, dpa)