After #OscarsSoWhite scandal, the Academy got itself some new members.
683 executives and filmmakers have been invited to join the academy as part of the ‘Class of 2016’, and 41 per cent are people of colour. After the #OscarsSoWhite scandal in which no actors of colour were nominated for any awards, the committee seems to be working on its commitment to double ethnic-minority and female membership by 2020.
They’ve even prepared a handy infographic to prove it. According to the Academy’s website 283 are new international members from 59 countries. 46 per cent of new members are female. Actors like rising star John Boyega are raising the diversity quota and lowering the average age. He’s one of the youngest new members at the age of 24.
These figures might sound impressive but remember they’re joining 6,000 members (mostly white, old men). So, the percentage of female members goes from 25 to 27 per cent. The percentage of people of colour goes from 8 to 11 per cent.
Looking on the positive side, here are some of the Africans who’ll get a say on who wins an Oscar next year.
God bless Stringer Bell. He’s come a long way.
Cissé is a pioneer in Mali, having created close to a dozen films during his career which started in the late 60s. The Malian film director’s last film Tell Me Who You Are was screened at the 2009 Cannes Film Festival.
Asante is the screenwriter and film director of Belle, which follows the life of a mixed-raced aristocrat who fights to abolish slavery in 17th century England.
The Bye Bye Africa director is from Chad. His last film Grigris was nominated for a Palme d’Or.
Liberian director Dunye tackles issues like race, sexuality and gender in her films.
Boyega of Star Wars fame is in the youngest bracket of newly invited members. What did he think about his invitation? ‘Always a blessing to be one of the many Oscar voters that will hopefully spark change. Big thanks!’
You’ll next be seeing him in the adaptation of Dave Eggers’ book about a Google-like business The Circle.
El Fani is a seasoned cinematographer whose work includes Timbuktu and Abdellatif Kechiche’s Blue Is The Warmest Colour.
French-Tunisian director is behind the French blockbuster Blue Is the Warmest Colour. The love story between two women went on to win a Palme d’Or.
OK, OK, they’re African American and not strictly African but we can’t help but be psyched that Chadwick Boseman, Ice Cube, Will.i.am, Michael B Jordan, Ryan Coogler, Michelle Rodrigues and Anika Noni Rose (the feisty sister in Half of a Yellow Sun) among others have also been invited to join the Oscars crew.
They’ll be watching the films nominated for awards and casting their vote on who should win. It is a poisoned chalice though; these young stars will still have to sit through hundreds of films directed, produced and starring… yes, you guessed it… old, white men.
But hopefully this is just the beginning of change. And next time actors like Michael B. Jordan might be nominated… instead of Sylvester Stallone.
Check out the full list of invited members here.