Motion Picture Academy announces 800 new members

Photo: Michael Tran (Getty Images)

Over the last few years, the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences has actively tried to diversify its ranks, at least partially in hopes of avoiding another #OscarsSoWhite controversy, which means every new batch of members lately has involved some unexpectedly cool and well-deserving picks. In theory, that means The Oscars themselves will gradually embrace more unexpectedly cool and well-deserving winners, which means Hollywood itself will move toward funding more cool and diverse projects since those now win Oscars, and then more cool and diverse filmmakers will get opportunities that have traditionally been set aside for boring white men.

That brings us to this year’s new members, of which there are 819, bringing the total number fairly close to a staggering 10,000 (which is so many). The Academy has released a handy chart showing just how diverse the new class is, and while it’s clear that it is an improvement over how things used to be, it’s worth noting that it could still be much better. For example, 45 percent of the new members are women and 36 percent are from “underrepresented ethnic/racial communities,” but only 33 percent of all members are women and only 19 percent are from underrepresented communities. The Academy is proud to note that those numbers have doubled and tripled (respectively) since 2015, but if you double the number of women and it’s still only 33 percent… that’s not super great.

But hey, progress is progress, and as noted above, there are some cool names in this class (which comes via The Playlist). In the actor category, highlights include Awkwafina, Zazie Beetz, Zendaya Coleman, Mackenzie Davis, Ana de Armas, Cynthia Erivo, Beanie Feldstein, Brian Tyree Henry, most of the cast of Parasite, Niecy Nash, Lakeith Stanfield, Constance Wu, Florence Pugh, and Olivia Wilde. Also, though they are white men, Ben Mendelsohn and (for some reason) Tim McGraw. For directors, the newcomers include Ari Aster, Robert Eggers, and Alma Har’el. You can see the full list, which also includes producers, casting directors, and other people who make movies but don’t get on the poster, at the Playlist link up above.

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