Following the backlash of #OscarsSoWhite, and in an effort to increase diversity within the organization, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sent a record number of invitations to new members.
The Academy issued 683 invitations for the class of 2016, of which 46% are women and 41% are people of color. But only about 8% are Latinos, with slightly more than 50 on the list of actors, directors, cinematographers, producers, writers, film editors, composers, costume designers, and other film industry professionals.
Several of the invitees are from Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Mexico and Spain.
Among the actors invited: Julie Carmen, Enrique Castillo, America Ferrera, Luis Guzmán, Oscar Isaac, Sal Lopez, Ignacio López Tarso, Eva Mendes, Marisa Paredes, Jorge Perugorría, Silvia Pinal, Michelle Rodriguez, Cecilia Roth, Pepe Serna, Jacob Vargas, and Daphne Zuniga.
If all the invitees accept, the new members would slowly start changing the demographics of the Academy, criticized for being too white, old and male.
Just to get a sense of the organization’s composition, before the Academy announced its 2016 list on June 29, it had 6,261 voting members – about 92% white and 75% male.
The invitees would increase the female membership from 25% to 27% and minority membership from 8% to 11%.
According to THR, last year, the Academy issued 322 invitations, slightly more than the 271 it sent out in 2014 and 276 in 2014. In previous years, less than 200 candidates were sent invitations.
Some will question why many minorities who have been in the business for decades weren’t previously invited.
Part of the problem is that to be considered for membership, “candidates must be sponsored by two members of the branch they will be invited to join” and meet a series of requirements. Even then, there were no guarantees.
That was the case of actress Lupe Ontiveros, who had a 35-year career in film and television, had the support of two members of the Academy, and yet, was denied membership.
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has said she wants to double the number of women and minorities in the organization. In a statement, she expressed the new class shows the Academy’s commitment to truly reflect the talent in the industry:
“We’re proud to welcome these new members to the Academy, and know they view this as an opportunity and not just an invitation, a mission and not just a membership.
This class continues our long-term commitment to welcoming extraordinary talent reflective of those working in film today.”
— America Ferrera (@AmericaFerrera) June 29, 2016
— Jacob Vargas (@TheJacobVargas) June 29, 2016
— Daphne Zuniga (@DaphneZuniga) June 30, 2016