Oscars Create Diversity With New Invites And Rule Changes

Are the Oscars really making #OscarsSoWhite a thing of the past? It looks like they might be. As we know, the Academy Awards saw major backlash as they failed to nominate people of color for two years in a row in any major acting categories, despite there being plenty of options in both years. The hashtag OscarsSoWhite was created on Twitter and trended for a second time, and the controversy blew up overnight. Some stars even went on to boycott the ceremony.

Not only did it show what was wrong with a broken voting system, which the majority included white men of an older generation, but it also put a spotlight on the lack of diversity in the film industry. Academy Awards president Cheryl Boone Isaacs promised that although she couldn’t change the industry itself, that she would start to make some changes within the structure of the Academy Awards, and that meant changing a few policies to be more inclusive to minorities and making sure their stories are visible.

Before today’s announcement, back in January, the Academy Awards rolled out a new policy that promised to evaluate a member’s membership status every 10 years. If they haven’t contributed to the film industry in that time, then their membership wouldn’t be renewed.

Now, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has released a historically large list of new inductees, who will be allowed to vote for the upcoming award ceremonies. From the looks of the list, Isaacs was serious about holding her promise that the awards will be more diverse.

In a list of 638 invites, 46 percent are female, and 41 percent are people of color. One special thing to note is that a big chunk of the directors that were invited are women, which opens opportunities for female directors to be nominated. As we know, Kathryn Bigelow is the only female director to win an Academy Award.

Following the release of this year’s invitees, Isaacs issued a statement.

“Today represents a major step toward that goal of inclusion. This organization, from the leadership to the rank-and-file — all 6,000 members — got engaged in the conversation. Because of that, we were able to invite a new group of voices who represent film today and are inclusive.”

Here’s some names that have been highlighted from the new list.

Anthony Anderson – The Departed, Hustle & Flow
Chadwick Boseman – Captain America: Civil War, Get on Up
John Boyega – Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Attack the Block
Enrique Castillo – Déjà Vu, Bound by Honor
Morris Chestnut – G.I. Jane, Boyz N the Hood
Cliff Curtis – Live Free or Die Hard, Training Day
Loretta Devine – Crash, I Am Sam
Carmen Ejogo – Selma, Sparkle
Idris Elba – Beasts of No Nation, Pacific Rim
America Ferrera – Cesar Chavez, End of Watch
Vivica A. Fox – Kill Bill, Independence Day
Luis Guzmán – Punch-Drunk Love, Carlito’s Way
Oscar Isaac – Ex Machina, A Most Violent Year
O’Shea “Ice Cube” Jackson – Ride Along, Friday
Michael B. Jordan – Creed, Fruitvale Station
Daniel Dae Kim – The Divergent Series: Insurgent, Crash
Regina King – Ray, Jerry Maguire
Byung-Hun Lee – Terminator Genisys, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra
Nia Long – Keanu, Boyz N the Hood
Eva Mendes – The Place beyond the Pines, Hitch
Nate Parker – Beyond the Lights, Red Tails
Jorge Perugorría – Che, Strawberry and Chocolate
Silvia Pinal – Vintage Model, The Exterminating Angel
Freida Pinto – Immortals, Slumdog Millionaire
Michelle Rodriguez – Avatar, Girlfight
Anika Noni Rose – For Colored Girls, Dreamgirls
Tessa Thompson – Creed, Dear White People
Lorraine Toussaint – Selma, Middle of Nowhere
Glynn Turman – Super 8, Men of Honor
Gabrielle Union – Top Five, Bad Boys II
Damon Wayans, Jr. – Big Hero 6, Let’s Be Cops
Marlon Wayans – The Heat, Requiem for a Dream

To see the full list click here.

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]