Entertainment & Arts

Oscars push for more gender and ethnical diversity

John Boyega Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Star Wars' John Boyega was among the British invitees

The organisers of the Oscars have invited a record number of new members to vote in next year's Academy Awards, in response to criticism of a lack of diversity at this year's ceremony.

Nearly 700 people were invited, with a focus on women and ethnic minorities.

Should all of those agree to join, the demographic of the membership would only slightly change from being mostly white, male and over 60.

Male membership would slip from 75% to 73% - white membership from 92% to 89%.

There are currently more than 6,000 members of the academy.

Almost half the people who have been asked to join are women and almost as many are people of colour.

Image copyright PA/ Getty Images
Image caption [L to R; top row first] America Ferrera, Idris Elba Anika Noni Rose, Brie Larson, Jacob Vargos and Sia have all been invited to join

The new invitees include Star Wars actor John Boyega, Swedish Oscar winner Alicia Vikander, Beasts of No Nation star Idris Elba and Tina Fey the Academy said in a statement, which listed the invitees in full.

Boyega tweeted his gratitude at being invited to join, saying that it was "always a blessing to be one of the many Oscar voters that will hopefully spark change".

Other British inclusions include Harry Potter star Emma Watson and Belle director Amma Asante, who wrote: "I cannot lie. I like this!"

Brie Larson, who won the best actress Oscar this year for her performance in Room, was also invited.

She tweeted: "I got in! Excited to use my vote to nominate talent that reflects the real world we live in - DIVERSITY."

From the music world Sia, Mary J Blige, will.i.am and Ice Cube have been nominated.

Ugly Betty star America Ferrera also thanked the Academy, tweeting that it was a chance to "create opportunity" for others.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Should all invitees agree to join the Academy, white membership will drop from 92% to 89%

Dreamgirls and Roots actress Anika Noni Rose, also tweeted her gratitude.

"I'd like to thank @TheAcademy!...for welcoming me (& so many fabulous artists) to the class of 2016."

Jacob Vargos who has starred in The 33 and Jarhead, thanked Lou Diamond Phillips and Esai Morales on Twitter for nominating him.

"Thank you @TheAcademy for inviting me join this group of talented film makers. I am truly honoured," he said.

Oscars shake-up

For the second year in a row, all of the acting nominees at February's 88th Academy Awards were white, sparking an outcry.

The protests led to an unprecedented debate about racial equality in the film industry - characterised on social media by the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite - and caused several Hollywood stars to boycott the awards ceremony.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences then agreed to a shake up of its membership - traditionally seen as old, white and male - to bring in more women and members of ethnic minorities.

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