Academy Invites Idris Elba, John Boyega, Michael B. Jordan in Diversity Push

Idris Elba and John Boyega
Idris Elba and John Boyega

Academy Invites Idris Elba, John Boyega in Diversity Push

Addressing the #OscarsSoWhite complaints of a lack of diversity, the movie Academy invited a record 683 new members, boosting the percentage of women and people of color, officials said Wednesday.

The new invitees included actors Idris Elba, John Boyega and Michael B. Jordan, actresses Brie Larson, Emma Watson and Kate Beckinsale and director Ryan Coogler.

Academy President Cheryl Boone Issacs said in a statement:

“On behalf of the Academy, I am honored to extend membership invitations to 683 distinguished filmmakers, artists and executives who represent the best in our global film community, and who have made a lasting impact on movie fans everywhere.

“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. We encourage the larger creative community to open its doors wider, and create opportunities for anyone interested in working in this incredible and storied industry.”

After an all-white slate of actors and actresses was nominated at last year’s Oscars for the second year in a row, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it was stepping up its efforts to diversity the ranks of membership and leadership.

With the new members, the Academy went from 25 percent female to 27 percent, and from 8 percent people of color to 11 percent, officials said.

The controversy over the Oscars was seen as just one part of widespread lack of diversity throughout Hollywood, with white men dominating jobs in front of and behind the cameras and in the talent agencies.

One recent report found that only a small percentage of feature films in the last two years were directed by women or minorities, and that four studios had no female directors at all. The Directors Guild of America’s inaugural Feature Film Diversity Report found that white men made up 82.4 percent of the directors of feature films released in 2013 and 2014, and only 6.4 percent were women and 12.5 percent minorities.

Federal officials have launched a widespread investigation into hiring practices in the entertainment industry. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sent letters to women directors last October and began conducting extensive interviews late last year in a probe prompted by the American Civil Liberties Union.