Leading stars from the Indian film industry, such as Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone and Aishwarya Rai are among a record 774 people from 57 countries invited to join a group that chooses the annual Oscars as the Academy Awards seek to diversify its predominantly white male membership.
Bollywood superstar Salman Khan, Irrfan Khan, “Monsoon Wedding” costume designer Arjun Bhasin, writer Sooni Taraporevala and documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan are among other invitees from India. Filmmakers Goutam Ghose and Buddhadeb Dasgupta are also on the list. Indian-origin visual effects director Mohit Kallianpur, behind animated films like “Frozen” and “Tangled,” is also on the list.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced last week that it had invited 774 new members, including Justin Timberlake, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot and Amy Poehler. It’s the second consecutive year that the organization that gives out the Oscars has broken its own record after it invited 638 last year.
A number of other high-profile actors made the cut, including Riz Ahmed, Priyanka Chopra, Adam Driver, Domhnall Gleeson, Donald Glover, Dwayne Johnson, Leslie Jones, Channing Tatum, Kristen Stewart and Shailene Woodley.
The Academy has endeavored in recent years to increase diversity among its exclusive ranks, clearly exhibited by this year’s list. The new class, whose members originate from 57 countries, is 39 percent female and 30 percent people of color. This number bumps the overall female membership level to 28 percent, from last year’s 27. People of color will now make up 13 percent of the Academy’s members, versus the previous 11 percent. This effort follows the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in 2015 and 2016, when all 20 acting nominees were white.
The diversity extends to age as well. At 95, Betty White is the oldest of those invited. (No, she wasn’t already a member.) Elle Fanning, 19, is the youngest. Invited directors include David Ayer (“Suicide Squad”), Garth Davis (“Lion”), Tom Ford (“Nocturnal Animals”), Barry Jenkins (“Moonlight”) and Jordan Peele (“Get Out”).
A full list of invited members – in various branches, from acting to design to visual effects – is available on the Academy’s website. According to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences website, the 2017 invitees come from 57 countries, with the list comprising 39 percent female and 30 percent people of color.
“We’re proud to invite our newest class to the Academy. The entire motion picture community is what we make of it,” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President, said in a statement. “It’s up to all of us to ensure that new faces and voices are seen and heard, and to take a shot on the next generation the way someone took a shot on each of us.”