Bollywood stars Alia Bhatt and Hrithik Roshan are among 819 artistes and executives who have received invitations to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Those who accept the invitation will have voting rights at the 93rd Academy Awards.
The 2020 invitees also include costume designer Neeta Lulla, documentary director Nishtha Jain (“Gulabi Gang”, “Lakshmi” and “Me”), writer Sabrina Dhawan (“Kaminey”, “Monsoon Wedding”), casting directors Nandini Shrikent (“Gully Boy”, “Life of Pi”) and Tess Joseph (“Lion”), visual effects artists Vishal Anand (“War”, “Bharat”) and Sandeep Kamal (“Panipat”, “Jal”), and V Senthil Kumar, the co-founder of the digital streaming company Qube Cinema Technologies.
With the new list, the Academy continues its work on increasing diversity, reports variety.com. If all 819 invitees accept their invitations, it would bring the total membership to 9,412. In turn, that would mean 45 per cent of the new members will be women and 36 per cent will be from underrepresented ethnic/racial communities. International make-up is 49 per cent from 68 countries.
“The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences. We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now,” Academy president David Rubin said in a statement.
The 2020 batch also boasts of Hollywood names like Cynthia Erivo, John David Washington, Constance Wu, Zazie Beetz, Florence Pugh, Zendaya, Awkwafina, Yalitza Aparicio, Mackenzie Davis, Ana de Armas, Adele Haenel, Thomasin McKenzie, Olivia Wilde and others.
The stars of multiple Oscar-winning South Korean movie “Parasite” — Jang Hye-Jin, Jo Yeo-Jeong, Park So-Dam and Lee Jung-Eun — are also invited to join the Academy. Directors Lulu Wang, Ari Aster, Terence Davies, Matthew Vaughn, Robert Eggers, Matt Reeves, Alma Har’el are on the list as well.
In 2016, the Academy promised to at least double the number of women and underrepresented ethnic/racial communities by this year. “Through dedicated and intentional work by the Board of Governors and members on the branch executive committees, the Academy has surpassed both these goals,” the organisation said.
Now, the Academy wants to advance inclusion and representation in membership and the film community, as part of the goal till 2025. “We take great pride in the strides we have made in exceeding our initial inclusion goals set back in 2016, but acknowledge the road ahead is a long one,” Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said.
“We are committed to staying the course. I cannot give enough thanks to all our members and staff who worked on the A2020 initiative and to our head of Member Relations and Awards, Lorenza Munoz, for her leadership and passion in guiding us through to this point and helping to set the path going forward. We look forward to continuing to foster and Academy that reflects the world around us in our membership, our programs, our new museum, and in our awards,’ Hudson added.
“Actors not only in the West but over here also are working directly on the OTT. (Web) has created a huge opportunity for actors to showcase their talent,” Actress Alia Bhatt said while using the recent success of web series like Sushmita Sen-starrer web series “Aarya” and “Special Ops” series to support her point.
“If I’m offered something that I connect with, I would love to do an investigative type limited TV show. It would be quite interesting,” she added. Alia’s “Sadak 2” is skipping the traditional theatrical route, and going for a digital platform.
On the personal front, the actress said she is spending her lockdown period by learning guitar and doing meditation. “I thought learning guitar would be easy, but it is hard. I have also started taking meditation classes, and helps me keep calm during this time.. I have also spent my time watching content on my TV,” she said.