The Oscars Just Took Another Big Leap Towards Actually Becoming a Diverse Organization

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In the latest chapter of its push for diversity—spurred by film consumers from all backgrounds who object to the ways that people who aren’t white men are shut out of the film industry—the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka the people behind the Oscars) announced Wednesday that it added 774 new members from 57 countries, including a lot of women and a lot of people of color.


Among the actors invited to join the class of 2017: Riz Ahmed, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, John Cho, Priyanka Chopra, Terry Crews, Adam Driver, Elle Fanning, Gal Gadot, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Donald Glover, Jon Hamm, Naomie Harris, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Leslie Jones, Rinko Kikuchi, Zoe Kravitz, Rami Malek, Janelle Monáe, Maya Rudolph, Kristen Stewart, Betty White, Rebel Wilson, and BD Wong. Director Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and actor and director Jordan Peele (Get Out) were also invited.

The Academy trumpeted its big leaps in diversity, though they are really just signs of how bad things have been. For instance, there has been a 359% increase in women invited to join since 2015, which sounds like a huge jump. But still, only 28% of the overall membership are women. There’s also been a 331% increase in people of color invited to join—bringing the percentage of the people of color in the Academy from 8% in 2015 to a whopping 13% now. Better, but not nearly good enough.

This past year, the Oscar nominations were the most diverse since 2006, although it remains to be seen if that signals meaningful change or if it was a fluke. Hopefully, a more inclusive Academy can help maintain the burgeoning recognition of diverse talent.

Isha is a staff reporter who covers pop culture, representation in media, and your new faves.