A veteran “Fast & Furious” filmmaker, the actor who played Harry Potter and one of the anchors of the “Pitch Perfect” franchise were among the 322 people invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday.
Justin Lin, Daniel Radcliffe and Elizabeth Banks’ fellow invitees include comic actor Kevin Hart, “Gone Girl” star Rosamund Pike, South Korean auteur Bong Joon-ho, “Selma” star David Oyelowo and fanboy favorite director Edgar Wright.
The invitation of filmmakers and performers like Lin, Banks and Oyelowo underscores how in recent years the academy has been trying to diversify its largely white, older membership, which numbers more than 6,000.
The academy does not release demographic information on its members, but three years ago a Los Angeles Times study found that the group was overwhelmingly white and male: 94% of Oscar voters were Caucasian, 77% were male. Academy members were found to have a median age of 62.
The underrepresentation of women and people of color on both sides of the camera has become a hot-button issue in contemporary Hollywood. Earlier this year, the academy came under fire when all 20 of the Oscar acting nominations went to white performers for only the second time since 1998. Backlash on social media spawned the hashtag #oscarssowhite.
And last month, the ACLU urged state and federal agencies to investigate gender discrimination at major Hollywood studios, networks and talent agencies, asserting that women are “systematically excluded from or underemployed in directing jobs.”
In 2013, after The Times’ initial academy study, the organization softened its membership quotas. Previously, the group would invite about the same number of people as had died, retired or resigned.
Individuals gain entry by earning an Oscar nomination, getting two members to pen recommendations or receiving an endorsement from an academy membership committee or the organization’s staff.
This year’s class is 51 more than last year, when the academy admitted 271 to its ranks — about 100 more than in 2012.
Although recent classes have been noticeably more diverse than in past years, it will likely take considerable time to change the face of the academy in a material way because new members make up such a small percentage of the constituency.
A deeper analysis of this year’s academy invitees will be published by The Times later today.