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Academy Adding More Minority Members to Ensure Oscars are More Diverse

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After facing pointed criticism for a perceived lack of racial and gender diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has announced a two-pronged strategy to ensure the awards selection process is more inclusive.

Variety reports the AMPAS will announce invitations to new members Friday, and plans to continue an “aggressive outreach” to minority individuals who will expand its demographic beyond the predominant group of 50 and up white males.

Additionally, voting for new board members began June 24, and candidates include directors Ava DuVernay and Lisa Cholodenko, cinematographers Guillermo Navaro and Daryn Okada, actress Amy Madigan and producer Kathleen Kennedy, per Variety.

Board voting will conclude on July 2.

The Academy has generally sent out about 130 new membership invitations each year, until 2013, when that number was doubled to be more inclusive of women, racial minorities and voters in other countries.

The AMPAS reportedly hopes to better reflect the “realities of filmmaking around the world,” and to add “new voices.”

Oscar nominees and winners are selected by Academy members who were reported to be 94 percent white, 2 percent African American and less than 2 percent Latino in 2012.

Seventy-seven percent of AMPAS members in 2012 were male with an average age was 62.

The discussion was renewed in January, after the civil rights drama Selma(DuVernay) failed to secure several major nominations, leading many to claim the film had been snubbed for its mostly black cast, crew, and storyline.


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