Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences aka the Academy and its outgoing president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, have invited a record 744 new members to its governing body, surpassing the 683 invitations issued in 2016. The Academy has been under pressure to diversify its membership for several years, reaching a crescendo in 2015, when all 20 acting nominees were white, prompting a collective push to ensure the awards show's governing body included more women and people of colour.
Among the invitees this year are Bollywood stars Amitabh Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Salman Khan, Aamir Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Deepika Padukone and Irrfan Khan. "There's no higher organisation in the movie business than the Academy, and to get an invite from them is an honour. I'm glad to see my name on a list, which has such diverse talent and has an amalgamation of the best actors, directors and technicians from around the world of the movie business," Irrfan Khan told mid-day.
In the announcement unveiling this year's invitees, Boone wrote: "We're proud to invite our newest class to the Academy. 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."
The list also consists of Hollywood stars like Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth; Star Wars stalwarts Adam Driver, Riz Ahmed, Domhnall Gleeson and Warwick David; and stars like Dwayne Johnson, Kristen Stewart Gal Gadot. Oscar nominees like Viggo Mortensen, Naomie Harris and Ruth Negga and veteran Betty White, who, at 95, is the oldest of the new invitees. The youngest invitee is Elle Fanning, 19.
Comedy favourites Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph and Kate McKinnon are also on the list. Apart from actors, there were also nominations for directors Barry Jenkins (Best Picture winner Moonlight), Jordan Peele (Get Out), Guy Ritchie (King Arthur: Legend Of The Sword) and the Russo brothers (Captain America: Civil War). This year's class, 39 per cent of which comprises women, reflects a 359% jump from 2015 to 2017. People of colour make up 30 per cent of the total.
The Academy membership is by invitation only, requiring sponsorship by two existing members and the approval of a board of governors. It comprises 15 branches, of which the biggest and most powerful voting bloc comprises actors (1,205 members), making 22 per cent of the total. The members participate in the voting for the awards.