An Oscar is the worthiest award you can get in the world of film, and the Academy has invited a record large class of 774 new members into the club. Dwayne The Rock Johnson is arguably the biggest star in the 2017 class, and he is joined by Kristen Stewart, Betty White, Joss Whedon, Priyanka Chopra and Justin Timberlake.
There are 39% of women in the new class which raises the total women’s share from 27% to 28%. Another 30% are people of color, which means that the number of minorities in the Academy increased from 11% to 13%, whereas the youngest member is only 19 and the oldest 65.
The industry set new inclusion goals last year, and this is the second class of new members the Academy has invited ever since that. Two years in a row, there were all white acting nominees which caused an outcry about the representation in the movie industry, or to be more precise, the lack of it.
Thus, the Academy had to expand the class size significantly in the last two years, and if all the invitees accepted their invitations this year, the membership number will stop at 8,427. The President of the Academy Cheryl Boone Isaacs said: “People have said that to me. We’re not trying to be big. We’re trying to be inclusive. Because the industry is expanding. For a number of years we had a quota. That was then. As the entertainment business expands, we’re expanding too.”
However, the Academy started to welcome artists who are not famous for their film success, and these include Leslie Jones, Terry Crews and Rami Malek. Having opened the door wider for the newcomers caused some controversy, and the former Academy president Hawk Koch said: “There aren’t that many qualified people, period, of any race or gender, to invite each year.“
You can see the full list of invitees at the Academy website.