The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has issued 774 invitations to new members, and the list has a big contingent of Indian actors, writers, directors and other celebs. This move by the academy is being seen as to diversity push that started a little before 2014. Because of the lack of diversity in acting nominees, which was called out and condemned to be color biased, a protest hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite, had also headlined to bring up the issue.
This time, the Academy has acknowledged the star power of Bollywood by inviting Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Priyanka Chopra, Deepika Padukone, Aamir Khan, Salman Khan, and Irrfan Khan to the actor’s branch.
Other than actors, Indian directors such as Mrinal Sen, Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Goutam Ghose, writer Sooni Taraporevala, costume designer Arjun Bhasin, documentary maker Anand Patwardhan and sound designer Amrit Pritam Dutta also find their name on the list.
The pressure on Academy to redouble their efforts to bring in diversity, and this move has definitely opened gates for many of our Indian talent, this move is also seen as to globalise the Oscars, and open it to the world.
Irrfan Khan and Priyanka Chopra have made their mark in Bollywood and Hollywood alike. Bachchan father and daughter-in-law duo is one of the unique pairs invited this year. Deepika Padukone made the head turns in her Hollywood debut ‘xXx: The Return of Xander Cage‘. Aamir Khan’s ‘Dangal‘ has grossed over Rs2000 crore globally until last weekend. His Lagaan was nominated for Oscars 2002 in foreign language category. Salman Khan has been a force to reckon with when it comes to Bollywood box office numbers.
The new Academy members hail from 57 countries across the globe. The class of 2017 is 39% women and 30% people of colour. Actors, Casting directors, costume designers, documentary executives, and editors are the five categories that invited more women than men. The youngest Academy member is 19 and the oldest is 95.