The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has issued 774 invitations to new members, the Oscar-granting body announced on Wednesday.
In 2016, 683 invitations were issued. The Academy has made a joint effort to expand its membership ranks by bringing in more women, people of color and filmmakers from around the world. The acting branch alone has got a whopping 105 invites, which is a reflection of the diversity the Academy has been pursuing.
The invitees include ‘Avengers’ headliners like Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth; ‘Star Wars’ stalwarts like Adam Driver, Riz Ahmed, Domhnall Gleeson and Warwick David; box-office stars like Dwayne Johnson, Kristen Stewart and the newly crowned ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot; Chris Pratt from ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’, comic performers Leslie Jones, Keegan-Michael Key and Wanda Sykes; recent Oscar nominees, Viggo Mortensen, Naomie Harris and Ruth Negga; and even veteran show-biz legend Betty White, who, at the age of 95, is the oldest of the new invitees. The youngest invitee is Elle Fanning, aged 19.
The list represents artists from 57 countries, which includes 39 percent female and 30 percent people of color. Seven of the Academy branches — actors, casting directors, costume designers, documentary, executives and film editors — invited more women than men.
Justin Timberlake, who brought down the house with his rousing opening performance of ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ from ‘Trolls’ during February’s Oscar broadcast, was also invited to join the club.
The directors branch — which invited 64 new members — welcomed Barry Jenkins of Oscar winner ‘Moonlight'(who was also invited to join the writers branch), Garth Davis (‘Lion’) and Tom Ford (‘Nocturnal Animals’).
Indian actors Amitabh Bacchan (‘The Great Gatsby’), Aishwarya Rai Bacchan (‘Devdas’), Priyanka Chopra (‘Baywatch’, ‘Barfi’), Salman Khan (‘Sultan’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’), Aamir Khan (‘3 Idiots’, ‘Lagaan’) and Irrfan Khan (‘Life of Pi’, ‘Slumdog Millionaire’) have also received invites.