Just look at the past few years of Academy Award nominees and you can see things are getting better. Yes, there are still some snubs and some films that sneak in for easy nominations, but for the most part, movies like The Shape of Water and Moonlight, films that ten years ago wouldn’t have even broken in, can come away with Best Picture wins. That’s thanks to a younger, more thoughtful and diverse Academy membership that continues to grow.
After 683 new members invited in 2016 and 774 invitations in 2017, the Academy has sent out a whopping 928 invitations to new members. Per THR, the basic requirement is that a candidate must have “demonstrated exceptional achievement in the field of theatrical motion pictures,” although each branch has its own specific requirements.
Some notable invitations include Gemma Arterton, Doona Bae, Christine Baranski, Sofia Boutella, Alice Braga, Alison Brie, Andre Braugher, Hannibal Buress, Dave Chappelle, Emilia Clarke, Ann Dowd, Olivia Colman, Kim Dickens, Elizabeth Debicki, Isla Fisher, Tiffany Haddish, Corey Hawkins, Kumail Nanjiani, Rashida Jones, Mindy Kaling, Daniel Kaluuya, Melanie Lynskey, Jena Malone, Audra McDonald, Wendell Pierce, Alison Pill, Tony Revolori, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Benedict Wong just among the acting branch.
What’s remarkable about the acting branch is how many of the actors are no strangers to comedies. I’m starting to wonder if there may be room for a comic film to try and break through in the years ahead, or at the very least, a comedic performance.
But the larger picture of a more diverse and younger Academy is a welcome sight. When you have a bunch of old white dudes as the voting body, you get a stale slate of nominees, and it’s no surprise that viewership and interest declines. While the Academy still has some work to do on the show itself, hopefully this continuing influx of fresh blood will lead to more exciting nominees and winners.
Check out the full list of invitees below: