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Academy Announces New, More Diverse Members In Response To #OscarsSoWhite

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It seems that #OscarsSoWhite is finally making a small, but important, difference in Hollywood.

After this year's controversial Oscars, in which no actors or actresses of colour were nominated for any of the big awards, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said they would double the number of women and people of colour in their membership by 2020.

On Wednesday, the Academy announced that they invited a record 683 new members, with 46 per cent of them women, and 41 per cent people of colour.

As a whole, the Academy is now made up of 27 per cent women and 11 per cent people of colour, reports Vulture.

Before the announcement, the Academy was just 25 per cent female and 8 per cent people of colour, reports Variety. This represents a 2 per cent increase in women members and a 3 per cent increase in people of colour.

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New members include Rachel McAdams, Idris Elba, "Room" actress and Oscar-winner Brie Larson, Kate Beckinsale, "Star Wars" actor John Boyega, Emma Watson, "Creed" director Ryan Coogler, "Creed" star Michael B. Jordan, Regina King, America Ferrera, "Ex Machina" star Alicia Vikander and Chadwick Boseman.

“We’re proud to welcome these new members to the Academy, and know they view this as an opportunity and not just an invitation, a mission and not just a membership,” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy president, said in a statement.

The 2016 Oscars were boycotted by prominent players in the industry, including director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith.

“We Cannot Support [The Oscars] And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy," Lee said in a statement. "But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let’s Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can’t Act?! WTF!!”

In reaction to the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, the Academy voted in January to make a series of rule changes that would make its membership more diverse.

Although the Academy is still overwhelmingly made up of white males, this new class of members is a small step in the right direction, which we hope will lead to a more diverse pool of nominees at next year's Oscars and in movie theatres.

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