Zendaya invited to join Academy

BANG! NEWS – Zendaya and Awkwafina are among 819 stars invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as part of the organisation’s push for diversity in its members.

The two stars, along with the likes of Ana DeArmas, Ryan Murphy, Cynthia Erivo, Matthew Cherry, Constance Wu, John David Washington, Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde, were asked to join the Academy on Tuesday as part of the organisation’s ongoing campaign to diversify its membership.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, of the new batch of invitees, 36 per cent are people of colour, 45 per cent are female, and 49 per cent are based outside of the United States (US).

Academy President David Rubin said in a statement, “The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travellers in the motion picture arts and sciences. We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now.”

Other famous faces asked to join the Academy this week include Yalitza Aparicio, Zazie Beetz, Bobby Cannavale, Ana de Armas, Kaitlyn Dever, Beanie Feldstein, Tim McGraw, Natasha Lyonne, Eva Longoria, Niecy Nash and Thomasin McKenzie. The invitations were issued shortly after the Academy announced they were launching the next phase of their inclusion initiative, Academy Aperture 2025.

This new phase will include the creation of a task force “to develop and implement new representation and inclusion standards for Oscars eligibility by July 31, 2020”.

In addition, all Academy governors, executive committee members and staff will have to attend unconscious bias training, while all members will also be given the opportunity to participate.

A series of panels, ‘Academy Dialogue: It Starts With Us’, which will touch on topics including race, ethnicity, history, and filmmaking will also be staged.

The 2021 Oscars will be the first with 10 guaranteed Best Picture nominees, as in previous years the shortlist could include anything from five to 10 movies.

Academy members will be able to view films released all year through the company’s own Academy Screening Room site, to give movies more exposure and to “level the playing field, and ensure all eligible films can be seen by voting members”.