Oscars Make Great Stride Toward Diversity

FILE - In this Feb. 21, 2015 file photo, an Oscar statue appears outside the Dolby Theatre for the 87th Academy Awards in Los Angeles. The largest black audience for the Academy Awards over the last dozen years came in 2005, when Chris Rock was host and Jamie Foxx and Morgan Freeman won the top male acting awards. Rock will be back as host this year, but it's an open question how many African American viewers will be tuning in. A lack of diversity in Oscar nominations have led to stars like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith calling for a boycott of the Academy Awards, scheduled for Feb. 28. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently invited 683 industry professionals to join the historic organization. The difference this year; a significant number of those invited are ether women or minorities. All of this, of course, coming off the famous #OscarSoWhite controversy surrounding the Academy Awards earlier this year. The popular hashtag represented an outrage among many after all the major categories featured entirely white nominees for the second year in a row. Of course, the issue stems much deeper than simple Academy voters, who are almost entirely white males, refusing to nominate those who are female or of other races. The problem stems from an institutional standpoint of the kind of roles and movies that are made for certain sections of the population.

However, that did not stop Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is herself a black female, from addressing problems with diversity among the organization itself and pushing for changes that would increase the number of female and minority members.”The Academy is going to lead, and not wait for the industry to catch up,” Isaacs said earlier this year. Of the 683 individuals invited to join the organization, 46% are women and 41% are people of color. The Academy also trying to broaden its global representation by inviting 283 individuals from 59 different countries. Among those invited are individuals such as recent Best-Actress winner Brie Larson, “Star Wars” star John Boyega, Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordan, Emma Watson, Tina Fey, Oscar Isaac, Tom Hiddleston and even rapper Ice Cube.

The organization’s decision to broaden the diversity of its members won’t fully fix the industry’s problems, those a part of the Academy, including Isaacs herself, acknowledge that there is still a great deal of work to be done. However, this recent batch of Academy members marks an important move forward for the organization and offers a larger change for individuals of various different background to take home gold.