Academy invites record 744 new members amid effort to increase diversity

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It's the second consecutive year that the organization that gives out the Oscars has broken its own record after it invited 638 last year.

The Star Wars saga was also represented Adam Driver, Riz Ahmed, and Donnie Yen among the actors invited to join the Academy. The youngest new recruit is 19-year-old actress Elle Fanning, while the oldest is TV favourite Betty White, who is 95.

At the time, Boone Isaacs and Hudson announced a goal of doubling the number of women and minority members by 2020. 39% of new Academy members are female, AMPAS said, bringing the percentage in the Academy's ranks to 28% overall. Likewise for people of color, as those new members move minority representation from 11% to just 13%. Indeed, while women accounted for about 30% of the invitees from 2011 to 2013, in both 2014 and 2015 that slipped back to about 25% where it had been in the first decade of this century.

Rebel Wilson and Chris Hemsworth have been inducted as Oscars voting members, giving them sway over the entertainment industry's most important night of the year.

There was also a string of Star Wars cast members ushered into the voting pool - a nod not just to the huge success of Rogue One and The Force Awakens, but the way in which Disney has diversified the much-loved franchise.

But for those who received the word of their invitation Wednesday, it carried a sense of honor and validation.

"This class will have a significant impact on the movies awarded even this year".

Other names on the list include actors John Cho, Shailene Woodley, Channing Tatum, Chris Evans and Priyanka Chopra and directors Guy Ritchie, Jocelyn Moorhouse and Alejandro Jodorowsky.

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Two of the stars of last year's Oscars Best Picture victor, "Moonlight" (NOT "La La Land), are also on the list - Naomie Harris and Janelle Monae".

Lee of CJ Group moved to the USA in 2014 and has since been involved in film production and distribution company CJ Entertainment. "But that's not something we're going to accept".

This made incumbent members angry and they expressed outrage at the racist accusations put on them.

Given underlying inequities in the film industry as a whole, however, the challenge of finding qualified people from diverse backgrounds may grow more hard over time.

At this rate, the Academy might as well do what it did for a number of years decades ago: Invite every member of nearly every guild and comparable organization to vote for the Oscars and just call it a day. We're trying to be inclusive.

To help broaden the pool of possible candidates, the academy has reached far outside Los Angeles. Worldwide members hail from 57 different countries.

This article has been updated to include comment from Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

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