Entertainment

Oscars academy welcomes 842 new members, half of them women

The U.S. Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has invited 842 members from 59 countries to the Oscars organization and, for the first time, reached gender parity in its new class of inductees.

Animated filmmakers Domee Shi and Trevor Jimenez among Canadians invited

The U.S. Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has invited 842 members, including actors Lady Gaga, from left, Sterling K. Brown, Gemma Chan and Anupam Kher. (Associated Press)

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has invited 842 members from 59 countries to the Oscars organization and, for the first time, reached gender parity in its new class of inductees.

Half of the new invitees to the film academy are women. In 10 of the 17 branches — including the directing, writing and producing branches — more women than men were invited. This year's class of new members, introduced on Monday,  also includes 29 per cent people of colour.

That's a notable turnaround for an organization that has sought to diversity its ranks following criticism for all-white acting nominees in 2015 and 2016.

Since 2015, the group's overall female membership has grown from 25 per cent to 32 per cent, the academy said. Overall membership of people of colour has doubled, from 8 per cent to 16 per cent.

To aid in the swift overhaul of the academy, the group last year invited a record 928 members. While smaller, this year's class still ranks as one of the academy's largest in its 92-year history.

New invitees include Lady Gaga, Sterling K. Brown, Gemma Chan, Claire Foy, Letitia Wright, Tom Holland and Adele.

Newly invited directors include Crazy Rich Asians filmmaker Jon Chu, The Babadook director Jennifer Kent and the filmmaking duo of Phil Lord and Chris Miller.

Canadians asked to join the academy include animated filmmakers Domee Shi and Trevor Jimenez and director Frances-Anne Solomon.

If most accept their invites, the film academy will number more than 9,000 members.

Next year's Academy Awards will be held on Feb. 9, several weeks earlier than usual.