Cheryl Boone Isaacs is one film industry leader who is taking the #OscarsSoWhite criticism to heart and instituting change.
Back in January, Isaacs, president of the Oscar-granting Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, publicly announced the academy’s plan to double the number of women and members from diverse backgrounds by 2020. And on Wednesday, the academy took the first important step toward that goal by inviting 683 new members into the fold.
This year’s 683 invitees are double the number of 322 invited last year. Also, 46 percent are female and 41 percent are people of color. Even as astounding as those numbers sound, it’s still a long road ahead. Doubling the invitees will only move overall female membership in the academy from 25 percent to 27 percent, and that of members of color from 8 percent to 11 percent.
Still, being invited is an exciting first step. Below is a breakdown of the black invitees by categories. Only a handful appear in more than one category. Those who accept membership, which will not be publicized, can only join in one category of their choosing.
Actors: Mahershala Ali, Anthony Anderson, Chadwick Boseman, John Boyega, Morris Chestnut, Loretta Devine, Carmen Ejogo, Idris Elba, Vivica A. Fox, Dennis Haysbert, Ice Cube, Michael B. Jordan, Regina King, Nia Long, Adepero Oduye, Nate Parker, Harold Perrineau, Anika Noni Rose, Tessa Thompson, Lorraine Toussaint, Glynn Turman, Gabrielle Union, Damon Wayans Jr. and Marlon Wayans.
Casting: Jacqueline “Jaki” Brown, Kim Taylor-Coleman
Art Department: Production designer Hannah E. Beachler, storyboard artists Warren Drummond and Michael Anthony Jackson
Directors: Amma Asante, Souleymane Cissé, Ryan Coogler, Julie Dash, Cheryl Dunye, Albert Hughes, Euzhan Palcy, Dee Rees, George Tillman Jr., Melvin Van Peeples, Keenan Ivory Wayans
Documentarians: Haile Gerima, Laurens Grant, Thomas Allen Harris, Shola Lynch, Louis Massiah, Dawn Porter
Executives: Courtney D. Armstrong, Nicole Brown, Pauline Fischer, DeVon Franklin, James F. Lopez
Hair/Makeup: Pierce Austin, Camille Friend, Norma Hill-Patton, Beverly Jo Pryor
Music: Mary J. Blige, RZA, Marcus Miller, Raphael Saadiq, Taura Stinson, Will.i.am
Producers: Debra Martin Chase, Paul E. Hall
Publicists: Jacqueline L. “Jackie” Bazan, Cassandra Butcher, Terra Potts, Arnold Robinson
Short Films and Animation: Damon Russell
Writers: Ryan Coogler, Ice Cube, Keenan Ivory Wayans (all invited in multiple categories)
Members at Large: Yolanda T. Cochran, Cameron Mitchell
Ronda Racha Penrice is a freelance writer living in Atlanta. She is the author of African American History for Dummies.