LOS ANGELES: The organization that awards the Oscars said on Tuesday it had invited 819 new members to join its ranks and exceeded a goal set four years ago to diversify the group's membership by 2020.
Among the new members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are several stars of South Korean drama "Parasite," the group said in a statement. In February, "Parasite" became the first foreign-language movie to win best picture.
The group includes actors Jang Hye-Jin, Jo Yeo-Jeong, Lee Jung-Eun and Park So-Dam and the movie's editor, costume designer and other crew members. The movie's director Bong Joon-ho and lead actor Song Kang-ho were invited in 2015.
Among other new members, who come from 68 countries, were actors Awkwafina, Ana de Armas, Cynthia Erivo, Niecy Nash, Florence Pugh and John David Washington, and director and writer Lulu Wang.
The academy launched an effort to diversify its ranks after facing criticism in 2015 when the #OscarsSoWhite movement highlighted a lack of Black actors nominated for the film industry's top awards.With the new list, 33per cent of the academy's 9,000-plus members are women and 19per cent come from underrepresented racial or ethnic communities, the academy said.
The group said it had surpassed the goal it set in 2016 to double the number of women and people from underrepresented communities by 2020. In 2015, 25per cent of the membership were women and 10per cent from underrepresented groups.
"We take great pride in the strides we have made in exceeding our initial inclusion goals set back in 2016, but acknowledge the road ahead is a long one," said Academy Chief Executive Dawn Hudson. "We are committed to staying the course."
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)