The Academy Awards has long been accused of a lack of diversity, with #Oscarsowhite trending over awards season and the lack of female nominees for Best Director prompting outrage.
Today, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is actively bringing about change, inviting 819 new members to join the organisation. And while there is undoubtedly still a long way to go, this move surpasses its goal to double the number of women and underrepresented ethnic/ racial communities by 2020.
‘The Academy of Picture Arts and Sciences is extending invitations to join the organization to 819 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures,’ read a statement on the official Oscars site. ‘The 2020 class is 45% women, 36% underrepresented ethnic/racial communities, and 49% international from 68 countries. There are 75 Oscar® nominees, including 15 winners, and five recipients of Scientific and Technical Awards. Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy’s membership in 2020.’
The statement later continued: ‘In 2016, the Academy set specific inclusion goals as part of its A2020 initiative to double the number of women and underrepresented ethnic/racial communities by 2020. Through dedicated and intentional work by the Board of Governors and members on the branch executive committees, the Academy has surpassed both these goals.’
Among the 819 new members are some very famous faces, including Awkwafina, Zendaya Coleman, Cynthia Erivo, Eva Longoria, Florence Pugh, Olivia Wilde and Constance Wu, among others.
‘The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences,’ announced David Rubin, the Academy’s president in a statement. ‘We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now.’
‘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,’ added Dawn Hudson, CEO of the Academy. ‘We are committed to staying the course.’
While there is still a lot of work to be done, there is no doubt that this is progress.
This article originally appeared on marie claire U.K.