The Los Angeles Times reported last year that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had a big problem. That body that's charged with awarding America's best actors, films, and filmmakers was overwhelmingly white (94 percent) and male (77 percent), an unrepresentative sample of the country's rapidly browning movie-going public.
The ramifications of such a homogenous group of cultural deciders became clear during last year's Oscar ceremony, which failed to include pioneering Mexican-American actress Lupe Ontiveros and Native actor Russell Means (Ohlala Lakota) to its "In Memoriam" reel that features actors who have passed away.
Good news: there's been some progress.
The Academy announced the names of 276 new members invited to join the class of 2013, including several filmmakers of color. Shadow and Act notes that the list includes Ava DuVernay, the celebrated director behind "Middle of Nowhere"; comedian Chris Tucker; Kimberly Elise; actress Paula Patton; icon Prince; Raoul Peck; Reggie Rock Bythewood; Roger Ross Williams; Stanley Nelson; Steve McQueen; Tim Story; Tina Gordon Chism; and William Greaves.