The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences took another step away from past years’ #OscarsSoWhite criticism with the induction of 774 new members in its class of 2017 yesterday (June 28). It’s the Academy’s largest class to date.
The Academy’s announcement says that actors, creators and other Hollywood professionals of color make up 30 percent of the new class, boosting their total membership percentage from 11 percent last year to 13. Women constitute 39 percent of the new class, increasing their total representation from 27 to 28 percent.
“The entire motion picture community is what we make of it,” Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “It’s up to all of us to ensure that new faces and voices are seen and heard, and to take a shot on the next generation the way someone took a shot on each of us.”
The new class represents the latest step in the Academy’s “A2020” initiative to double its number of women and people of color by 2020. The initiative arose in response to criticism to the Oscar-granting organization’s lack of recognition for people of color at successive award ceremonies.