Kenyan Actress Lupita Nyongo will be joined by actors Josh Hutcherson, Chris Rock and Jason Statham as well as Somali-born actor Barkhad Abdi in the Oscar Academy.
“The academy is committed to bringing new voices into our ranks,” President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in an interview with American press. “We are encouraging our members to be our ambassadors, looking for folks of color, gender and international status to become members. This has been an initiative here for a number of years, and some are a little better than others — but we’re committed to diversify.”
A 2012 Times study found that the academy’s membership was overwhelmingly white and male: 94% of Oscar voters were Caucasian, while 77% were male. Academy members were found to have a median age of 62.
Individuals gain entry to the academy by earning an Oscar nomination, getting two members to pen recommendations, or receiving an endorsement from an academy membership committee or the organization’s staff.