LOS ANGELES: The group that hands out the Oscars said on Monday that it had invited 928 new members from 59 countries, in its biggest diversity drive after years of criticism of its mostly white and male membership.
Those invited include Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan, actors Madhuri Dixit and Tabu and veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah.
Also included are Girls Trip star Tiffany Haddish; The Big Sick co-writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V Gordon; and comedian and actor Dave Chappelle, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said in a statement.
India features prominently in the list of the new invitees that includes female stars Tabu and Madhuri Dixit, Anil Kapoor and actor Ali Fazal. Veteran Bengali actors Soumitra Chatterjee (Bridge) and Madhabi Mukherjee (Charulata) are also in the list of invitees. Yash Raj Films’ Aditya Chopra and producer Guneet Monga also feature in the list.
Cinematographer Anil Mehta, best known for his work in Imtiaz Ali’s Rockstar, is also invited so are costume designers Dolly Ahluwalia and Manish Malhotra.
Oscar-winner A R Rahman, actor Irrfan Khan, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan are already the Academy members.
If all those invited accept, female membership would rise to 31 percent from the current 28 percent, the group said. People of colour will increase to 16 percent from 13 percent.
Total membership would stand at more than 7,000 actors, writers, directors, executives and others.
A lack of diversity within the academy has long been cited as a barrier to racial inclusion in Hollywood’s highest honors. In 2016, the Academy responded by pledging to double female and minority membership by 2020.