A staggering 842 film industry voices — including 50 percent women and 29 percent people of color — have been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the prestigious Hollywood organization which votes annually to determine Oscar winners.
Hailing from 59 countries around the world, new invitees for 2019 include Oscar-winning A Star Is Born actress-songwriter Lady Gaga, Spider-Man: Far From Home headliner Tom Holland, The Crown‘s Claire Foy, A Mighty Heart star Archie Panjabi, Crazy Rich Asians’ Gemma Chan (as well as that movie’s director, Jon M. Chu), Black Panther‘s Sterling K. Brown, Winston Duke (Us), Roma‘s Marina de Tavira (who received her first Oscar nod earlier this year), The Babadook director Jennifer Kent, Late Night helmer Nisha Ganatra, actress-filmmaker Mélanie Laurent, as well as several women representing technical branches like cinematography (Carolina Costa), editing (Anne McCabe), and writing (Gillian Flynn, Marti Noxon, Desiree Akhavan, Kay Cannon).
This year’s class, which also saw 10 branches invite more women than men, increases the Academy’s overall female membership to 32 percent — a seven-percent increase since 2015. Across the same frame, that number jumps from eight percent to 16 percent for people of color.
In 2016, the Academy announced a robust diversity initiative aimed at doubling its membership of women and other minorities by 2020, after enduring heavy criticism — including the creation of the #OscarsSoWhite social media hashtag — for nominating a crop of all-white performers in all acting categories in both 2015 and 2016, as well as for including a majority of older, white, male voters among its deciding ranks.
Last year, the Academy invited a record 928 new members, while it asked 774 industry professionals to join in 2017. If all of this year’s invitees welcome their invitations (all parties must formally accept their requests to join before becoming official members), the Academy’s membership tally will stand near 10,000.
“Change starts with writers, casting, and producing. The Academy [only functions] as a tree once it’s bloomed,” actor George Lopez, who was asked to join the Academy in 2018, previously told EW. “You have to go down to the seed and make sure that when the tree’s growing, every branch is inclusive of what our society looks like. This influx of new eyes… can get everybody to see a broader scope.”
The 2020 Oscars telecast will be held Sunday, Feb. 9. Ahead of the ceremony, Twin Peaks mastermind and Palme d’Or-winning director David Lynch, Last of the Mohicans actor Wes Studi, Italian filmmaker Lina Wertmüller (Seven Beauties, Swept Away), and actress Geena Davis will receive honorary Oscars at the Oct. 27 Governors Awards.
Read the full list of the Academy’s 2019 invitees here.