The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences have released their invitations for 2018 and they’re making history. At 928 invitations, the Academy has invited more people than it ever has before. Given the Academy’s history, it has made a concerted effort for 49% of its new members to be women and 38% of its members to be people of color. Among people of color, the Academy has issued invitations to the likes of Andre Holland of Moonlight, comedian George Lopez, Derek Luke of Antwone Fisher, Michael K. Williams of Superfly, Larenz Tate of Menace II Society, Hannibal Burress and many more. Among the women that were invited, the Academy issued invitations to Danai Gurira of Black Panther, Olivia Munn of X-Men: Apocalypse, Tika Sumpter of South Side With You, Amandla Stenberg of The Hunger Games, Sarah Silverman, Amy Schumer and many others.
Of the new invitees, one invitation definitely stood out. Despite boycotting the Oscars back in 2016, Jada Pinkett-Smith has received an invite to the Academy. In 2016, Pinkett-Smith famously boycotted the Oscars because she felt that the nominees were not diverse enough. Pinkett-Smith said, “Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power — and we are a dignified people, and we are powerful. Let’s not forget it.” In response, Academy President, Cheryl Boone, said, “The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership.” The following year Pinkett-Smith applauded the Academy for its improvement and commitment to diversity as reflected in the 2017 Oscars’ nominees.
The invitations sent out this year definitely reflect progress in Hollywood, but there is still a long way to go.