Gal Gadot, Donald Glover part of diverse Academy class of 774

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Betty White, Wonder Woman Gal Gadot and Atlanta star Donald Glover are part of a diverse and record-setting class for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The governing body for the Oscars announced the list of 774 new members from 57 countries on Wednesday. The new class exceeds last year's record crop (683) and is comprised of 39% women (marking a 359% increase in the number of women invited to join from 2015 to 2017) and 30% people of color (a 331% increase since 2015).

Other notable new members: Debbie Allen, Riz Ahmed, Priyanka Chopra, John Cho, Rebel Wilson, Kristen Stewart, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ruth Negga,  Zoë Kravitz, Leslie Jones, Kate McKinnon, Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth.

Increasing the Academy diversity has been a major initiative for President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson since the outcry resulting from #OscarsSoWhite in January 2016, when the Academy nominated an entirely white slate of actors for a second year in a row.

At the time, Boone Isaacs and Hudson announced a goal of doubling the number of women and minority members by 2020.

The 2017 class shows that the overall female membership increased to 28%, up from 25% in 2015. Seven Academy branches invited more female members than male (actors, casting directors, costume designers, designers, documentary, executives, film editors).

Members of color increased to 13% with the new class, up from 8% in 2015.

Pete Hammond, awards columnist for the industry website Deadline.com says the large, international class will have an immediate impact on the Oscars awarded at the 90th Academy Awards on March 4 and beyond.

"This class will have a significant impact on the movies awarded even this year. This is the most significant change I have seen in the Academy membership," says Hammond. "It's a very big number of new members to let in here."

The new class also allows for three married couples among the membership, including new member Anna Faris joining husband Chris Pratt.

The new members will be officially welcomed into the Academy during a fall ceremony.

 

© 2017 USATODAY.COM


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