In recent years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has been under fire for the lack of both transparency and diversity in its membership. But according to Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the AMPAS, the award-granting organization seeks to diversify its (predominantly white) membership. This year, the Academy invited a record-setting 322 new members, including renowned Korean film directors Im Kwon-Taek (Painted Fire) and Bong Joon-Ho (Snowpiercer), actors Song Kang-Ho and Choi Min-Sik (Oldboy), and animator Kim Sang-Jin of Walt Disney Studios. The new list of invitees also include Asian-American directors Justin-Lin (Fast and Furious 6) and Wayne Wang (Joy Luck Club).
Despite the increase in the number of invitations from 2014, admission to the stodgy organization remains difficult. Invitation requires previous nomination for an Oscar, sponsorship by at least two existing Academy Award members, and approval of the Academy’s board of governors.
Though there is still much to be done to push for change in the underrepresentation of Asians as well as other minority groups in Hollywood, the Academy’s acknowledgement of the necessity of including a wider range of voices and talents during the Oscar-granting process may be a small but necessary step towards increasing diversity in the American film industry.