by Frederick H. Lowe
After last year’s Academy Awards television broadcast wasn’t nominated for an award because of its lack of diversity and low ratings, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science, announced Thursday that a more diverse group of artists and executives have been invited to become members of the Academy, which hands out the Oscars.
“This year, our branches have recognized a more diverse and inclusive list of filmmakers and artists than ever before. And we look forward to adding their creativity, ideas and experience to our organization,” Boone Isaacs said in a statement.
There are 6,028 Academy members, and the organization’s membership has traditionally been older white men.
Boone Isaacs extended invitations to 322 artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures. “Those who accept the invitations will be the only additions to the Academy membership in 2015,” she said.
Boone Isaacs, the first African-American to head the Academy, was criticized because none of the nominees in the acting categories were people of color, making it the least diverse Oscars ceremony in 17 years.
Nonetheless, the best original song “Glory” from the movie “Selma” took home the Oscar. Singers John Legend and Common performed the song at the Academy Awards.
The 87th Annual Oscar Awards, hosted by actor Neil Patrick Harris, was the lowest rated Academy Award show in six years with ratings down 16%.
In January, Boone Isaacs said she was working to make the Academy a more diverse organization. Academy members elected her president in 2013.
She is the first African American to be elected president and the third woman to hold the post. Actress Bette Davis and screenwriter and producer Fay Kanin also held the post.