Diversity: Lupita Nyong’o and Pharrell In Oscar’s New Group of Potential Voters

Academy cuts velvet rope to let younger, more diverse voices into voting club

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Oscar-winning artist Pharrell (Image: File)

The US Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is responding to complaints that its group of eligible voters to determine Oscar winners lacks younger, fresher voices. The organization has long been criticized for its dependence on white, older males to decide who walks off the stage with an Oscar, and it’s looking to put what’s been called the “male, pale and stale” image in its rear view mirror.

The organization has reached out to a younger and more ethnically diverse group of people to join the ranks of the select and prestigious panel for the next Oscar season.

Based on recent numbers, the overall academy was 93% white and 76% male. The median age is 63.

In all, 271 people have been invited to join the Academy. This crop of diverse, younger, hipper voices includes Lupita Nyong’ O, Chris Rock, Pharrell Williams, and Captain Phillips star Barkhad Abdi.

The 2014 invitees include a group of actors, directors, casting directors, cinematographers, designers, and other departments within the film making industry.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, “It reflects a clear desire, on the part of Hollywood’s most prestigious awards-dispensing group, to shed its image as a club of old white American men, and to become younger, hipper and more diverse and worldly — as quickly as possible.”

RELATED: Motion Picture Academy Aiming for Diversity

Thirteen of the 20 actors invited to join the club haven’t yet turned 50. Other names to match the faces of color, include director Gina Prince-Bythewood (“Love and Basketball,” “The Secret Life of Bees”), writer John Ridley (“12 Years a Slave”) and  Bradford Young (“Ain’t Them Bodies Saints,” “Pariah,” and the forthcoming “A Most Violent Year”).

To check out the list of the new invitees click here. And to those out there that question Abdi being invited to the club, well, “Who’s the captain now?”

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