Motion Picture Academy invites Andy Lau, Sylvia Chang, Takeshi Kaneshiro in push for diversity

PHOTO: Reuters

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has sent out invitations to 928 potential new members to reflect its push for diversity.

Among them are Chinese actor Andy Lau, actress and director Sylvia Chang, Chinese-Japanese actor Takeshi Kaneshiro, directors Lou Ye and Liu Jian, screenwriters Yan Geling and Wang Huiling, as well as film moguls Wang Zhonglei and Wang Zhongjun of Huayi Brothers and Yu Dong of Bona Film.

New inductees come from 59 different countries and 49 per cent are female, according to ABC news. Furthermore, 38 per cent are people of colour.

This is the latest effort by the Academy - which has been criticised several times in the past, including the 2015 movement #OscarsSoWhite and its seeming preference for males - to better diversify from its membership to the recipients of its sought-after Oscars.

This is not the first time the Academy has expanded its reach. The number of members invited has increased steadily over the past few years, from 332 in 2015 and 683 in 2016 to 774 last year. If all new members were to accept, the Academy will have a total of 9,226 members under its roof.

With the new additions, the academy membership would be 31 per cent female, up from 28 per cent, and 16 per cent people of colour, an increase from 13 per cent.

Faces from China are making deeper impressions on the scene. Last year, actors Jiang Wen, Tony Leung and Donnie Yen, actresses Maggie Cheung and Carina Lau, as well as directors Ann Hui, Peter Chan and Feng Xiaogang were all invited.

Two Oscar nominees from last year, Timothee Chalamet and Kumail Nanjiani, were also invited, as were influential actors Mindy Kaling, Tiffany Haddish and Emilia Clarke.

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