By Utpal Borpujari/ New Delhi
In apparent effort to stave off the criticism for being “too White”, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has incorporated 744 new members from across the world, including several top Indian film personalities such as actors Irrfan, Priyanka Chopra, Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan, filmmakers Buddhadeb Dasgupta, Mrinal Sen and sound designer Amrit Pritam Dutta.
The other Indians invited to be members of the Academy, popularly also known as the Oscar Academy, include Salman Khan, Deepika Padukone, Aishwarya Rai in the list of actors, Goutam Ghose in the list of directors, Sooni Taraporevala in the list of writers, Anand Patwardhan in the list of documentary filmmakers and Arjun Bhasin in the list of costume designers.
These and earlier members of the Academy make up the voting pool for the Oscar Awards, the most glamorous of film awards globally. Membership is by invitation only to the hallowed portals of the Academy and the criteria for selection is “demonstrated exceptional achievement in the field of theatrical motion pictures”.
Earlier Indian members of Academy include Oscar winners AR Rahman and Resul Pookutty, Oscar-nominated director Ashutosh Gowariker and actors Sharmila Tagore and Freida Pinto.
In 2016, the Academy invited a record 683 people to be members while in 2015 the number was 322. This year, the number is even larger, with commentators calling it the Academy’s effort to make the body more diverse in composition.
Reports said the latest list reflects the fact that people from all over the world contribute to Hollywood every year.
According to Hollywood Reporter, seven of the Academy’s branches — actors, casting directors, costume designers, documentary, executives and film editors — invited more women than men this time.
Among the global names nominated this year are Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Gal Gadot, Barry Jenkins, Jocelyn Moorhouse, Guy Ritchie and Jordan Peele.