The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that it has invited 176 film professionals as new members of the Academy, including Mexican actors Demian Bichir and Diego Luna, as well as Colombian-born filmmaker Rodrigo García.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Academy voters are less diverse than the moviegoing public and nearly 94% of the approximately 6,000 members are Caucasian and 77% male. With Latinos making up less than 2% Academy, President Tom Sherak and Chief Executive Dawn Hudson have made diversifying a priority for the organization.
Demian Bichir was nominated for an Oscar this year, for Best Actor for his leading role in A Better Life. Neither Diego Luna nor Rodrigo García have been directly nominated for an Oscar, yet both have worked in films that have been nominated; Luna in Alfonso Cuarón's Y Tu Mamá También which got nominated for Best Original Screenplay; and Rodrigo García has directed two actresses to Oscar nominations: Glenn Close and Janet McTeer, both for Albert Nobb.
Bichir, Luna, and García will be joining other Latin American film professionals that are members of the Academy such as Argentine director Juan Campanella, Peruvian director Claudia Llosa, and Mexican actress Salma Hayek. As Academy members, they gain the opportunity of Oscar voting privileges. New members will be welcomed at a reception in September.