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Oscars Voting Pool Expands, With Female and Minority Membership Expected to Rise


Naomie Harris in “Moonlight.” She has been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


LOS ANGELES — As it races to leave behind its days as an exclusive club primarily for white men, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the second year in a row invited hundreds of women and minorities to become members.

But the academy still has a way to go before reaching its goal of doubling female and minority membership by 2020, a target set in January 2016 after two years of #OscarsSoWhite outrage.


Leslie Jones, left, as Patty Tolan, Melissa McCarthy as Abby Yates, Kristen Wiig as Erin Gilbert and Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann in Ghostbusters.

Hopper Stone/Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Releasing

The academy said on Wednesday that it would increase the Oscar voting pool to 8,427 people — a record high — by extending membership invitations to 774 entertainment industry professionals, including some known mostly for television (Betty White, the “Incredible Hulk” actor Lou Ferrigno) and stars that focus on crowd-pleasing movies (Leslie Jones from “Ghostbusters,” Dwayne Johnson).

By the academy’s count, about 39 percent of this year’s invitees are women, and roughly 30 percent are minorities.

If all the invitations are accepted, female membership would rise to 28 percent from 27 percent. The percentage of minorities would climb to 13 percent from 11 percent. Almost everyone invited to join the academy accepts, but the organization keeps exact membership rolls private.

“It’s up to all of us to ensure that new faces and voices are seen and heard, and to take a shot on the next generation the way someone took a shot on each of us,” Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the academy’s outgoing president, said in a statement.

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