Directors Zoya Akhtar, Anurag Kashyap and veteran actor Anupam Kher are among the 842 new members invited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in its latest push to become more inclusive.
Kher has an extensive career in both Hindi cinema as well as Hollywood films such as "Hotel Mumbai" and "The Big Sick" while Akhtar, who has been invited in the directors category, most recently directed "Gully Boy".
Kashyap has been invited in the Short Films and Feature Animation category. "Lunchbox" writer-director Ritesh Batra is also a part of the new invitees list, so are Indian origin actor Archie Punjabi and "Late Night" director Nisha Ganatra.
In the Visual Effects department, Sherry Bharda of "Hichki" fame and Srinivas Mohan, best known for his work on "2.0" and "Baahubali: The Beginning", have been invited. From the international scene, "Black Panther" stars Letitia Wright, Winston Duke and Sterling K Brown, "Crazy Rich Asians" fame Gemma Chan, "Roma" actor Marina de Tavira, "Spider-Man" star Tom Holland, Claire Foy, Elisabeth Moss, Alexander Skarsgard and Jamie Bell are also among the new members. Lady Gaga has been invited under two departments of Actors and Music, for her dual role in "A Star in Born".
Her co-writers on the Oscar-winning song "Shallow", Mark Ronson, Jason Ruder and Andrew Wyatt also join her. The music category also invited Adele and veteran singer-producer Annie Lennox. "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" makers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller are part of the Directors department. They are also a part of Short Films and Feature Animation with colleague Rodney Rothman. Karim Amer, director of the Oscar-nominated Swedish film "The Square", is a part of the Documentary department.
The Academy, which is behind the annual Oscar Awards, has invited members from 59 countries and half of them are women. With this, the overall percentage of women in the Academy has increased from 25 per cent in 2015 to 32 per cent this year. The overall membership of people of colour has doubled from 2015 and currently stands at 16 per cent and in 2019 batch, they constitute 29 per cent of the total invitees. Among the invited 842, 21 are Oscar winners while 82 member are Oscar nominees.
The organisation had invited 928 new members in 2018 which included Indian names such as Shah Rukh Khan, Naseeruddin Shah, Tabu and Madhuri Dixit.