The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science has revealed the names of the 683 filmmakers and craftspeople it is inviting to join its ranks. Forty-one percent of the enormous new class is comprised of people of color, bumping the overall academy from 8% to 11% people of color. After the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said she was committed to doubling the number of woman and minority members who can vote for the Oscars — an ambitious goal by any measure.
Academy member Laura Karpman calls the motion picture academy’s new membership class a “sea change” for the institution.
“I am sitting here weeping,” Karpman, a composer and member of the music branch, says. “I am so moved by this. For the music branch in particular, it is a historic day.”
Prior to today’s invitees, music branch membership was 93% white and 92% male, according to a 2016 Times analysis. The branch invited 26 new members: 12 of them women, 10 people of color.
“It shows the tremendous will of a lot of people to be more inclusive,” says Karpman, who served on the music branch's membership committee tasked to find new members this year. “It indicates that people do want change. They’re voting for it. They’re voting in members who have the credits and deserve the honor.”
The rush that comes from that recognition is fresh for Karpman, who became a member last year and is currently running for a governor spot in the music branch.
“You have to understand what it means to us to be a part of this body,” Karpman says. “It makes you feel complete. My heart is with all those people who never thought they were part of the community and now they are.”