NAACP gives a thumbs up to the academy’s new class: ‘The “O” in Oscar should stand for Opportunity’

New Academy invitees
Idris Elba, clockwise from top left, America Ferrera, Ryan Coogler and Brie Larson are among the 683 people invited to join the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences this year.
(Carolyn Cole, Kirk McKoy, Jay L. Clendenin, McKoy / Los Angeles Times)

After inviting its most inclusive class of new members ever, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has received an endorsement from one key advocacy group: the National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People.

NAACP national board of directors Chairman Roslyn M. Brock issued a statement Friday commending the academy on its commitment to diversity among the 683 potential new members invited to join the industry group this week, and calling for more action. According to the academy, 46% of the invitees are female, and 41% are people of color.

“The progress that is being made by AMPAS is certainly going in a very positive direction with more that can be done,” Brock’s statement said. “In that regard, the NAACP has ideas that we believe could further enhance what you are currently doing. We would welcome the opportunity to share our ideas with you. We believe the NAACP and AMPAS can play an important and lasting leadership role in making your overall initiative a model for the entertainment industry.”

The NAACP was a reserved critic of the academy in the heat of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy during the last awards season, meeting with its leadership to propose solutions, including academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and Chief Executive Dawn Hudson.


Under fire for nominating an all-white slate of actors for the second year in a row, the academy vowed to double the number of women and minority members by 2020. It also adopted controversial new rules that will allow it to take away voting rights from inactive members. 

“I have had the pleasure of speaking and meeting with academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is a past recipient of the NAACP Hall of Fame Award, and applaud her efforts to open the door, especially to more people of color, women and those that have the opportunity to grow and contribute to the industry’s future,” Brock said. “The NAACP continues to believe that the ‘O’ in Oscar should stand for Opportunity.”


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