The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences yesterday recruited 819 new members to its long roster of Academy members. Forming part of the class of 2020 members called to join the Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences club is Genevieve Nnaji listed in the actor’s branch alongside Oscar nominee Cynthia Erivo and Golden Globe winner Awkwafina.
Genevieve’s Academy invitation comes on the heels of her Netflix original film ‘Lionheart’, which got disqualified to represent Nigeria in the best International feature film category this year at the Oscars. The Toronto International Film Festival premiere feature was the first Oscar submission from Nollywood in the Academy’s 93 years of existence.
“The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travelers in the motion picture arts and sciences. We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now,” Academy President David Rubin disclosed.
Receiving the Academy badge this year alongside Genevieve to represent Nigeria as voting members is the award-winning film director Akin Omotoso, called to join the director’s branch. Their ticket comes after Nollywood big names Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Femi Odugbemi and Simon Onwurah received voting members invite in 2018.
The 812 members making up this year’s 17 branches comprise 36 percent people of colour, 45 percent women and 49 percent of film creatives and actors outside the United States.
The numbers recorded this year is a huge clap for the Academy following its ‘A2020’ goal set to have a more diverse club by 2020 after it suffered an #OscarsSoWhite backlash in 2016. The tally now reads that the number of women in the fold has jumped from 1,446 to 3,179. The number of people of colour has also received a boost in membership from 554 to 1,787, while the number of International members now records 2,107 as against the 747 recorded as at 2015.