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Oscar Puts Diversity Push into High Gear for Board, New Members

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, under renewed criticism for lack of diversity, is tackling the issue on two fronts: New membership and board elections.

The org on Friday will announce its invitations to new members, and it’s expected to continue its aggressive outreach to individuals who will expand the AMPAS demo beyond the 50-plus white male group that dominates. In addition, voting for board members is underway (June 24-July 2) and candidates include a heavy mix of gender and racial diversity; candidates include directors Ava DuVernay and Lisa Cholodenko, cinematographers Guillermo Navaro and Daryn Okada, actress Amy Madigan and producer Kathleen Kennedy.

The Academy never sends out a complete list of board candidates. However, they send a roster of candidates within each branch to the members of that branch. There are 17 branches, each with three representatives on the board. Each of them serves three-year terms, with rotating candidacy, to ensure continuity.

In terms of membership, the Academy had averaged invitations to about 130 new members each year. But starting in 2013, they doubled that number, inviting more diverse groups to better reflect the realities of filmmaking around the world, and to add “new voices,” as they said, such as more women, racial minorities and voters in other countries.

Academy reps declined to comment on a story posted online Thursday night by the Hollywood Reporter, which listed candidates for all the branches.

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