Several actors and filmmakers from the DCEU, MCU, Star Wars and Star Trek films are among the 774 artists invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Every year, the Academy selects a new class of people to join the prestigious organization, which annually votes on the Oscars. The Academy consists of several branches, including actors, directors, producers, editors, screenwriters, cinematographers, animators and costume designers; and in recent years the membership has come under fire because of such issues as the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. As a result, the Academy has made a conscious effort to invite a diverse representation of performers and filmmakers in the movie industry to the membership.
The Academy released its list of its 2017 invitees Wednesday, and the class of new members is its largest yet. Customarily, artists nominated for Oscars in the preceding year are invited, which explains why first-time nominees including like Naomi Harris (Moonlight) and Ruth Negga (Loving), as well as first-time filmmaker nominees including writer-director Tom Ford (Nocturnal Animals) and composer Justin Timberlake (Trolls) were invited.
While the Academy throughout its history has tended to favor dramas when it comes to the major categories, a surprisingly huge number of performers and filmmakers predominantly associated with sci-fi, superhero and fantasy films have been invited to join this year. From the DC Extended Universe, Wonder Woman actresses Gal Gadot and Elena Anaya have received invitations, as has Suicide Squad star Margot Robbie and director David Ayer, and upcoming Batgirl director and Justice League back-up filmmaker Joss Whedon.
From the Marvel Cinematic Universe, invitees include Avengers stars Chris Evans and Chris Hemsworth. Elizabeth Olson and Aaron Taylor-Johnson, as well as directors Joe and Anthony Russo have been extended invitations; as has Guardians of the Galaxy star Chris Pratt and The Hulk star Lou Ferrigno. From the Star Trek reboot films, John Cho, Zachary Quinto also got invites.
The Star Wars saga was also represented, with Warwick Davis, Adam Driver, Riz Ahmed, Domhnall Gleeson, and Donnie Yen among the actors invited to join the Academy. Other invitees include Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ming-Na Wen, Bryce Dallas Howard, Rebel Wilson, and Sienna Miller. And proving that age is never an issue, the Academy extended an invite to 95-year-old Hollywood favorite Betty White.
From a fan standpoint, the addition of so many influential artists associated with the sci-fi and fantasy genre is clearly an exciting development. Whether the addition of such performers as Gadot, Evans, Hemsworth and Driver will be enough to influence voting come Oscar time next year is yet to be seen, especially since the Academy’s membership traditionally hovers around 6,000 people (some members are generally asked to leave the Academy every year as well). With The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King being the only fantasy film to ever win the Best Picture Oscar, perhaps the time is coming soon where nominations for sci-fi, superhero, and fantasy films will no longer be pigeonholed in the technical categories.
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