Singapore's Chin Han and Tan Pin Pin joining Oscars body

Ng Chin Han and film-maker Tan Pin Pin will be eligible to vote in the Oscars once they are members of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. PHOTOS: AFP, THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - Two Singaporeans, actor Ng Chin Han and film-maker Tan Pin Pin have been invited to join the body that oversees the Academy Awards.

Both have accepted the invitations and once they are members of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, they will be eligible to vote in the Oscars.

Ng, 48, is based in Los Angeles and can be seen in the disaster epic Skyscraper, now in cinemas.

"The movement towards diversity is very welcome and I feel grateful as an actor to be living in this time," says Ng.

Speaking to The Straits Times last week from a Hong Kong press event for the movie, he says the Academy sent him an invite after he was nominated by two current members, the veteran actresses Lisa Lu (The Joy Luck Club, 1993) and Elizabeth Sung (Memoirs Of A Geisha, 2005). Sung died in May this year (2018), aged 63. Lu will appear in the upcoming romantic comedy, Crazy Rich Asians.

According to the Academy's web site, nominees are selected for invitation based on factors such as amount of credited work and distinctions earned.

Ng, who uses the stage name Chin Han, has appeared in Ghost In The Shell (2017) and Independence Day: Resurgence (2016).

Ng and Tan's were among the record 928 invitations sent by the Academy this year, with the aim of increasing the number of women, racial minorities and younger people in the body. In recent years, campaigns such as the #OscarsSoWhite movement have accused the organisation for being too old, white and male, and therefore out of touch with a changing world.

The diversity plan has "far-reaching implications for the film industry", says Ng. "It will bring more attention to global cinema... coming from Asia and Europe."

Tan, 49, was nominated by American film-makers Grace Lee and Emiko Omori, who have been recognised for their documentaries.

Tan has a body of work that includes the documentaries In Time To Come (2017) and To Singapore, With Love (2013), as well as the fiction work Pineapple Town (2015), a short film included in the 7 Letters (2015) anthology.

In an email interview, she says that a more inclusive Academy is not just good in itself, it will also ensure that it will not be left behind.

"A very diverse group of members has been invited, diverse not just in terms of race, but in terms of geography, in terms of style. The Academy is trying to remain relevant and to keep up with the times."

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